Rory McIlroy believes golf's shock merger will be good for the sport ©Getty Images

Rory McIlroy believes that the shock merger of the PGA Tour and DP World Tour with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) will ultimately be "good for golf".

The surprise deal was announced yesterday to end the civil war in the sport which was caused by the launch of LIV Golf, funded by the PIF.

Legal proceedings between the competing tours will now end and they will now become one joint enterprise.

Northern Ireland's McIlroy, a four-time major winner, had fiercely defended the PGA Tour as numerous other stars defected to LIV Golf to collect the huge pay packets on offer.

He was reportedly offered $300 million (£240 million/€280 million) to join the Saudi-backed circuit but now faces playing under the PIF umbrella anyway after turning down the money.

"In 10 years this is going to be good for pro golf," the 34-year-old said about the deal today.

"It unifies it and secures its financial future. 

"But there are mixed emotions in there as well.

"It's hard for me to not feel somewhat like a sacrificial lamb, feeling like I've put myself out there and this is what happens.

"Removing myself from the situation, I see how this is better for the game of golf, there's no denying it."

PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan has faced allegations of hypocrisy  ©Getty Images
PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan has faced allegations of hypocrisy ©Getty Images

The new company is set to see PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan act as chief executive and PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan sit as chairman.

Monahan, who said the deal had been in the works for seven weeks, has been branded a hypocrite after he spent months criticising LIV Golf before performing a dramatic U-turn.

He reportedly faced calls to resign during a heated players meeting which was held after news of the merger broke.

"All I've wanted to do is protect the aspirational nature of the PGA Tour," said McIlroy.

"This company sits above everything. 

"Anyone involved with LIV now answers to Jay.

"Whether you like it or not, the PIF is going to keep spending money in golf. 

"Now the PGA Tour is going to control how that money is spent.

"Would you rather have one of the biggest sovereign wealth funds as a partner or an enemy? 

"At the end of the day, money talks, and you'd rather have them as a partner."

McIlroy said that he hopes LIV Golf will now disappear, although the circuit's 2023 schedule will continue as planned.

LIV golfers who were suspended by the PGA and DP World Tour will be able to re-apply for membership from the end of the 2023 season.

"I've dealt with Jay a lot closer than a lot of those guys have and from where we were a couple of weeks ago to where we are today, I think the future of the PGA Tour looks brighter as a whole," said McIlroy.

"What that looks like for individual players in keeping a Tour card, bringing players back into the fold, that's where the anger comes from.

"I understand that and there still has to be consequences to actions. 

Players took huge pay packets to defect to LIV Golf ©Getty Images
Players took huge pay packets to defect to LIV Golf ©Getty Images

"The people that left the PGA Tour irreparably harmed this Tour, started litigation against it.

"We can't just welcome them back in. 

"That's not going to happen."

Saudi Arabia has frequently been accused of "sportswashing" to distract from the country's dreadful human rights record.

Monahan previously referenced the September 11 terrorist attacks - when 15 of the 19 plane hijackers were from Saudi Arabia - when criticising players for leaving for LIV Golf.

A group representing victims' families now said he should be "ashamed" of his "hypocrisy and greed". 

"I told Jay, 'you've galvanised everyone against something and now you've partnered it', McIlroy added. 

"Of course I can see how that looks hypocritical.

"The PIF and the Saudis want to spend money in the game of golf and they are not going to stop.

"How can we get that money into the game but use it in the right way? 

"Hopefully this is the way of doing it." 

Major champions who are part of the LIV ranks include Cameron Smith, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed and Sergio Garcia.

Tiger Woods was a big name who, along with McIlroy, refused to switch over.