Tiger Woods praises "exceptional" Rory McIlroy for LIV Golf stance
"He's been exceptional."
Golf's biggest star, Tiger Woods, has lavished praise upon Rory McIlroy ahead of this weekend's Genesis Invitational tournament in California.
McIlroy, who is currently ranked as golf's number one player, will tee off alongside Woods in what will be the American's first PGA Tour outing since last July's Open Championship at St. Andrews.
Speaking prior to this weekend's action at the Riviera Golf Club, the 15-time major winner was quick to applaud McIlroy's stance on the controversial LIV Golf Series.
The LIV Golf Tour, which is funded by the Saudi Arabian government's Public Investment Fund, began last year and was met with much controversy and critique by pros and fans alike.
Having pried away the likes of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson, the allure of guaranteed prize money regardless of tournament placing alongside increased winner bonuses has seen many of the sport's biggest names depart the PGA Tour.
However, there have been a number of players who have resisted the temptation, with McIlroy becoming the de-facto poster boy for the PGA Tour given his strong criticisms of their LIV Golf rivals. "If you believe in something, I think you have to speak up, and I believe very strongly about this", said McIlroy last year, before adding "I hate what it’s doing to the game of golf. I hate it. I really do".
Giving his own thoughts about the LIV Golf Tour, Woods stated "We never would have expected the game of golf to be in this situation, but it is, that's the reality".
The five-time Masters winner then went on to credit McIlroy for his staunch support of the PGA Tour and spoke about the backlash the County Down native has faced, saying:
"You've seen our ambassador, Rory, go through it. It's been tough on him, but he's been exceptional. To be able to go through all that, I've been with him on all those conference calls and side meetings, and for him to go out there and play and win, it's been incredible."
The pairing of Woods and McIlroy will tee off this Thursday at 3.04 pm alongside American Justin Thomas, as they seek to claim the handsome $20 million winner's cheque.
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