SAD NEWS💔fotage of Rory McIlroy arguing with LIV Golf masters “regretting getting ‘deeply involved’ in PGA Tour-LIV controversy while Mackenzie Hughes wins the press conferences (again) as voice of …..

HAMILTON, Ontario – No PGA Tour event has felt the repercussions of the PGA Tour-LIV controversy quite like the RBC Canadian Open.

Two years ago, LIV Golf played its debut tournament in London the same week with former RBC ambassadors Dustin Johnson and Graeme McDowell among the defectors. It took a big final-round 62 for Rory McIlroy to repeat as champion, winning his 21st Tour title and taking a dig at LIV CEO Greg Norman when he passed him on the Tour’s career victory list.

“I had extra motivation of what’s going on across the pond,” McIlroy said at the time. “The guy that’s spearheading that tour has 20 wins on the PGA Tour and I was tied with him and I wanted to get one ahead of him. And I did. So, that was really cool for me, just a little sense of pride on that one.”

And then, of course, who can forget last year’s bombshell news of the framework agreement on Tuesday of tournament week between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. During his press conference the next day, McIlroy said he felt like a “sacrificial lamb.” A few months later, McIlroy stepped down from the Tour board.

So far, it has been a quiet news week at the RBC Canadian Open other than the announcement that all charges have been dropped against Scottie Scheffler by the Louisville Metro Police Department.

McIlroy, who had been the public face for the PGA Tour in the skirmish with LIV, is back for the fourth straight time north of the border and at Hamilton Golf Club, where he won the first of his consecutive titles in 2019. In this year’s press conference, he expressed regret over being such an outspoken critic of the Saudi-backed LIV.

In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t have gotten involved or not hadn’t have gotten involved, hadn’t have gotten as deeply involved in it,” he said. “I hold no grudge, I hold no resentment over the guys that chose to go and play on LIV. Everyone’s got their own decisions to make and everyone is, has the right to make those decisions. My whole thing is I’m just disappointed to what it’s done to, not to the game of golf, the game of golf will be fine, but men’s professional golf and this sort of divide we have at the minute. Hopefully, we’re on a path to sorting that out and getting that to come back together, but, yeah, I mean, in hindsight, hindsight’s always 20/20, but in hindsight I wish I hadn’t have gotten as deeply involved as I have.”

McIlroy, who was named recently as one of three active players to the Tour Enterprises’ Transaction Subcommittee, did have Commissioner Jay Monahan’s ear on Wednesday. Monahan walked with McIlroy’s group during his morning pro-am round.

All year long, Canadian Mackenzie Hughes has been a voice of reason among active players on the greed that has infected the game. His comments have been a refreshing perspective that fans have needed to hear from somebody.

Asked for his assessment on the state of the pro game during these uncertain times, Hughes spoke eloquently on the topic yet again.

“I knew it was coming. Yeah, that’s a big question,” he said. “Obviously a year later you would have thought we had a bit more clarity on that. There’s not really much there. I think eventually when we get through this situation I think golf will be in a great spot still. But there’s a lot of hurdles to get over right now. I think one of the biggest things I think about is the fan and how the fan has been affected by all this. The fans are just tired of hearing about it, tired of hearing about the money. I don’t think the money that’s going around is sustainable for golf.

“I would love for the game to kind of come back a little bit where it’s like we’re just, we’re talking about the golf now, we’re not talking about LIV, we’re not talking about the money and these purses and all that sort of stuff. Because people don’t care. People don’t want to hear it. I’ve said this many times to, you know, the media, the Tour, I mean, it just, we just, we want to, like, I feel like we’re shoving it down people’s throats. This is a big tournament for me, you know, I would say far bigger than the one next week, but next week’s worth 20 million dollars, this one’s worth, I don’t know how many, whatever, but that’s not something that I care or think about, but I’m here to win this trophy, it wouldn’t matter if it was for a thousand bucks or a million bucks, I’m here to play well and win this tournament. I think it’s become so much about the money and, again, I would say 99 percent of the people don’t care, they don’t want to hear it. So I think the state of the game, I would say right now it’s not super healthy, because of the things we’re focused on, but I think once we can kind of get past this stuff and maybe the deal happens or it doesn’t happen, but we kind of get some clarity there, then we can kind of go forward.”

Hughes noted that before LIV started throwing around obscene amounts of guaranteed money to woo players to the renegade circuit, the Tour highlighted its impressive charitable contributions.

“It was like a badge of honor,” he said. “We donated more than all the other major sports leagues combined. I would like to see that become a priority again, where we really impact the places that we play and leave them better than we found ’em. So, you know, I do think that golf will come out of this OK, but right now I think it’s in a very weird spot and a difficult spot and we need to get a lot of things figured out.”

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