Rory McIlroy begins Saturday with a real chance to win the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday at Jack's place, sitting tied for seventh place, four shots behind leader Justin Suh. He's had some notable lows this season — missing the cut at the Masters and the PLAYERS Championship — but he finished seventh at the PGA Championship and has won a tournament, placed second, and placed third. McIlroy has been dealing with a lot from a work perspective, playing a tons of golf and also serving as the de facto Face of the PGA Tour.
And he's been pretty honest about the toll that's taken.
"I think these things were creeping in at the end of 2022, probably. And again, that's why it was -- you know, we have all been advocating for an off-season and there's certain reasons why guys want -- it's very hard to try to play your best golf when you're really thinking about your golf swing.
"So that off-season time would be nice to work on your mechanics and your fundamentals so that you've got those sort of bedded in so that you can sort of roll going into the bulk of the season. I didn't really feel like I had the necessary time to do that over the -- you want to take a little bit of time off over the holidays, get yourself back into it.
"So it's just -- my reluctancy to work on -- like I know it's been creeping in, but reluctancy to work on it was more to do with the fact of how much golf we had coming up and just not really wanting to be thinking about my golf swing a ton."
Phil Mickelson, arguably LIV's most prominent proponent, caught these comments and offered a helpful suggestion. Before saying that no team on his circuit would want McIlroy because they'd have to deal with all the bs.
Can you imagine distractions keeping into the sacrosanct competition that is a LIV Golf event? The horror.
The thing is, there's a chance this is true. Perhaps the 4Aces and Crushers and Cleeks are perfectly content with their team construction and would tell McIroy to kick rocks if he shocked the world and had a change of heart. But that sure seems like bad business to keep one of the sport's biggest stars away from whatever Trump property is hosting.
Anyway, just another salvo in a battle that seemed like it was simmering a bit. There will surely be more.