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Rory McIlroy: Northern Irishman 'glad' of PGA player-directors meeting with Saudi's PIF

Rory McIlroy lines up a putt
Rory McIlroy finished in a tie for 19th at The Players Championship

Rory McIlroy says he hopes a meeting between players on the PGA Tour board and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund "gets us closer to a solution" to the split in golf.

Negotiations are continuing between the PGA Tour and the PIF, which funds LIV Golf, about a potential merger.

PGA player-director Patrick Cantlay said a meeting with PIF representatives will take place on Monday.

"It should've happened months ago, so I am glad it's happening," said McIlroy.

The Northern Irishman, 34, added: "Hopefully that progresses conversations and gets us closer to a solution."

The PGA Tour and DP World Tour announced plans for a shock merger with PIF in June, but they failed to reach an agreement by a previous deadline at the end of 2023.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan recently met with PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan, who is also Newcastle United's chairman.

A report in Golfweek said the PGA Tour's player-directors were set to also meet Al-Rumayyan, with Jordan Spieth adding on Saturday they were being "encouraged" to meet with PIF.

Spieth and Cantlay are two of six player-directors on the PGA Tour board, along with Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Webb Simpson and Peter Malnati.

McIlroy resigned from the PGA Tour's Policy Board in November.

Speaking at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, Cantlay said he is planning on doing "a lot more listening than talking" in the meeting and will "have a lot more information after".

The American added that while he doubted the two parties "will get into anything substantive in the first meeting", he is "all for" any eventual deal to reunite golf that is "in the best interests of the PGA Tour membership".

McIlroy said he wants Al-Rumayyan to show the players that "fundamentally he wants to do the right thing", adding those who have represented LIV, such as commissioner Greg Norman, have done the PIF governor "a disservice".

"There's a really big disconnect between PIF and LIV," added McIlroy. "The closer that we can get to Yasir, PIF and hopefully finalise that investment, that will be a really good thing.

"They're a sovereign wealth fund. They want to park money for decades and not worry about it.

"They want to invest in smart and secure businesses, and the PGA Tour is definitely one of those, especially if they're looking to invest in sport in some way."

The emergence of the LIV circuit in 2022 has fractured men's professional golf.

Several top players, including Masters champion Jon Rahm, have been lured by its huge prize funds and no-cut events, which also include a team format.

McIlroy said he thought LIV will still exist in its current form "for the next couple of years" while the details of the merger are finalised.

He added: "They're big on team golf and they want to see team golf survive in some way in the calendar.

"I don't think it has to necessarily look like LIV. In my mind you should leave the individual golf and then you play your team golf on the sort of periphery of that.

"I don't think this is an overnight solution. But if we can get the investment in, then at least we can start working towards a compromise where we're not going to make everyone happy, but at least make everyone understand why we're doing what we're doing."