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McIlroy backs ban - 'It's the right thing because these guys have broken rules'

Two-time major winner Justin Thomas has also supported US PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan’s decision.

McIlroy (left) and Justin Thomas.
McIlroy (left) and Justin Thomas.
Image: The Canadian Press/PA Images

FOUR-TIME MAJOR winner Rory McIlroy and two-time major champion Justin Thomas supported bans imposed by US PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan on players leaving for the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series.

After their opening rounds at this week’s US PGA Canadian Open, sixth-ranked Thomas and eighth-rated McIlroy backed the decision to suspend 17 players at the LIV Golf opener in Britain from PGA events.

“I’m pleased,” Thomas said. “Anybody that’s shocked clearly hasn’t been listening to the message that Jay and everybody has been putting out. They took that risk going into it, whether they thought it was a risk or not.

“I have great belief and great confidence in the PGA Tour and where we’re going and continuing to grow to, and those guys just aren’t going to be a part of it.”

McIlroy, runner-up at the Masters in April, said Monahan simply enforced membership regulations.

“All he’s doing is basically going by the book,” McIlroy said. “I think that the majority of the membership that are here this week and that haven’t went and played elsewhere really appreciate that.

“I think he’s done the right thing because these guys have broken rules and done things outside of the tournament regulations, and because of that, there are going to be consequences, I guess.”

McIlroy, however, admitted he did plan to watch the LIV Golf event.

“Yeah, I think like everyone else, I’m intrigued and I’m a fan of golf,” he said. “I’ve got quite a few guys over there that I call friends that are playing. Yeah, of course I’ll see it and watch it and see what all the fuss is about.”

LIV Golf’s team format, with such four-man squads as Majesticks and Fireballs, aren’t so appealing.

“What are the other ones, like Iron Heads? I have no idea,” McIlroy said. “Certainly not going out to buy any team merchandise any time soon.”

Thomas, who won his second PGA Championship last month, said the record riches offered by the upstart series could entice more to jump.

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“They’re obviously throwing so much money at people that it’s very hard to turn down,” Thomas said.

“It doesn’t matter who you are or what it is, everything has a number. They’re reaching that number for some people and I hope that they don’t get others.

“But I think a very strong core group of us is very stable and firm in our position, and I hope that it stays that way.”

© Agence France-Presse

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