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#pounditWednesday, September 27, 2023

Rory McIlroy has surprising opinion on Brooks Koepka

May 30, 2019; Dublin, OH, USA; Rory McIlroy looks on during the first round of the 2019 Memorial golf tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Rory McIlroy has shared a surprising opinion regarding Brooks Koepka.

McIlroy spoke with the media on Wednesday ahead of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. The 34-year-old said that he felt Koepka deserved a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

“I certainly think Brooks deserves to be on the United States team. I think with how he’s played, I mean, he’s second in the US standings [and] only played two counting events,” McIlroy said. “I don’t know if there’s anyone else on the LIV roster that would make the team on merit and how they’re playing. But Brooks is definitely a guy that I think deserves to be on the US team.”

That type of opinion is a big surprise for McIlroy. He spent all last year being the most outspoken critic of LIV and the players who chose to sign with the PGA Tour rival league. Koepka, who just won the PGA Championship, is one of the golfers who chose to join LIV Golf.

Though McIlroy believes Koepka should be allowed to play in the Ryder Cup, which pits U.S. players against European players, the Northern Ireland native feels differently about Team Europe.

“I have different feelings about the European team and the other side and sort of how that has all transpired and, yes, I don’t think any of those guys should be a part of the European team,” McIlroy said.

The PGA of America CEO said in 2021 and 2022 that he thought members of LIV would be ineligible to compete in the Ryder Cup. Henrik Stenson even lost his captain position for the European team after he joined LIV. So for McIlroy to support Koepka being on the US team now is a big deal.

McIlroy hasn’t done a complete 180 regarding LIV golfers, but he is no longer taking the complete hard-line stance against them that he did last year.

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