World number one Rory McIlroy believes it will be “unfortunate” if the Masters is not shown on terrestrial television.

    The first major championship of the year is just over two months away but, according to a report from The Telegraph, the BBC will not be renewing its deal to show highlights of Augusta National action.

    Asked during his press conference ahead of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic if it would be a shame for the tournament to lose its land presence, McIlroy said: “I mean, it is.

    “I think if you think nostalgically, yes you do, growing up watching the Masters and the Open on the BBC.

    “I just think the landscape of sports, media and entertainment has changed so much over the past 10 years that that’s not the model anymore, is it.

    “It’s either Sky in the UK or streaming services. And the rights to these sporting events have become so expensive that it is simply not possible for companies like the BBC to pay that kind of money.

    “Is it a pity? Yes, but I would say the majority of households in the UK have Sky and people can still watch.

    Approached for a response to the Telegraph story, a BBC spokesperson told the PA news agency: ‘We do not comment on sports rights negotiations.

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