McIlroy says court ruling means playoffs can go on without 'sideshow'

Jul 17, 2022; St. Andrews, SCT; Rory McIlroy reacts after a putt on the 13th green during the final round of the 150th Open Championship golf tournament at St. Andrews Old Course. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Aug 10 (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy welcomed Tuesday's court decision that prevented three players suspended by the PGA Tour for joining LIV Golf from competing in the lucrative FedExCup playoffs, saying that the competition can now go ahead without unecessary distractions.

A U.S. District Court Judge on Tuesday denied Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford's request for a temporary restraining order against the ban that would have allowed them to compete in the playoffs, which kick off Thursday in Memphis. read more

"From my vantage point, common sense prevailed and I thought it was the right decision," McIlroy told reporters on Wednesday ahead of the first round at TPC Southwind.

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"And now that that has happened, I think it just lets us focus on the important stuff, which is the golf, and we can all move forward and not have that sideshow going on for the next few weeks, which is nice."

McIlroy, a two-time PGA Player of the Year and one of the most recognisable faces in the sport, has emerged as something of an unofficial spokesman for the PGA Tour in its public battle against the controversial Saudi-backed breakaway circuit.

The four-time major champion from Northern Ireland said he does not feel like it is his job to stick up for the Tour but acknowledged that is the role he has found himself in.

The war of words between the rival tours and the criticisms of players who have reaped massive financial rewards for joining LIV has helped McIlroy value his time on the course even more.

"When I get inside the ropes, it's like no one can get to me and it's really nice," he said.

"So it's actually made the golf part of it way more enjoyable and I sort of appreciate it a little bit more because of all the other stuff that's going on.

"If anything, it's probably helped my golf."

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Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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