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McIlroy had no time for LIV

Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy.
Rory McIlroy (NIR) answers a question about LIV Golf and Greg Norman during his press conference Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Rory McIlroy said he would rather retire from the sport than sign up for LIV Golf after proposals came to light to offer the former world number one his own team on the breakaway circuit.

At a senate hearing earlier this week, a proposal was revealed for both Tiger Woods and McIlroy, two of the sport's biggest names, to own LIV Golf teams and participate in at least 10 events on the rival Saudi-backed circuit.

But McIlroy, who said he did not watch the hearing, said he would have rebuffed any such proposal.

"If LIV Golf was the last place to play golf on earth I would retire. That's how I feel about it," McIlroy said after he carded an opening round of 64 at the Scottish Open on Thursday.

"There's quite a bit of apathy towards everything at the moment. There wasn't a lot of new information there for me (in the hearing), there maybe was for other people."

The PGA Tour, European Tour and Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit announced a landmark agreement last month to merge and form a commercial entity to unify golf.

PGA Tour Chief Operating Officer Ron Price and board member Jimmy Dunne testified before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

At the hearing, the framework agreement with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund was described as an attempt by its government to "buy influence" in U.S. sports.

"As I said, I've almost been too close to it over the last year and a bit so it's nice to be able to try to distance myself a bit from it," McIlroy added.

"I think I'm apathetic to all the noise around it and as long as the tournaments that I play keep on existing I'll be very happy to play them and be a professional golfer."

McIlroy had been one of the PGA Tour's most vocal backers when LIV Golf poached the world's best players.

But the four-times major champion later conceded that the new partnership will ultimately be good for professional golf, saying those who were loyal to the PGA Tour should be compensated.

"I think they were trying to do what was right for the Tour, which in turn means what's right for the players on that Tour," McIlroy said.

"I think I read a quote: "they were negotiating their survival', so I think that's a very fair thing for a business to do."

- Reuters