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With the PGA Tour making a stop at Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial tournament this week, The Golden Bear spoke with the media ahead of the annual event. While much of the focus was on the PGA Tour, LIV Golf was also a topic of conversation.
Nicklaus, who helped make the PGA Tour what it is today, is both predictably and understandably against the emergence of a rival golf league. The 18-time major winner made it clear he doesn’t give the Saudi-backed circuit or its players much thought.
“I don’t even consider those guys part of the game anymore. I don’t mean that in a nasty way. This is a PGA Tour event and we have the best field we can possibly have for a PGA Tour event for those who are eligible to be here,” Nicklaus said. “The other guys made a choice of what they did and where they’ve gone and we don’t even talk about it.”
Jack Nicklaus Says LIV Golf Has Made The PGA Tour Better
Nicklaus also went on to explain that he doesn’t believe any players who defected to LIV should be allowed back onto the PGA Tour. While those two messages will please the powers that be at the Tour, his other admission, probably not so much.
“It’s just where they chose to play golf. And I look at what the PGA Tour is and who the members are, and they’ve actually spurred the PGA Tour to get better,” Nicklaus said.
The PGA Tour has made drastic changes over the last year including the addition of elevated events with much larger purses. The Tour is set to have some of its future elevated events be no-cut tournaments as well, which is LIV’s model, serving as guaranteed paydays for every player in the field.
The changes the Tour has implemented are a direct response to the threat of LIV Golf. It’s no secret that LIV has made the PGA Tour better for its top-end players, but Jack Nicklaus of all people to admit that ahead of his own event on Tour is noteworthy.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris