Rory McIlroy cites Masters as example of how golf thrives with unity


AUGUSTA, Ga. – Professional golf has grappled with fan indifference for much of this season, the byproduct some say of fan discontent over the divide in the men’s game between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf and a parade of purse increases and player payouts. But that dismissiveness was tabled this week at the Masters.

Ratings for the Thursday and Friday telecasts were considerably better than last year and the patrons who flocked to Augusta National were a testament to the game’s draw when the distractions are removed.

The increased interest wasn’t lost on Rory McIlroy, who opined last month at Bay Hill that the tournament would be better if Bryson DeChambeau, who joined LIV Golf last year and is no longer a Tour member, was in the field.

Woods said the sides might not be close to a deal but that progress is being made.

“The Masters stands alone in terms of every other golf tournament, but I think even in terms of the ratings the first two days on ESPN looked like they were up, which is a sign that when we’re all back together, then golf thrives. When we’re divided, it doesn’t,” McIlroy said. “That’s just another example of why we should all try to put our heads together and get back together.”

McIlroy has become an outspoken proponent of a deal between the Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which owns LIV Golf, and voiced his frustration that a unifying agreement that would combine the Tour, LIV Golf and the European circuit hasn’t been completed.

“I think it should have happened months ago,” he said at last month’s Players Championship.



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