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Rory McIlroy says LIV-PGA unification is “the ONLY way forward for golf”, with a Northern Irishman ready to contribute to merger negotiations and return to the Tour’s political board.

Rory McIlroy hopes he can help “unify” golf and end the merger impasse before his likely return to the political fray.

The world No. 2 is vying for a place on the PGA Tour board five months after leaving the same post in exasperation amid drawn-out negotiations between his tour and the LIV Series’ Saudi backers.

Although McIlroy did not confirm whether this decision had already been formally ratified, which will depend on the vote of other members of the political council this week, his involvement is seen as essential to reaching an agreement.

While these negotiations have progressed slowly over the past 10 months since the shock announcement of a “framework agreement”, it has frequently been pointed out that Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth have publicly stated that Saudi investments are not required.

These views are at odds with McIlroy’s view that support from the Saudis is the only way to proceed, not least because it will stem some of the poaching of major players that has characterized the past two years.

Rory McIlroy is in the running for a place on the Tour’s political council five months after leaving his post

McIlroy hits a tee shot on the sixth hole during the final round of the RBC Heritage in SC

McIlroy hits a tee shot on the sixth hole during the final round of the RBC Heritage in SC

Speaking on Wednesday, McIlroy said: “I think I can be useful. I don’t think much progress has been made in the last eight months, and I was hoping there would be. I think I could be helpful to the process.

“But only if people want me to be involved, I guess.” When Webb (Simpson, who reportedly resigned as one of six player directors on the board so McIlroy could return) and I spoke, and he talked about the possibility of leaving the board administration, I said, “Look, if this was something other people wanted, I would happily take this seat.”

“That’s the conversation we had. I feel like I can be useful. I feel like I care a lot about it, and I have a pretty good background and good relationships within the game and around the broader ecosystem and everything that’s going on. But at the end of the day, it’s not my place to return to the board. There is a process that must be followed. But I’m willing to do it if that’s what people want.

Asked about the need for unification, McIlroy, who has a positive relationship with Yasir al-Rumayyan, the head of Saudi public investments, added: “I think this is the only way forward for golf. We obviously realize that the game isn’t unified right now for a reason, and that there are still grudges and things that need to be resolved, but I think at this point, for the good of the game, we all need to put these feelings aside and all move forward together.

McIlroy’s comments come at a time when the PGA Tour is desperately fighting to prevent other players from leaving for LIV. While the Northern Irishman denied claims earlier this month that he was in talks to join the exodus, a rumor persists over Viktor Hovland’s future.

McIlroy enjoys good relations with Yasir al-Rumayyan, the chairman of LIV Golf

McIlroy enjoys good relations with Yasir al-Rumayyan, the chairman of LIV Golf

Jay Monahan is the commissioner of the PGA Tour, which is in merger talks with LIV

Jay Monahan is the commissioner of the PGA Tour, which is in merger talks with LIV

The Tour’s countermeasures have involved long-standing stock payouts for their top stars, which are expected to be ratified this week. Under the deals, Tiger Woods stands to get $100 million and McIlroy $50 million, which would effectively be a loyalty bonus. Asked about those payments Wednesday, McIlroy only joked: “I think the one thing we’ve learned in golf over the last couple of years is that there’s never enough.”

McIlroy’s initial decision to leave the guidance council last November was widely welcomed as a productive move for his golf career. However, he disputed that the role was too detrimental to his efforts to end a 10-year drought in the majors.

He said: “I would say I played some of my best golf as a PGA Tour board member, so I don’t think it really bothered me. Maybe it was just taking away time from doing things or spending time doing things that I wanted to do at home, and having to take calls two, three times a week and all of that started to take its toll. havoc, as this has on many players.

“At the end of the day, we are golfers. We don’t need to try to run a $15 billion business. We need to go play golf and let the business people do the business.

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