Rory McIlroy says he ‘made it his business to be a pain in Greg Norman’s a**e’ after the LIV Golf chief’s ‘brainwashed’ barb and revealed how his friendship with defector Sergio Garcia has deepened.
Rory McIlroy has revealed Greg Norman’s comments in which the LIV Golf CEO called him ‘brainwashed’ by PGA Tour brass, sparked their war of words.
The Australian has been the polarizing head — acting as CEO and Commissioner — of the Saudi-backed circuit and has received barbs for Tour figureheads, not least Tiger Woods and McIlroy.
Following Norman’s taunt, the Northern Irish decided to become a thorn in the LIV leader’s side.
‘I thought, “You know what? I’m going to make it my business now to hurt his a**e as much as possible,”‘ McIlroy told the Irish Independent.
Norman’s LIV Golf and the Tour has been engaged in a sporting civil war since its initial conception.
Rory McIlroy details why he has become a thorn in LIV CEO Greg Norman’s side
There was even a moment where McIlroy extended some kind of peace offering after watching a documentary about Norman’s infamous collapse at the 1996 Masters.
‘Hope this reminds everyone what a great golfer you are,’ read the text from McIlroy.
Norman sent a similarly kind message to the 33-year-old after his own fall at the Masters eleven years ago.
‘He’s good,’ McIlroy said. “So I told him, “Watching this reminds me of how you reached out to me in 2011, and I just want to say that I will always appreciate it. It means a lot. I know our opinion on the game of golf today is very different, but I just want you to know that and wish you all the best.”
Greg Norman starts war of words with North Irishman after calling him ‘brainwashed’
‘So, a bit of an olive branch, and he’s right back: “I really think golf can be a force for good around the world…I know our opinions don’t align but I’m just trying to create more opportunities for every golfer around the world.”
‘All right. It’s really nice,’ replied McIlroy. ‘Then, a few weeks later, he did an interview with The Washington Post and said “I was brainwashed by the PGA Tour.”
‘We’ve had this really nice back-and-forth and he says that about me.’
McIlroy also made it clear that the Tour was lucky for Norman’s status at LIV. ‘I think if they had found someone who was less polarizing, LIV could have made more inroads,’ he said.
McIlroy (L) and Sergio Garcia (R) were once best friends before a laugh ensued at LIV Golf
McIlroy’s relationship with longtime friend Sergio Garcia after he crossed the golfing divide.
Formerly Garcia’s groomsman, the pair have apparently not spoken since June amid the Spaniard’s anger over McIlroy’s criticism of LIV.
On the Friday of the Open, McIlroy woke up to a text, he said, in which Garcia was ‘basically telling me to shut up about LIV, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah’.
‘I was a bit hurt and sent him back a couple of daggers and that was it,’ said McIlroy.