Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy did not hold back when questioned about the presence of LIV Golf members at the BMW PGA Championship.
One of the flagship events of the DP World Tour, the BMW PGA takes place at Wentworth this weekend, and both Shane Lowry and McIlroy are in the field.
Alongside them are several of those rogue figures who have signed up to the breakaway LIV Golf series. Among the LIV contingent at Wentworth are Patrick Reed, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, and Ian Poulter, among others.
The presence of LIV players at a DP event has already caused controversy, and Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy came out firing on the topic on Wednesday evening.
Shane Lowry and McIlroy come out firing against LIV Golfers
Shane Lowry was bullish when asked about LIV Golf players playing at Wentworth, saying there were some among their contingent he would not be shaking hands with.
This is as passionate and erudite as I’ve ever heard Shane be on golf’s ongoing soap opera. pic.twitter.com/9skSmXYNi4
— Jamie Weir (@jamiecweir) September 7, 2022
Shane Lowry said:
I can't say I'm 100% okay with everyone being here. There's some of the guys I kind of don't mind them being here, given what they've done for the tour over the years. There's certain guys I just can't stand them being here, to be honest.
I don't like it that they're here and I think, to be honest, the one thing that has really annoyed me over the last few months is how disruptive they're all trying to be.
I get that they're all here to get world ranking points and I get that - but in a way, I think they're here for that, and to be disruptive. I don't think they're here for anything else.
Anyone who knows me knows I don't like confrontation, I don't like any of that stuff. So, look, I'll say hello, I'll do my thing. That's the way I'll be.
There's certain lads I'll shake hands with, there's certain lads I wouldn't.
Lowry went on to explain that some of the LIV players had previously been friends of his, but that relationships had broken down due to their absence from the PGA and DP World Tours.
LIV players were banned from playing in events co-sanctioned by the PGA and DP World Tours in June, after the first event of the breakaway series was held in London. Lowry and McIlroy have both been staunch advocates against the series, which has strong links to the Saudi government. Some golfers on the series have admitted that their main reason for joining was the enormous payday promised to them.
Speaking on the matter on Wednesday, Rory McIlroy stated his simple belief that LIV golfers "should not be" at the BMW PGA Championship.
🚨Rory: “They shouldn’t be here” as LIV vs PGA / DWPT players face off at Wentworth this week pic.twitter.com/Ht1jFqJgL3
— NUCLR GOLF (@NUCLRGOLF) September 7, 2022
My opinion is they shouldn't be here. They've been paid a lot of money to go pay on a different tour that is trying to buy the professional game in golf and they're taking spots away from players that really need spots this week.
This is a massive event on the European Tour and there's guys who have missed out because of these players, who could have kept their cards for next year and kept themselves in a job for next year.
These guys don't have to worry about that sort of stuff. They're here because their tour doesn't get world ranking points and this tour does.
My opinion: they shouldn't be here. But the court ruling in July was that they can be so, until that gets more in depth, they can play and we can't really do anything about that. I can voice my opinion but it doesn't change anything.
Lowry and McIlroy both spoke well on the matter of LIV golf players playing at Wentworth, but McIlroy saved his best dig for a jab at the series' 54-hole format:
They're going to be pretty tired on Sunday - it'll be the fourth day.
Tempers are fraying already, without a single tee shot struck at Wentworth.
It's set to be a tense weekend.