The rising tension between the PGA Tour and the LIV Golf Series has cratered the golf landscape. It’s forced golfers to choose sides and has now ruined one friendship.
LIV golfer Sergio Garcia shared his friendship with Rory McIlroy has soured in recent months. In an interview with Telegraph Sport, Garcia took offense to McIlroy’s comments about LIV Golf and the golfers that decided to defect from the PGA Tour.
“I think it is very sad,” Garcia said ahead of the LIV Mayakoba tournament. “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.”
Garcia was one of the first defectors to join LIV Golf. The upstart league is financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and has drawn criticism from the golf community. McIlroy remains outspoken about LIV Golf and its CEO Greg Norman.
“Greg (Norman) needs to go. He needs to exit stage left,” McIlroy said last November. “He’s made his mark but I think now is the right time to say you’ve got this thing off the ground but no one’s going to talk unless there’s an adult in the room that can actually try to mend fences.”
Garcia mentioned he was taken aback by McIlroy’s distain for LIV Golf. He felt slighted after McIlroy brushed off his decision to depart from the PGA Tour.
McIlroy shared with reporters that he was offended with the decision. In January, he also revealed he wouldn’t shake Garcia’s hand if selected to be on the European Ryder Cup team.
Both golfers will be in The Masters field in April. The former friends, McIlroy was in Garcia’s 2017 wedding, are now on opposite sides of the LIV Golf-PGA Tour rivalry that drove them apart.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Sergio Garcia reflects on fractured friendship with Rory McIlroy