PGA Tour vs LIV in Full View as Players Prep For U.S. Open

The USGA has allowed any of the LIV players who qualified by their standards to play in the U.S. Open this week in Boston. 

In the same week, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announced that anyone who joined the Saudi-backed LIV tour would be immediately suspended from the PGA Tour. 

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All of this drama has hung over the early press conferences this week at The Country Club in Brookline, MA.  There was passion on both sides of the argument, but Brooks Koepka expressed frustration at the direction of the conversation. 

Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka of the United States smiles on the eighth tee during a practice round prior to the 2022 U.S. Open at The Country Club on June 13, 2022, in Brookline, Massachusetts.

“I don’t understand. I’m trying to focus on the U.S. Open, man. I legitimately don’t get it. I’m tired of the conversations. I’m tired of all this stuff,” he said. “Like I said, y’all are throwing a black cloud on the U.S. Open. I think that sucks. I actually do feel bad for them for once because it’s a sh*ty situation. We’re here to play, and you are talking about an event that happened last week.”

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Brooks is right, this is our country’s national championship of golf. Unfortunately, the news media has meat on a bone and is going to ride this for a long time. 

Rory McIlroy has become the voice of the players staying on the PGA Tour at this point. He has taken an interesting and compelling take on a golfer’s decision to take the Saudi money over playing against the best golfers in the world in the most prestigious events:

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays his shot from the tenth tee during a practice round prior to the US Open at The Country Club on June 14, 2022, in Brookline, Massachusetts.

“A lot of these guys are in their late 40s or in Phil [Mickelson’s] case, early 50s, and yeah, I think everyone in this room and they would say to you, themselves, that their best days are behind them,” McIlroy said. “And that’s why I don’t understand for the guys that are a similar age to me going, because I would like to believe that my best days are still ahead of me and I think theirs are, too. So that’s where it feels like you’re taking the easy way out.”

Last week, Rory won the Canadian Open on the PGA Tour,  In the post-event presser, he bashed the LIV tournament that was played in London at the same time:

“Those crowds on Sunday in Canada, LIV is never going to have that. It’s never going to have that sense of, I don’t know what the word is… but last week meant something. What they are doing over there doesn’t really mean anything apart from just collecting a ton of money.”

Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas are ranked No. 2 and No. 5 in the world, respectively.  Both are adamant on staying in the PGA Tour. 

Jon Rahm
Jon Rahm of Spain speaks to the media at a press conference during a practice round prior to the US Open at The Country Club on June 14, 2022, in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Rahm this week said:

“Shotgun [start], three days to me is not a golf tournament. No cut,” Rahm said. “It’s that simple. I want to play against the best in the world in a format that’s been going on for hundreds of years, right? So that’s what I want to see. I’ve never really played the game of golf for monetary reasons,” he said. “I play for the love of the game, and I want to play against the best in the world. I’ve always been interested in history and legacy, and right now the PGA Tour has that.”

Justin Thomas
Justin Thomas of the United States plays a second shot on the 12th hole during a practice round prior to the 122nd U.S. Open Championship at The Country Club on June 15, 2022, in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Thomas added:

“I tossed and turned and lost a lot of sleep last week thinking about what could potentially happen,” Thomas told the media on Tuesday. “I grew up my entire life wanting to play the PGA Tour, wanting to break records, make history, play Presidents Cups, play Ryder Cups. “The fact that things like that could potentially get hurt because of some of the people that are leaving, and if more go, it’s just sad. It’s really no other way to say it. It just makes me sad, because like I said, I’ve grown up my entire life wanting to do that, and I don’t want to do anything else.”

The dividing line is clear.  The best players in the world are staying and playing in the PGA Tour in the tournaments they grew up wanting to win. 

CHARL SCHWARTZEL IS THE FIRST LIV INVITATIONAL WINNER; TAKES HOME RECORD $4.75M

The LIV players are taking the Saudi money and playing in brand new tournaments in strange formats for wads of cash. 

Beside the huge signing bonuses that are being signed, the first tournament had a total purse of $25 million dollars. The winner, Charl Schwartzel, of the 3 round tournament won $4.75 million dollars for winning the individual and team event. 

Phil Mickelson finished at 10 over par in 33rd place. He made $150,000. 

The question is how many more converts LIV gets. Right now, these are the biggest names in LIV with World Golf Rankings next to their names are:

  • Dustin Johnson (16)
  • Bryson Dechambeau (29)
  • Taylor Gooch (36)
  • Patrick Reed (38)
  • Sergio Garcia (55)

Right now, the LIV events carry no points towards the world golf rankings, so these players rankings will drop quickly.

The headlines will follow the money, but I am a sports fan, I am going to follow the best competition. LIV is making headlines and throwing oil money around like candy at an Easter egg hunt. I will watch the best play their sport, and right now, that is on the PGA Tour. 

I can’t wait to see the Boston fans reception for the LIV players this week, it should be fun. 

Written by Bill Graff

Lifelong fan of all things sports and of common sense. I watch a lot of sports, just ask my wife. Go Terps. I've got soul, but I'm not a soldier.

One Comment

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  1. I’ll watch LIV once it gets on a network. What LIV needs to do is put a tournament in Boston every year since the PGA can’t seem to…. and they should do it on every other major city that doesn’t have one. Like Miami for instance at Doral.

    And just wait until the suspended PGA Tour players sue. And they will. And courts will agree with them. The courts don’t take kindly to suppression of free trade.

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