(Bloomberg) -- Rory McIlroy, the world’s No. 3-ranked professional golfer, said the proposed partnership between the PGA Tour and Saudi-backed LIV Golf will be good for the sport over the long run.

“Ultimately when I look at the bigger picture, 10 years down the line, this is going to be good for the game of professional golf,” McIlroy said Wednesday, according to the Irish Mirror. 

At the same time, the star said of the deal, “It’s not LIV. I still hate LIV, I hate them. I hope it goes away and I fully expect that it does. That’s where the distinction is.”

McIlroy spoke at a press conference in Toronto, where he’s preparing to defend his title in the RBC Canadian Open this weekend. He is one of five players on the PGA Tour’s policy board.

Corey Conners, a Canadian golfer from Ontario, said the timing of the merger was unfortunate for this week’s event as well as the title sponsor, Royal Bank of Canada.

“I definitely feel for RBC, I think it’s unfortunate timing,” Conners said at the Oakdale Golf & Country Club, adding that he and other players were caught off-guard by news of the deal. “People don’t like being surprised by things.”

RBC didn’t return requests for comment.

(Updates with Conners beginning in fifth paragraph.)

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