Breakaway golf league is ‘dead’: McIlroy

Rory McIlroy says plans to form a wealthy golf league to rival the PGA Tour are “dead in the water”. -AP

Rory McIlroy thinks the potential breakaway golf league is “dead in the water” after Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau became the latest marquee players to commit to the PGA Tour.

Johnson and DeChambeau joined McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka in resisting overtures from a rival Saudi-backed tour led by Australian golfing great Greg Norman.

And McIlroy believes it’s the final nail in the rebel league’s coffin as he also took aim at the “naive, selfish, selfish, ignorant” comments by Phil Mickelson, who had accused the PGA Tour of acting like a “dictatorship “.

Asked after his final round of the PGA Tour event at the Riviera Country Club if the threat of a breakaway league was over, McIlroy replied: “Yeah, yeah. Who’s left? Who’s left?

“I mean, there’s no one.

“It’s dead in the water in my opinion.

“I just don’t see any reason why anyone would go.”

Sunday’s announcements from Johnson and DeChambeau came three days after Mickelson’s motivations for potentially joining a breakaway league were exposed in an extraordinary excerpt from a new biography of the six-time major winner.

In an interview with Alan Shipnuck for his upcoming book, Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar, Mickelson claimed the new league was an attempt at “sportswashing” by the Saudi regime.

The 51-year-old also admitted he was concerned about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record in a phone interview with Shipnuck last November, adding: “She’s a mother scary ******* to get involved with.

“Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a unique opportunity to reshape the way the PGA Tour works. The Tour likes to pretend it’s a democracy, but it really is a dictatorship.”

Asked about Mickelson’s comments, McIlroy added: “I don’t want to kick somebody while they’re down obviously, but I thought they were naive, selfish, selfish, ignorant.

“It was just very surprising and disappointing, sad. I’m sure he’s sitting at home rethinking his position and where he goes from here.”

In a statement released by the PGA Tour, Johnson said: “Over the past few months there has been a great deal of speculation about an alternate tour; much of which appears to have included me and my future in professional golf.

“I think now is the time to put that speculation to rest. I am fully committed to the PGA Tour.”

Four hours later, DeChambeau wrote on his official Twitter account: “Although there has been a lot of speculation surrounding my support for another tour, I want to make it very clear that as long as the best players in the world play the PGA Tour, me too.”

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