'Sergio Feels He Deserves A Lot Of Things' - Rory McIlroy Claps Back At Former Ryder Cup Teammate Over LIV Golf Future

The World No.2 gave a zesty response when asked about Sergio Garcia's claim that LIV Golf deserves to be important for more than a month

Rory McIlroy at the 2024 Dubai Desert Classic pre-tournament press conference
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Former Ryder Cup teammates Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia have continued their spiky back-and-forth over how much of a role LIV Golf should play in the sport's calendar moving forward.

Days after a deal was agreed to extend the framework agreement deadline in order to give all three main tours in men's professional golf time to find some sort of middle ground, McIlroy took part in a wide-ranging interview with British soccer podcast 'Stick To Football'

On the podcast - speaking to ex-Premier League players Roy Keane, Ian Wright, Jamie Carragher, and Gary Neville - McIlroy acknowledged that LIV Golf is "a part of our sport now" - having previously been strongly against the idea of cooperation. 

The 34-year-old also proposed that the 54-hole league could take centre stage once or twice a year over a month-long block to give team golf a platform to shine while working in conjunction with the status quo.

The Northern Irishman said: “What I would love LIV to turn into is almost like the Indian Premier League of golf. The IPL in cricket, they take two months during the calendar, you have four weeks in May and four weeks in November, and you go and do this team stuff – it’s a bit different, and it’s a different format. If they were to do something like that, I think that sounds like fun – you’re at least working within the ecosystem."

But just a few days later, Garcia – who is captain of LIV’s Fireballs GC team – dismissed his old teammate's idea out of hand. In an interview with The Standard, Garcia said: "I don’t think we want to be important for one month. We all deserve more than that.”

And then on Tuesday, at McIlroy's press conference before the Dubai Desert Classic, the four-time Major winner was himself asked about Garcia's response and how difficult it will be to come up with a scenario where everyone is happy.

McIlroy said: "Yeah, Sergio feels he deserves a lot of things. Again, it's trying to align interests, and I think right now it's just very, very hard to align everyone's interests in the game."

Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia at the 2021 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The awkward exchange comes months after the pair apparently "ended their feud" at the 2023 US Open, instigated by a text sent by McIlroy to Garcia's wife, Angela.

Having previously been best friends and McIlroy acting as a groomsman at Garcia's wedding, the duo's relationship disintegrated after the Spaniard's switch to LIV. McIlroy later shared a tense text chain in December 2022 surrounding the 54-hole league which led to the Northern Irishman stating there was "no way" the friendship could be rekindled. Yet, Garcia explained that after a conversation last summer, he "gained a friend back" and all was well once again.

McIlroy's comments about LIV arrived a day after another of his former Ryder Cup teammates, Ian Poulter, applauded the Northern Irishman for softening his stance on LIV and coming around to the idea of giving them a bigger piece of the pie.

Side by side images of Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In an eyebrow-raising two-part Instagram story where he credited McIlroy, Poulter also called out an unnamed third party for being "two-faced" and called it a "terrible trait."

He posted a message which read: "Being two-faced is a terrible trait. I'd be embarrassed having to change my story now and come out and try and look smart. I'm happy to sit down and have it out. I will happily say it as it is. Enough of the b*****it."

In the second post, Poulter wrote: "Just for clarity, I applaud Rory McIlroy for his comments a few weeks ago. It takes a lot to say the things he said. Nothing that can't be fixed over a good cup of coffee. It's the others who blatantly choose to try and NOW become heroes all of a sudden. You have to be kidding me. That will NOT be fixed over a coffee."

Jonny Leighfield
Staff Writer

Jonny Leighfield is our Staff Writer, joining Golf Monthly just in time for the 2023 Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Sport Journalism in 2017 and has since spent almost five years as the sole sports reporter at his local newspaper. The self-proclaimed ‘worst golfer in the office’ still enjoys playing as much as he can and is hoping to reach his Handicap goal of 18 at some stage. He attended both the 150th and 151st Opens and is keen to make it an annual pilgrimage.