Rory McIlroy has been one of the biggest critics of LIV Golf since it first launched.
In order for that controversial Saudi Arabian-backed circuit and the PGA Tour to come together, however, McIlroy said one thing must happen above all else.
LIV Golf CEO and Hall of Famer Greg Norman has to step down.
"There's a few things that I would like to see on the LIV side that needs to happen," McIlroy said Tuesday ahead of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. "I think Greg needs to go. I think he just needs to exit stage left.
“He's made his mark, but I think now is the right time to sort of say, 'Look, you've got this thing off the ground, but no one is going to talk unless there's an adult in the room that can actually try to mend fences.'"
There were reports earlier this month that LIV Golf was preparing to replace Norman as the league’s leader, though Saudi Golf leader Majed Al Sorour shut those down and backed Norman following the conclusion of the league’s inaugural season.
Norman, along with Phil Mickelson and others, has led the fight against the Tour in order to try and get LIV Golf off the ground. Both leagues are now deep in a legal battle against each other — LIV Golf said the Tour suspended its members illegally, and the Tour said LIV Golf interfered with its contracts with players — that doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon. The Department of Justice is also investigating the Tour and others.
The Tour has announced plans to try and counteract LIV Golf, including increased purses and better tournament fields. LIV Golf is expanding to 14 tournaments in 2023.
Though he’s made his feelings about LIV Golf known, McIlroy doesn’t want the sport divided the way it is. Fixing that just isn’t an easy task.
"It's obviously been a very contentious year in golf," McIlroy said. "And I've said this: The best thing in golf is to have all the best players playing together, and what's happening right now, that's not happening.
“So I fear for the game when that's going on … It's contentious because there's lawsuits going on and people suing people; it's very, very messy. So again, if all that stuff can be sorted out one way or the other, then you can get to the stage where there's forgiveness and people can have dialogue and come to some sort of common ground or compromise. But while all this is happening, it's very hard to do that."
As for Norman’s belief that McIlroy and others need to be thanking LIV for helping the sport, McIlroy quickly shut that down.
Credit belongs to just one person.
“I'm very thankful for everyone in golf, and I've said this a million times: Tiger is the reason that we are playing for as much as we are playing for,” he said. “Tiger is the reason that stature of our game is where it is. The generation of Tiger and the generation coming after Tiger have all benefited from him and his achievements and what he's done for the game of golf.
“I don't think Tiger should be thankful to anyone for anything. I think everyone else in the game should be thankful [to him].”