Rory McIlroy Eases up on Phil Mickelson While Ripping Younger LIV Golf Defectors for ‘Taking the Easy Way Out’

Champion golfer Rory McIlroy has been criticized for recently praising the “old school” mentality of Phil Mickelson, as well as his age. McIlroy’s praise of an older player is especially controversial in this era where younger competitors are more praised and rewarded with lucrative sponsorships deals.

Rory McIlroy, the world’s number one golfer, has decided to ease up on Phil Mickelson, his rival. Rory says that he is taking the easy way out by playing younger golfers who are defecting from the LIV Golf company.

One of the most popular golfers on the globe right now is Rory McIlroy. This weekend in Brookline, Massachusetts, talk should revolve on the fact that he is the betting favorite to win his first major title since 2014 at the 2022 U.S. Open.

But it’s not.

McIlroy was one of several athletes who came up to the platform at The Country Club on Tuesday and had to respond to a barrage of questions about LIV Golf. The Northern Irishman, who was one of the league’s sharpest critics and accused the younger PGA Tour deserters of “going the easy way out,” spoke out loudly against them.

Younger LIV Golf players are criticized by Rory McIlroy for “going the easy way out.”

Rory McIlroy speaks to the media ahead of the U.S. Open.

Rory McIlroy speaks to the media ahead of the U.S. Open. Prior to the U.S. Open, Rory McIlroy addresses the media during a news conference at The Country Club. Getty Images/Cliff Hawkins

Over the last several months, the PGA Tour has been divided in half. The devoted golfers who care more about tradition and heritage than they do about free money are on one side. On the other hand, there are those who desire to support themselves and their family regardless of where the money comes from. It’s difficult to blame them when weekly prizes top $20 million and contracts total more than $100 million.

This interaction between the LIV Golf defectors and the PGA Tour devotees at The Country Club in Brookline has dominated the news ahead of this weekend’s U.S. Open.

On Tuesday, when confronted with a flood of inquiries regarding LIV Golf, McIlroy said that he didn’t understand why younger golfers like Dustin Johnson and Talor Gooch would accept the money when they still had the skills necessary to succeed on the PGA Tour.

“I perceive. The majority of these men are in their late 40s, so yes. Early 50s in Phil’s case,” McIlroy reportedly stated to ESPN. “Yeah, I believe everyone in this room would admit that their prime has passed. Because I would like to think that my best years are still ahead of me and because I feel that their greatest years are as well, I don’t understand why the men my age are still going. Therefore, it is when it seems like you are skipping a step.

What about Mickelson, though?

McIlroy backs off of Phil Mickelson, but he’s still unhappy with his decision.

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One of the first to criticize Mickelson for his remarks on Saudi Arabia in February was McIlroy, who described them as “naive, selfish, arrogant, uninformed.” McIlroy has backed off of Mickelson after allowing himself some time to think about his choice.

“He won a major title 13 months ago, which was perhaps the pinnacle of his professional career and one of the most amazing feats in golf history. I have the highest regard for Phil as a player,” McIlroy added. “I was unhappy in how he went about doing what he did, but I believe he has turned around and shown regret about how he handled certain situations, so I believe he has learnt from that.

Who am I to instruct Phil on how to handle things from this vantage point? His career has been fantastic. He is a self-made guy. This week’s field is better with him on it. Am I disappointed that he chose the path he did? I am, but I still have the utmost regard for him.

Is it possible for McIlroy and Mickelson to play together in the U.S. Open final? The game of golf requires it.

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