Rory McIlroy dines with rival and puts friction aside ahead of Scottish Open | Golf | Sport

Rory McIlroy joined his rival Tyrrell Hatton and a host of other golf stars for dinner in London ahead of this weekend’s Scottish Open. McIlroy, who is still reeling from last month’s painful US Open defeat, is among the early favourites to claim the spoils north of the border.

The Northern Irishman joined several of his Ryder Cup pals for drinks and dinner in London on Sunday evening. Hatton, who snubbed McIlroy by leaving TGL to sign with LIV Golf earlier this year, was among the players in attendance.

The two players were team-mates as Europe triumphed over the USA in last year’s Ryder Cup but there was friction between them when Hatton decided to join LIV. His choice meant that his contract with TGL, the interactive league founded by McIlroy and Tiger Woods, was invalidated.

Hatton was a member of the Boston Common Golf team headed by McIlroy before opting to sign a lucrative deal with LIV earlier this year. At the time, he explained that he spoke to McIlroy before putting pen to paper and insisted their conversation was amicable.

“I called Rory,” said Hatton. “The contract said you cannot play on TGL if you are on LIV. I told Rory I was joining LIV so that meant I was no longer playing TGL.”

McIlroy has been one of LIV’s most outspoken critics in recent years but has softened his stance on the topic, admitting in February that rebel players should be allowed to return to the PGA Tour without the risk of being punished.

“I think it’s hard to punish people,” he said. “I don’t think there should be a punishment [for returning]. Obviously, I’ve changed my tune on that, because I see where golf is and I see that having a diminished PGA Tour and having a diminished LIV Tour or anything else is bad for both parties.”

There were no signs of friction between McIlroy and Hatton on Sunday night, with the pair appearing to enjoy themselves over a couple of drinks and a meal. Hatton, Lowry, Fleetwood and Donald were then spotted in the royal box at Wimbledon on Monday.

McIlroy will be desperate to return to winning ways in Scotland after throwing away a two-shot lead in a painful choke at the US Open. He has not played any competitive golf since but will have high hopes of redeeming himself this weekend.

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