Rory McIlroy takes a dig at Greg Norman after Canadian Open win

’21st PGA Tour win… one more than someone else!’: Rory McIlroy takes sly dig at Greg Norman as he admits surpassing the Saudi LIV Golf chief ‘gave me a little bit of extra incentive’ after Canadian Open triumph

  • LIV Golf Invitational Series held its inaugural event in St Albans at the weekend
  • It ran in opposition to the PGA Tour-sanctioned Canadian Open in Toronto
  • Rory McIlroy defended his title as he secured his 21st victory on the PGA Tour 
  • The Northern Irishman’s win saw him surpass Greg Norman, face of LIV Golf

Rory McIlroy could not resist having a sly dig at Greg Norman, the face of LIV Golf, following his 21st win on the PGA Tour at the Canadian Open on Sunday. 

The Saudi breakaway held its inaugural £20million event at the Centurion Club this weekend, while the PGA Tour played the Canadian Open. 

McIlroy, who has been one of the most outspoken critics of the Saudi-backed series and avid supporter of the PGA Tour, shot an eight-under round of 62 to finish on 19-under to defend his Canadian Open title.

 Rory McIlroy (left) had a sly dig at Greg Norman (right) following his 21st PGA Tour win

The Northern Irishman held off charges from Tony Finau, Justin Thomas and Justin Rose to clinch the victory, which saw him surpass Norman’s mark of 20 PGA Tour wins. 

And the 33-year-old could not resist taking a swipe at the Australian with his feat following his final round as he hinted he used the Saudi rebels as motivation.

When asked by CBS Sports’ Amanda Renner for what the moment meant to him, he said: ‘Yeah it’s a day I will remember for a long, long time.

‘Twenty-first PGA Tour win, one more than someone else. That gave me a little bit of extra incentive today and I’m happy to get it done.’

The 33-year-old hinted he used the Saudi rebels as motivation for his Canadian Open victory

Thomas, who played alongside McIlroy during the final round, also took the chance to take aim at the Saudi rebels and Norman as he took to social media to congratulate his playing partner and praise the quality of the PGA Tour.

He wrote: ‘What a week. That’s why we play, and that’s why we play on the PGA Tour. 

‘Got to battle against one of the best today and got out-duelled, but not without a fight. Congrats to Rory McIlroy on his 21st [winking emoji] win and an amazing finish. Can’t wait for the US Open,’

Justin Thomas also took the chance to have a dig at the Saudi-backed breakaway 

The American played alongside McIlroy during the final round of the Canadian Open

LIV Golf has poached some of the PGA Tour’s biggest names, including six-time major winner Phil Mickelson, former World No 1 Dustin Johnson and European stars Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood. 

The breakaway most recently managed to lure away Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed with mega-money deals.

Meanwhile, the winner of the opening event, Charl Schwartzel, pocketed £3.86m for his triumph in Hertfordshire – compared to McIlroy’s £1.27m.

Phil Mickelson (left) and Dustin Johnson (right) were among the Saudi rebels last weekend

South African Charl Schwartzel pocketed £3.86million for winning the inaugural event

However, the four-time major winner insisted the quality of the players on the PGA was unforgettable. 

‘It’s incredible. Playing with Tony and JT today, two of the top players in the world,’ McIlroy said.

‘All of us playing the way we did, I think the worst score in the group was six-under par. This is a day I’ll remember for a long, long time.’

Within 30 minutes of the first shots being struck in LIV Golf’s opening event, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan sent a memo to all members informing them that 17 players competing at Centurion, were being suspended. 

McIlroy said he played with two of the top players in the world with Thomas and Tony Finau (left)

A bombshell letter from the PGA Tour announced that all defecting members to rebel Saudi Invitational series have been suspended, in a huge shake-up for golf’s biggest names 

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan accused players of ‘wilfully violating regulation’

Both McIlroy and Thomas welcomed the suspensions, a move branded ‘vindictive’ by the Saudi-backed breakaway.

‘All he (Monahan) is doing is basically going by the book,’ said McIlroy.

‘I think that the majority of the membership that are here this week and that haven’t went and played elsewhere really appreciate that.

‘So I think he’s done the right thing because these guys have broken rules and done things outside of the tournament regulations, and because of that, there are going to be consequences, I guess.’

McIlroy and Thomas welcomed the suspension of Saudi rebels from the PGA Tour on Thursday

‘I’m pleased,’ Thomas added. ‘I think anybody that’s shocked clearly hasn’t been listening to the message that Jay and everybody’s been putting out. They took that risk going into it, whether they thought it was a risk or not.

‘Like I’ve said the whole time, I have great belief and great confidence in the PGA Tour and where we’re going and continuing to grow to, and those guys just aren’t going to be a part of it.’ 

Ten of the 17 rebels had already resigned from the Tour and those players were removed from the FedEx Cup points list following the end of the Canadian Open on Sunday.

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