Golf news: Rory McIlroy lashes Phil Mickelson for Saudi tour links

A breakaway golf tour backed by Greg Norman looks dead in the water, leaving those who committed to it floundering.

Rory McIlroy has slammed Phil Mickelson. Picture: Michael Owens/Getty Images/AFP
Rory McIlroy has slammed Phil Mickelson. Picture: Michael Owens/Getty Images/AFP

Rory McIlroy has declared the breakaway Saudi tour being run by Greg Norman is “dead in the water” after both Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson pledged their allegiance to the PGA Tour.

And the four-time major winner slammed golfing great Phil Mickelson as “selfish, egotistical, ignorant” for his allegiance to the new tour.

In a stunning turn of events over the course of the Genesis Invitational in California, most of the top-15 players in the world have officially rebuked multimillion-dollar offers and committed their futures to the PGA Tour.

Amid reports he had been offered as much as $135 million to join the new tour, being financed by the Saudi Arabian government, DeChambeau wrote on his official Twitter account that he was not defecting.

“While there has been a lot of speculation surrounding my support for another tour, I want to make it very clear that as long as the best players in the world are playing the PGA Tour, so will I,” he wrote.

After the world number one and two, Jon Rahm and Colin Morikawa, also said there were going nowhere, McIlroy declared there was no-one left for Norman to poach with rumours the had signed up to 17-top players now looking wrong.

“Who’s left? Who’s left to go? I mean, there’s no one. It’s dead in the water in my opinion. Yeah, I just -- I just can’t see any reason why anyone would go,” McIlroy said.

“I mean, Greg Norman would have to tee it up to fill the field. Like, I mean seriously? I mean, who else is going to do it? I don’t think they could get 48 guys.

“I was really glad to see DJ and Bryson put out those statements this week. We all want to play against the best players in the world and they‘re certainly two of the best players in the world and it’s nice to know that they’re committed to playing here and committed to making this the best tour in the world.”

Before the tournament Australian Adam Scott, who finished in a tie for fourth at Riviera, had said he was “very interested” in the new tour, having had discussions with them

McIlroy also didn’t hold back in comments about veteran star Mickelson, who has been outspoken in his support of the Saudi-backed tour, despite his misgivings about their record on human rights being exposed.

A conversation Mickelson had with golf write Alan Shipnuck last week has put the 51-year-old in the gun.

“They’re scary mother******* to get involved with,” Mickelson was reported to have said.

“Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates.”

Phil Mickelson has copped flak for his links to the breakaway tour. Picture: Oisin Keniry/Getty Images
Phil Mickelson has copped flak for his links to the breakaway tour. Picture: Oisin Keniry/Getty Images

McIlroy said Mickelson, a six-time major champion, should be rethinking his comments.

“I don’t want to kick someone while he’s down obviously, but I thought they were naive, selfish, egotistical, ignorant,” he said.

“It was just very surprising and disappointing, sad. I’m sure he’s sitting at home sort of rethinking his position and where he goes from here.”

Originally published as Golf news: Rory McIlroy lashes Phil Mickelson for Saudi tour links