Rory McIlroy reject the Saudi-backed tour’s advances earlier this year (Picture: Getty)

Rory McIlroy has questioned the quality of the field at the LIV Golf Invitational’s opening event, saying it is ‘nothing to jump up and down about’.

On Wednesday, it was announced that the likes of Dustin Johnson, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter have all signed up to play in a 42-man field at the Centurion Club in Hertfordshire next week.

LIV Golf’s inaugural tournament, which takes place from 9-11 June, is set to boast a purse of nearly £20million, with £3m on offer for the winner, making it the richest prize in golf.

Earlier this year, McIlroy rejected the chance to sign up to the Saudi-backed breakaway tour, citing moral reasons. Some months on, he is still doubtful of the series’ long-term success.

Speaking ahead of the Memorial Tournament, he said via Sky Sports: ‘I certainly don’t think the field is anything to jump up and down about. Look at the field this week (at the Memorial Tournament). Look at the field next week in Canada. They are proper golf tournaments.

Lee Westwood is part of the 42-man field to feature at the Centurion Club next week (Picture: Getty)

‘I have some very close friends that are playing in this event and I certainly wouldn’t want to stand in their way for them to do what they feel is right for themselves.

‘It’s certainly not something I would do personally. But I certainly understand why some of the guys have gone.’

Dustin Johnson claims he joined LIV Golf as it is in his ‘family’s interest’ (Picture: Getty)

LIV Golf’s first event in St Albans will take place at the same time as the Canadian Open on the PGA Tour.

The PGA Tour have previously warned of lifetime bans for players who feature on the rebel tour.

LIV Golf have seven other tournaments scheduled for this year across the United States and Asia.

Most players who have joined the breakaway series are in the twilight of their careers and McIlroy believes the prospect of more money for less work is what’s luring them.

More: Rory McIlroy

He added: ‘When I turned pro, I was playing for money. All I wanted to do was get my tour card and make a living playing golf. You need a job and you need to make money to buy yourself a house.

‘Some guys are in a position where they are not guaranteed a job next year. It’s hard to stay in the top 125, especially when you’re in your 40s and maybe don’t hit the ball as far as you’ve used to. As we’ve seen, it’s a young man’s game nowadays.

‘So if another entity comes along and says, “we’ll guarantee you this amount for three years”, plus you’re playing for a ton more prize money, you’re playing fewer events and you can spend more time with your family it’s very appealing to some of those guys that are in that position.’

MORE : Dustin Johnson’s agent explains golfer’s shock decision to join rebel Saudi tour

MORE : ‘It would damage the game hugely’ – Tom Watson criticises the Saudi-backed Super Golf League

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