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McIlroy draws comparison between golf’s split and Northern Irish peace process

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RORY McILROY feels that healing the rift between golf’s establishment and the LIV Tour rebels is almost the sporting equivalent of the Northern Irish Peace Process.

Ulsterman McIlroy has been keen to attempt to broker a deal between golf’s warring factions, despite criticism from US stars Patrick Cantlay and Jordan Spieth.

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Northern Ireland leaders Gerry Adams, John Hume and David Trimble meeting US President Bill Clinton at the White House in 2000Credit: AFP
McIlroy in action during the Pro Am event at Quail Hollow Country Club, North Carolina on May 9

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McIlroy in action during the Pro Am event at Quail Hollow Country Club, North Carolina on May 9Credit: Getty

While McIlroy was one of the foremost critics of Saudi-backed LIV and its deserters, he has taken a more positive line recently.

But he drew parallels with the issues that bedevilled the North as peace loomed after The Troubles in the 1990s to admit a pact will not be easy.

McIlroy said: “We’ve got this window of opportunity to do it.

“I wouldn’t say both sides need to get it done but it makes sense.

“I sort of liken it to when Northern Ireland went through the Peace Process and the Good Friday Agreement.

“Neither side was happy. Catholics weren’t happy, Protestants weren’t happy but it brought peace.

“That was in 1998. Now my generation doesn’t know any different and we’ve never known anything but peace.

“It’s my little way of trying to think about it and trying to make both sides see that there could be a compromise here.”

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McIlroy, though, will not return to the PGA Tour policy board to avoid reopening “old wounds”.

The Holywood man had been suggested as a replacement for Webb Simpson but admitted a “subset” of PGA Tour members opposed his return.

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He added: “It got pretty complicated and pretty messy.

“The way it happened opened up some old wounds and scar tissue from things that have happened before.

“There was a subset of people on the board that were maybe uncomfortable with me coming back on for some reason.

“The best course of action is Webb just stays on and sees out his term.

“He’s comfortable with doing that and I just sort of keep doing what I’m doing.”

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