Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

TEE TO GREEN, STEVE SCOTT: Rory McIlroy’s well-timed win is a key staging post in golf’s continuing civil war

Rory McIlroyis the first player to win the FedEx Cup three times.
Rory McIlroyis the first player to win the FedEx Cup three times.

You couldn’t have scripted it much better. Rory McIlroy, now the face of the PGA Tour, coming from six back to be the first man to win the tour’s flagship, the FedEx Cup, three times.

Of course, for some loonies this appears too well scripted. Mostly those many strange Twitter accounts, all conveniently anonymous, that have spawned since golf’s civil war lit up this year.

But I’m sure they’re all really just shy but genuine golf fans who support the new, fractured golfing world.

Rory at his best in turmoil

As we’ve noted in T2G’s past, McIlroy has a habit of playing well when in personal turmoil. His best-ever season was 2014, when he left Caroline Wozniacki at the altar – well, not quite, but the invitations were going out.

At the very least, Rory has proved that while being very intimately and publicly involved in tour politics – effectively leading the band last week – he can still put it all aside and maintain elite form.

While The Open loss still stings, you still recall a couple of putts were just a couple of rolls short. And as we said in July, there’s no real disgrace in losing to a man who had the back nine of a lifetime.

Cam Smith is surely now away to LIV – in hindsight, he was clearly signed up prior to St Andrews. His departure is a blow, but he’s actually the first top ten player who has defected.

The five who appear to be going with him for certain are decent players, but not in the top order. Hideki Matsuyama, who was a prize target, seems to be staying put for now. Joaquin Neimann, who would be another catch, remains undecided.

But many waverers have clearly had their heads turned by the Tiger Woods-Rory McIlroy restructure plan, announced with a few alterations by Jay Monahan prior to the Tour Championship.

A predictably puerile discourse

The discourse after the announcement was predictably puerile – smug nonsense on all sides. Any chance of a compromise has surely gone completely now.

While there are undoubted similarities, the idea that the tour has “stolen” LIV’s format is particularly disingenuous. Their format, after all, was lifted wholesale from the original proposed by Andy Gardiner’s Premier Golf League.

There’s few in the rebel camp prepared to be LIV mouthpieces, but Lee Westwood had a go. In common with his public utterances of late, it was mostly a self-serving exercise.

No, we didn’t think you had any regrets (and even if you have, you’re never going to admit to them). No, we realise by now that you’re not a politician, but that still excuses absolutely nothing about pinning your colours so personally to the Saudi regime.

Lee suggests he cares dearly for the DP World Tour and those he’s left behind. But if he really did, he’d convince some of his fellow LIVers to not take up precious places belonging to proper Tour members in the BMW PGA Championship next week.

No problem with Lee himself, Sergio, Kaymer, Poulter and even Sam Horsfield and Laurie Canter. They’ve all earned their way to Wentworth by past deeds. Not even Patrick Reed, who is after all a tour life member and has consistently supported the BMW PGA.

But I do have an issue with those who have shown zero interest in Europe before. Like Abe Ancer, Talor Gooch, Jason Kokrak and Kevin Na, who have all entered Wentworth via the OWGR Top 60 exemption.

There’s been no field number announced yet. But it looks like four Tour loyalists might lose their spots at the flagship because of these players piggy-backing the disputes panel decision back in July – a verdict which was quite clearly never intended for the likes of them.

The OWGR problem for LIV players

But that arbitration decision means the BMW PGA Championship is a rare opportunity for the LIVers to top up their OWGR points. And they need them, because they’re in freefall at the moment.

The decision of whether LIV events gets OWGR status is still pending. There are something like 15 discrepancies in their format to get around, so it’s a lot more complex than ‘we have top players, so we must be recognised’.

But even if they did get around everything, the set process means it’s going to be two years minimum out of ranking gains for most LIVers. During which time, it’s likely none of them will stay in the top 100.

The best illustration is their poster boy – Phil Mickelson. He was 38th in the world at his last event, the Saudi Invitational, before it all went off. In Monday’s rankings, after six months of playing just the US Open and The Open, he was down to 109th.

And after the recent re-calibration of the rankings, the Asian Tour bolthole isn’t going to keep rankings topped up. Patrick Reed actually went down five spots after playing in Singapore earlier this month.

So that leaves just the majors, for those who can get in them. But good luck earning there when cold, with virtually no proper competitive golf to set you up in the interim.

The long game suits the PGA Tour

The longer this all drags on, the worse it is for LIV, I think. Last week the judge in the anti-trust court case by players against the PGA Tour set trial for February 2024.

She described the case as “ambitious”, which was taken by some optimists to refer to the quality of LIV’s chances of winning.

But actually, she meant she thought it was ambitious they’d get to trial at the date she set. It’s likely, given the pace of American litigation, it’ll be long beyond that.

Given the judge’s statements when rejecting the players’ initial injunction, there’s absolutely no reason for the PGA Tour to seek a settlement.

The two tours have their fields complete now. We’ll see who thrives best in the next few months.