Rory McIlroy on Tyrrell Hatton to LIV, players coming back to PGA Tour

Rory McIlroy on Tyrrell Hatton to LIV, players coming back to PGA Tour


For the first time since 2019, Rory McIlroy is back on the hallowed grounds of Pebble Beach Golf Links. He hasn’t been to the Monterey Peninsula since the U.S. Open, a tournament at which he tied for ninth. This time around, he’s hoping to carry some early-year momentum into the PGA Tour’s second signature event of the season, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

The Northern Irishman has played in the old Crosby Clambake just once, missing the 54-hole cut in 2018.

But he enters this year’s tournament in great form, winning in his last start at the DP World Tour’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic (McIlroy came second to Tommy Fleetwood the week before at the Dubai Invitational).

“Obviously a great way to start the year, two weeks play, two times in contention,” the world No. 2 told the media during his pre-tournament press conference Tuesday. “And to get a win early on is always a nice confidence booster, a nice way to come into a busy — a pretty busy stretch here going sort of into the spring and beyond.”

As for his return to Pebble, McIlroy is glad to be back.

“Good to be back at Pebble Beach, it’s been a while… The course obviously plays a little different this time of the year than in June… Just trying to refamiliarize myself with the golf course a little bit.”

The Pro-Am got a facelift this season, with amateurs playing alongside the pros for the first two rounds. Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill will be utilized on Thursday and Friday before just the pros take on Pebble over the weekend. McIlroy said he played Pebble on Tuesday and plans to play Spyglass on Wednesday, depending on the weather (the forecast through the weekend doesn’t look great).

Pebble Pro-Am: Odds, picks to win | Sleepers

On top of being asked about the status of his game and his recent win, McIlroy was posed several questions regarding Tyrrell Hatton’s recent move to LIV Golf, potential punishment for players hoping to return to the Tour and more.

Here’s what he had to say:

Team Europe golfer Rory McIlroy talks to golfer Tyrrell Hatton and captain Luke Donald during a team photo prior to a practice round of the Ryder Cup golf competition at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

“At the end of the day everyone needs to do with what’s right for them. I had a long talk with Tyrrell on Sunday, completely understood where he was coming from. I’ve sort of been — you know, I’ve talked to him quite a bit about it over the past month. It got to the point where they, you know, negotiated and got to a place where he was comfortable with and he has to do what he feels is right for him. So I’m not going to stand in anyone’s way from making money and if what they deem life-changing money, like absolutely.”

“Again, I said to him just like I said to Jon, like I’m totally supportive of your decision if that’s what you feel is the right thing for you. Look, these are guys that I’ve spent a lot of time with, and I guess I’ve said this before, but I’ve come to the realization I’m not here to change people’s minds, I’m here to just try — especially when I was at the board level, trying to give them the full picture of where things are at and hopefully where things are going to go. They can do with that information what they want.”

Jon Rahm of Spain shakes hands with Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland on the 1st tee on Day One of The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club on July 20, 2023 in Hoylake, England. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

“I think life is about choices. Guys made choices to go and play LIV, guys made choices to stay here. If people still have eligibility on this tour and they want to come back and play or you want to try and do something, let them come back. I mean, I don’t — I don’t think — I think it’s hard to punish people. I don’t think there should be a punishment for — obviously I’ve changed my tune on that because I see where golf is and I see that having a diminished PGA Tour and having a diminished LIV Tour or anything else is bad for both parties.

“It would be much better being together and moving forward together for the good of the game. That’s my opinion of it. So to me, the faster that we can all get back together and start to play and start to have the strongest fields possible I think is great for golf.”

2022 Tour Championship

Rory McIlroy shakes hands with PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan after a news conference at East Lake Golf Club ahead of the 2022 Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. (Photo: Steve Helber/Associated Press)

“Yeah, I wouldn’t say I’m involved in the decision-making process at all really. I just hope they get it done. I know that they were supposed to vote on it Sunday night and there was a delay, they were supposed to vote on it last night and there was a delay. I feel like this thing could have been over and done with months ago. I think just for all of our sakes that the sooner that we sort of get out of it and we have a path forward, the better.”

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy poses with his parents Rosie and Gerry McIlroy next to his trophy after winning the Hero Dubai Desert Classic on the Majlis Course at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai on January 21, 2024. (Photo by Ryan Lim/AFP via Getty Images)

“Should I have never went on the board? I think so. I actually — I think I said this when I did step off, I’m happy being busy, I just like to be busy doing the things that I think are not ‘worth it,’ I think that’s the wrong way to phrase it, but more I just didn’t feel like I could influence things the way I wanted to and I felt like I was just banging my head against the wall and it was time for me to step off and kind of concentrate on my own stuff.”


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