A stunning revelation emerges over Rory McIlroy joining LIV in $1.3bn backflip for the age

Golf superstar Rory McIlroy has been linked with a bombshell $850m USD ($A1.32bn) deal to join LIV Golf in what would be one of the most stunning defections to the rival tour.

LIV figurehead Greg Norman was in attendance – as a patron – at the Masters on the weekend, sparking rumours that he was seeking to poach players for the Saudi-backed tour.

Norman was seen following McIlroy’s playing group around the Augusta National course in the first round – though McIlroy claimed he had not seen him.

But the rumours have gone to a new level with multiple reports that the four-time major winner is considering a potential move to join LIV.

McIlroy has been one of the fiercest critics of the challenger tour, firmly backing the PGA Tour and hitting out at defectors. But his stance has noticeably softened in recent months amid ongoing negotiations between the two organisations over a deal to reunite the golfing world, something that McIlroy stated left him feeling like a “sacrificial lamb”

He said in January: “I think what LIV has done, it’s exposed the flaws in the system of what golf has … we’re all supposed to be independent contractors and we can pick and choose what tournaments we want to play.

“But I think what LIV and the Saudis have exposed is that you’re asking for millions of dollars to sponsor these events, and you’re not able to guarantee to the sponsors that the players are going to show up.

“I can’t believe the PGA Tour has done so well for so long,” McIlroy said.

Now, however, McIlroy could be set to pull a drastic backflip and follow the likes of 2023 Masters winner and McIlroy’s former Ryder Cup teammate Jon Rahm to the Saudi competition.

Given McIlroy’s star power and his staunch opposition to LIV in the past, his signing would be the biggest in LIV history.

English outlet City. A.M. claimed the deal would be worth $850m USD ($A1.32bn) as well as McIlroy receiving an approximate two per cent stake in LIV.

The site wrote: “Two separate sources have told City A.M. that they believe a deal is close.”

McIlroy finished in a tie for 22nd at the Masters.Source: Getty Images

Neither McIlroy nor LIV Golf have released statements on the matter despite media requests.

McIlroy is scheduled to compete at the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage tournament this weekend, while the LIV Tour is midway through the current season – making joining a team potentially tricky.

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