As the world turns… the soap opera continues.
The split between golfers now with LIV Golf and the PGA Tour has been anything but amicable, but those prominent figures in the sport who left feel it didn’t have to be this way.
During media sessions ahead of the first LIV Golf event in the U.S., several LIV golfers have expressed frustrations at how the PGA Tour and other major golf tours have reacted to the emergence of LIV Golf. Additionally, they explained how they believe the PGA Tour’s own issues led to many golfers feeling like they needed a change.
“We should be able to do whatever we want,” Pat Perez, one of LIV Golf’s newest members, said Tuesday, visibly frustrated.
We’re independent contractors. The Tour has tried to strong arm us all year and come with bans and suspensions and all that. How’d that work? Look at how many guys are here. It didn’t work at all.
On Wednesday, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer all cited a similar issue of the PGA Tour’s: lack of communication.
Westwood said he had been a member of the European Tour and PGA Tour simultaneously for years and never had any problems with splitting his time between multiple tours until now.
“Now it seems to be a problem,” Westwood said. “Communication, and as far as fines and sanctions and things like that, I’m disappointed.”
Garcia said he had been faithful to both the PGA and European tours for 24 years, and he felt he was disappointed by how they turned around on him.
“At the end of the day, we’re doing what we think is best for the game, for ourselves, for our families and you know that’s our decision,” Garcia said.
Kaymer said he wished the tours had come to the table “as adults” that would work for not only the tours, but the players.
“That would have been a better approach in my eyes,” Kaymer said. “We are where we are at the moment and I think in this day and age where we live, there should always be a door open, or at least that’s how I grew up. The door should be always open and you listen to people. You can say no, but listening never hurts.”
The lack of communication was also a point highlighted by Perez and Patrick Reed the previous day, with Perez saying the players “don’t have a say in anything” on the PGA Tour.
Reed was asked what the tour could have done to prevent his move to LIV Golf, to which he responded: “Listen to the players, for once.”
The frustration expressed by the golfers comes just as thewith the DP World Tour that will create a better pathway to the Tour, while increasing the prize money available in European tournaments.
The PGA Tour said it is increasing ownership stake in the European Tour Productions from 15 to 40 percent, and said prize money will increase each year during the next five years.
“Seeing how miraculously the purses all the sudden went skyrocketing back up on the PGA Tour, it just shows that they obviously believe that this is not only a true threat, but a great tour, as well, if they’re going and copying what we’re doing,” Patrick Reed said.
I believe this is going to be a tour that’s going to be around forever.
How could the PGA Tour have prevented the mess that’s on their hands now?
“I’d like to see more transparency with what this strategic alliance is all about,” Westwood said. “People have been talking about it, but we haven’t had too many details so far of what it means to the European Tour. If I was a European Tour member, sat there, looking at all the facts and not being emotional about it, just dealing with the facts, I right now wouldn’t be feeling too confident that it’s going to enhance my playing opportunities or earning opportunities.”
As LIV Golf is set to tee off Thursday from Portland, OR, some wonder if there will ever be some sort of resolution or reconciliation between all sides, or whether one side will bend.
“My hope, at the end, is that it’s all going to come together,” Perez said. “I think that’s what the Greg Norman, LIV Group wanted in the first place. The [PGA] Tour didn’t want to go that route.”
“I think, in the end, they may have to.”