Less than two months remain until the Dec. 31 deadline for the PGA Tour’s framework agreement with Saudi Arabia’s PIF, but with interest from other investors and reports of delayed negotiations the deal’s conclusion is uncertain. Rory McIlroy, who has been one of the most outspoken members of the PGA Tour throughout the sport’s power struggle, revealed that he is still holding out hope for a partnership with the backers of LIV Golf.
In an interview on CNBC’s Halftime Report, McIlroy joined the chairman of Fenway Sports Group at Fenway Park to discuss the new Boston Common TGL team.
Fenway Sports Group had been reported as one of the companies in talks with the PGA Tour for future investment, and during the interview Werner confirmed the interest.
“We’ve had conversations,” Werner said, without providing further detail.
CNBC’s Scott Wapner speculated that the sport could remain divided in a LIV Golf vs. PGA Tour “status quo” if another investor such as Fenway Sports Group stepped in to fund the future of the Tour. He then posed the question to McIlroy: “Is that an environment that you’d prefer over the companies coming together?”
In response, McIlroy stood firmly in favor of the pro game repairing its current fractures and said the PIF’s involvement is essential to that outcome.
“No, I would prefer if—I feel like we’ve got a fractured competitive landscape right now. And I would prefer if everyone sort of got back into the same boat. I think that’s the best thing for golf,” the four-time major champion said.
“So you know, I would hope when we go through this process, the PIF are the ones that are involved in the framework agreement. Obviously, there’s been other suitors that have been involved and offering their services and their help.
“But hopefully, when this is all said and done, I sincerely hope that the PIF are involved and we can bring the game of golf back together.”
McIlroy has been vocal about his disinterest and distaste for LIV Golf. In July at the Scottish Open he bluntly stated that he’d “rather retire” than play in the 54-hole team-format league.
But in the months since the framework agreement was announced in June, the Northern Irishman has begun to express support for the PIF’s mission within golf.
“If the PIF are really interested in golf and they want to get in the system, at least if we provide them a pathway to play within the system and they’re not taking over the sport, it neutralizing any threat of LIV becoming something it hopefully shouldn’t become,” he said on Golf Weekly’s Off the Ball podcast in September.
McIlroy appears to still be under that impression, even as the possibility of outside investors in the PGA Tour looms.
“There’s a lot of interest in golf and in professional golf right now,” he said on CNBC. “Golf has never been in a stronger shape or a healthier place.”