Sergio Garcia Says Rory McIlroy's "Lacking Maturity" Ended Their Friendship
At the beginning of the whole LIV Golf ordeal, most players on both sides of the aisle avoided taking any personal shots. Guys have been playing on different tours for decades, and guys knew deep down that a little bit of pressure on the PGA Tour could benefit even those who don't go to LIV. Which, of course, has happened.
But things grew tense once lawsuits started flying. Rory McIlroy did not take kindly to Patrick Reed's lawyers serving him a subpoena on Christmas Eve, for example. Tommy Fleetwood said on the Fore Play Podcast that everything was cool until Mickelson vs. PGA Tour. Billy Horschel made this point passionately at the BMW PGA Championship, where he said that suing the PGA Tour means suing its players.
As such, this schism has killed some long-lasting friendships. Fred Couples said in June that he and Phil Mickelson weren't on speaking terms. "I don't think I'll ever talk to him again," Couples said. "I'm not in the same boat as him anymore, and probably will never play golf with him again. I'm not saying that to be mean. We're just in different orbits." Just last week, Tiger Woods admitted he didn't know what the vibe would be like at the Masters champions dinner.
"I don't know what that reaction's going to be," Woods said. I know that some of our friendships have certainly taken a different path, but we'll see when all that transpires. That is still a couple months away."
Sergio Garcia will be at that dinner by way of his 2017 Augusta triumph. Rory McIlroy will not. And, by the sound of things, Garcia won't miss him. At LIV Golf's season opener this week in Mexico, Garcia was asked about his relationship with McIlroy, which goes way back. The two have teamed up on five European Ryder Cup teams and teamed up together three times. But now?
“I think it is very sad,” Garcia told Telegraph Sport's James Corrigan. “I think that we’ve done so many things together and had so many experiences that for him to throw that away just because I decided to go to a different tour, well, it doesn’t seem very mature; lacking maturity, really.
“But Rory’s got his own life and he makes his own choices, the same way that I make mine. I respect his choices, but it seems like he doesn’t respect the ones I make. So a one-way street.”
Garcia's likely not alone in being a bit tired of hearing from McIlroy, who has acted as the de-facto spokesman for the PGA Tour for the past year. McIlroy knows he's been all over everyone's TV screens, and "Full Swing" portrayed him as the prince-that-was-promised. He told me last week at Riviera that he wanted to speak less about LIV this year and return to golf being his primary focus.
Still, there's unmistakeable irony in Garcia calling McIlroy immature, as Garcia's not exactly known as an elder statesman. There was his "fried-chicken" comment about Tiger Woods. He's had countless on-course tantrums, including spitting in a cup, going ape shit in this bunker and being disqualified from the 2019 Saudi International for purposely damaging the greens. He also withdrew from that BMW PGA Championship because he didn't feel welcomed by the DP World Tour, then showed up days later at ESPN's College Gameday.
I believe there's a saying for this. Something about a pot and a kettle.