Rory McIlroy completely understands the criticisms that are being thrown at Jay Monahan in the days after the PGA Tour commissioner ushered in a landmark deal merging the Tour with DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which financially backs LIV Golf.

Monahan, after all, spent much of the last year defending the Tour against LIV while using morality and human rights as strikes against the Saudi Arabian-backed series. “Have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?” Monahan famously questioned while speaking on live TV about the league that, well at least at the time, divided the game.

Following the agreement which players reportedly had no knowledge know, golf fans now can’t help but think Monahan spoke out of both sides of his mouth.

“Of course,” McIlroy responded Wednesday when asked if he understood the frustrations both from players and fans alike, per the PGA Tour.

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He referred to himself as a “sacrificial lamb” during the same press conference at Oakdale Golf and Country Club.

“I said it to Jay (on Tuesday), ‘You’ve galvanized everyone against something, and that thing you galvanized everyone against, you’ve now partnered with,'” McIlroy said. “So, yeah, of course I understand. It is hypocritical. It sounds hypocritical.”

Those are the sentiments that Monahan has heard since the merger was announced Tuesday. And while players reportedly shouted at Monahan and asked for his resignation during a PGA Tour players-only meeting Tuesday afternoon, perhaps the most notable criticisms came from the families of 9/11 victims. The 9/11 Families United, a community of family members who lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, blasted Monahan in a statement. They said they were “shocked” and “deeply offended” especially given the fact Monahan used that group in his defense against LIV.

McIlroy acknowledged how he understands the frustrations, but also expressed how he feels like the game is in a better place after the merger. McIlroy stressed how the Tour agreed to merge with DP World Tour and PIF, not LIV. He said he still has hatred for LIV.

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“The one thing I would say is, again whether you like it or not, the PIF and the Saudis want to spend in the game of golf,” McIlroy said. “They want to do this and they weren’t going to stop. The thing for me, and this is the one thing I’ve always thought about, how can we get that money into the game, but use it the right way? And I think that’s what this ultimately will do. Hopefully. That’s my hope.”

Featured image via Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports Images