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Rory McIlroy continues harsh criticism of LIV Golf Series at Travelers Championship

The 33-year-old also said he is happy to be back in Connecticut.

CROMWELL, Conn. — Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy did not hold back in his criticism of PGA Tour players who’ve joined rival LIV Gold Invitational Series, calling some of them “duplicitous.”

McIlroy spoke to reporters ahead of the Travelers Championship just hours after news broke that Brooks Koepka had withdrawn from the tournament amid reports he was joining the Saudi Arabia-funded league.

“Am I surprised? Yes, because of what he said previously," McIlroy said. "I think that's why I'm surprised at a lot of these guys -- because they say one thing and then they do another ... I don't understand that, and I don't know if that's for legal reasons or if they can't -- I have no idea. But it's pretty duplicitous on their part to say one thing and then do another thing."

RELATED: Fan guide to the 2022 Travelers Championship

On Tuesday, Koepka withdrew from the tournament after he became the latest PGA Tour player to join the LIV Series. He is expected to compete in his first event in the United States next week in Portland, Oregon.

Koepka was the second player, behind McIlroy, to speak out against a rival league in March 2020 when he told The AP, “I have a hard time believing golf should be about just 48 players.”

“Money isn't going to change my life,” Koepka said at the time.

The proposed rival league was different from LIV Golf, presented as the “Premier Golf League” though still relying on Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund. Greg Norman and LIV Golf took the idea of 48-man fields, no cuts with a team component.

LIV Golf has not announced Koepka's signing amid speculation that a few others were soon to join.

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The development came as the PGA Tour held a player meeting at the Travelers Championship, during which Commissioner Jay Monahan spoke of the tour's position and plans to reshape the season and its tournaments.

According to two players in the meeting, the PGA Tour plans to return to a calendar season that would start in January, and only the top 70 players would be eligible for the FedEx Cup playoffs. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was for players.

LIV Golf was expected to announce as many as four new players this week. There was endless speculation during the U.S. Open involving more than a dozen names, some of whom have expressed no interest in going.

RELATED: Fan Zone open for spectators at Travelers Championship for first time in years

Koepka chastised the media at The Country Club last week for questions about the Saudi-funded league.

“I’m here at the U.S. Open. I’m ready to play U.S. Open, and I think it kind of sucks, too, you are all throwing this black cloud over the U.S. Open," he said. "I don’t know why you guys keep doing that. The more legs you give it, the more you keep talking about it.”

McIlroy on being back in Connecticut

This week’s tournament marks McIlroy’s return to the Nutmeg State after skipping last year’s tournament. This is his fourth appearance at TPC River Highlands.

“It’s a great event. I think we have a really strong field this week. We have the top two players in the world and a bunch of other guys in the top 10,” he said. “[Travelers] has produced a lot of dramatic finishes over the years. It’s a golf course that can produce a lot of drama and it’s a great field. It’ll be a good week.”

McIlroy has improved his finish each time he has played the Travelers Championship: He was T17 in 2017, T12 in 2018 and T11 in 2020.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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