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Rory McIlroy denies rift with Tiger Woods but admits to differing views on the future of golf

The tensions built between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf have not bled over into the friendship between Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, the latter confirmed this week. 

McIlroy, 35, recently confirmed that he would not return to the PGA Tour’s player board, as was previously expected after he said that there was “a subset of people on the board that were maybe uncomfortable with me coming back on for some reason.”

Subsequently, rumors of a potential rift between McIlroy and Woods began circulating after it was reported that Woods was the only player involved on a subcommittee responsible for negotiations between the PGA Tour and the Saudi backers of LIV Golf.

After Thursday’s round at the Wells Fargo Championship, McIlroy was asked directly whether the politics behind the scenes have put a “strain” on his relationship with Woods. 

“I think friends can have disagreements,” McIlroy responded. “I think that’s fine, but no, I wouldn’t say – we had a really good talk last Friday for 45 minutes just about a lot of different things. 

“No, there’s no strain there,” he said, doubling down.  

“I think we might see the future of golf a little bit differently, but I don’t think that should place any strain on a relationship or on a friendship.” 

Rory McIlroy shakes hands with Tiger Woods


McIlroy also clarified that while he does not have voting power on the PGA Tour Enterprises board, he is still involved. 

“I’m not on the board, but I’m in some way involved in that transaction committee. I don’t have a vote, so I don’t have, I guess, a meaningful say in what happens in the future, but at least I can – I feel like I can be helpful on that committee. And that was sort of a compromise for not getting a board seat.” 

McIlroy also added that he’s confident with Webb Simpson remaining on the player board. 

“Webb is a very level-headed, balanced, big-picture guy. So if it wasn’t me taking his seat, the next best thing was Webb staying on, and I’m happy about that.”

Rory McIlroy at Wells Fargo Championship

McIlroy entered the weekend four shots behind Xander Schauffele at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. He went bogey-free on Friday to position himself well. 

“Another solid day. I feel like I probably could’ve squeezed a couple more out of the round, but anytime you can go around this golf course bogey-free, you know it’s always going to be a decent day,” McIlroy said Friday. 

“Two solid days, I’ve set myself up for another good go at it this weekend.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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