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Rory McIlroy details feud with Greg Norman and why Rory decided to be a 'pain in his ass'

December 04, 2022

David Cannon

If it seems like Rory McIlroy has gone out of his way to be the bane of Greg Norman’s existence, that’s because, in McIlroy’s words, he has.

In the second part of a three-piece interview series with the Sunday Independent’s Paul Kimmage, McIlroy details the beginning of his feud with the LIV Golf CEO. According to McIlroy, Norman took offense to McIlroy’s comments from 2020, when the Ulsterman, discussing the then-Premier Golf League concept, said he wanted to be on the right side of history similar to Arnold Palmer’s stance against the World Tour in the mid-1990s, a circuit Norman was associated with. “[Norman] wasn’t happy, and we had a pretty testy back-and-forth and he was very condescending, “Maybe one day you’ll understand,” and all this s***,” McIlroy said.

However, McIlroy reached out to Norman earlier this year after watching the ESPN documentary about Norman’s collapse at the 1996 Masters, and according to McIlroy, Norman responded well, leaving McIlroy thinking their spat had ended. Alas, weeks later Norman said that McIlroy had been “brainwashed by the PGA Tour,” comments that did not sit well with the four-time major winner.

“I’m like ‘For f*** sake!’ We’ve had this really nice back-and-forth and he says that about me,” McIlroy said. “I thought, ‘You know what? I’m going to make it my business now to be as much of a pain in his ass as possible.'

“And that’s basically what I’ve done since.”

McIlroy has not held back on his thoughts on Norman during the ongoing schism in professional golf, stating just weeks ago that for any possible truce between the tour and the Saudi-backed circuit that “Greg needs to go.” The barbs continued in his interview with Kimmage.

“So as much as I’m anti-LIV, I feel the PGA Tour have got lucky that Greg Norman has fronted this up. I think if they had found someone less polarizing, LIV could have made more inroads,” McIlroy said.

Earlier this week, in an interview with Today Golfer, Norman fired back at McIlroy and Tiger Woods, both who have called for Norman’s exit. “I pay zero attention to McIlroy and Woods, right?,” Norman said. “They have their agenda for whatever reason. They’re saying whatever they want to say. It has no bearing or effect on me. I’m going to be with LIV for a long, long period of time.”