Over the past two years in professional golf, a reliable pattern has emerged that can be summed up as follows: When rumours start to swirl that a PGA Tour player is on the verge of signing with LIV Golf, that player often signs with LIV Golf. It’s not 100 percent, but it was true of Brook Koepka, Cameron Smith, Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton, and a handful of others.

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So when the London financial paper City AM reported that two separate sources told them that LIV was close to signing Rory McIlroy for $850 million and 2 percent equity, fans could be forgiven for thinking there was fire behind the smoke.

On Tuesday at the RBC Heritage, though, McIlroy seemingly put an end to those rumours in the clearest possible terms.

“I will play the PGA Tour for the rest of my career,” he told Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis, leaving no room for interpretation.

Here’s a video clip of the interview:

“I honestly don’t know how these things get started,” he said. “I’ve never been offered a number from LIV, and I’ve never contemplated going to LIV. Again, I think I’ve made it clear over the last two years that I don’t think it’s something for me … my future is here on the PGA Tour and it’s never been any different.”

Earlier on Tuesday, McIlroy’s manager Sean O’Flaherty called the reports of a deal “fake news” with “zero truth” in an email to the Irish Independent, but it wasn’t exactly clear what part of the report he was referring to, leaving at least a sliver of doubt.

McIlroy’s statement, by contrast, seemingly shuts the door entirely.

“It’s never even been a conversation for us,” he said. “It’s one of those things. It’s unfortunate that we have to deal with it, and this is the state that our game’s in.”

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McIlroy said he doesn’t know the origin of the rumours, and was careful to note that he didn’t judge anyone who had previously gone to LIV, or might in the future. His stance on LIV Golf has evolved and softened over the past three years, particularly in the months since Rahm’s departure from the PGA Tour to LIV.

McIlroy is no longer the de facto player spokesperson for the PGA Tour that he once was, and in February his former manager Chubby Chandler hinted that perhaps this softening was a prelude to signing with LIV. Today, McIlroy seems to have closed off that possibility for good.