At the breakaway LIV Invitational Series, PGA Tour stars have come out swinging, with Irish golfer Rory McIlroy leading the assault at the Canadian Open this weekend.
The PGA Tour proceeded with the final round of the Canadian Open as the opening round of the controversial LIV Invitational Series was being played at the Centurion Club in London.
With McIlroy, Justin Thomas, and Tony Finau showcasing exceptional strokeplay in the struggle for the final three spots, it was a fantastic demonstration of why the PGA Tour needs to withstand the threat from the Saudi-backed LIV Tour.
Greg Norman is the controversial ambassador for the renegade LIV series, and McIlroy’s victory pushed him beyond former Australian champion Greg Norman’s record of 20 PGA Tour victories – and the Irishman told him so.
‘Yeah, it’s a day I will remember for a long, long time,’ he said.
‘Twenty-first PGA Tour wins, one more than someone else. That gave me a little bit of extra incentive today and I’m happy to get it done.’
Justin Rose, the former US Open and Olympic winner, finished fourth at the St George’s Golf & Country Club north of Toronto.
Thomas had an emotional finale, praising McIlroy for his triumph and praising the skill and entertaining on show in the first PGA Tour tournament to run concurrently with a LIV event.
‘What a week. That’s why we play, and that’s why we play on the PGA Tour. Got to battle against one of the best today and got out-duelled, but not without a fight. Congrats to Rory McIlroy on his 21st [winking emoji] win and an amazing finish. Can’t wait for the US Open,’ he tweeted.
In an attempt to poach existing PGA Tour golfers, the LIV Tour has thrown hundreds of millions of dollars to them.
Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, and Graeme McDowell have all defected so far, as have other players who have been cut from the PGA Tour, like as Patrick Reed.
The PGA Tour, on the other hand, needed to hit a huge shot at the weekend to ensure that the pull of wealth was resisted, and it achieved just that.
‘It’s incredible. Playing with Tony and JT today, two of the top players in the world,’ McIlroy said.
‘All of us playing the way we did. I think the worst score in the group was six-under par. This is a day I’ll remember for a long, long time.’
Charl Schwartzel of South Africa won AUD$6.7 million in the LIV event for winning both the individual and team divisions.