PGA Tour players slam LIV Golfers as hypocrites as they sue to play more golf
- 11 LIV Golf players are suing the PGA Tour with hopes of regaining eligibility on the tour they left.
- PGA Tour players called out those working to get back into their events as hypocrites.
Over the past few months, LIV Golf has attracted some big names away from the PGA Tour with the promise of guaranteed paydays, bigger purses, and a lighter schedule.
Many of the players that made the jump from the PGA Tour to LIV highlighted the fact that they wished to spend less time playing golf and more time with their families as one of the major reasons they made the decision to move.
"I'm trying to provide for my family, which is the first and foremost thing that I want to do," Ian Poulter said ahead of LIV's first event in London. "I come to work to play golf and that is my job at the end of the day. I love it. I love playing golf. I love the opportunity that LIV gives us from a standpoint of playing slightly less golf which gives me the ability to be able to be fresher, ready to go."
"I'm just excited to kind of slow it down a little bit," said Pat Perez. "I've got two young kids and instead of being on the road for 33 to 35 weeks a year, I'm going to be home 38 weeks a year now."
On Wednesday 11 LIV Golf athletes, including Poulter and Perez, filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour.
"Plaintiffs have devoted the bulk of their professional careers to growing the PGA Tour," the lawsuit reads. "Yet the Tour has repaid them of late with suspensions, punishments, threats, and disparagement for merely playing professional golf for another promoter and embracing competition for their services."
While the antitrust aspect of the lawsuit could take years to suss out, three players — Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford, and Matt Jones — have also called for a "temporary restraining order" which would allow them to play in the upcoming FedExCup Playoffs.
All three players had previously qualified to take part in the playoffs, which offer the biggest potential winnings of any event on the PGA Tour calendar, but were removed from contention after their suspensions due to their move to join LIV.
In the suit, the players argue that Gooch, Swafford, and Jones could suffer "substantial and irreparable" harm if forced to miss the playoffs, as it could lead to missed opportunities to play in majors in the future.
Ahead of this week's PGA Tour event,the Wyndham Championship, players were rather dismissive of their former compatriots pleas for readmission.
"I think we're starting to see the truth come out," Stewart Cink said in an interview with Golf Today. "Playing less is not the reason players are joining another tour. Growing the game is not the reason players are going to join another tour. It's to get paid a lot. If you say you want to play less but then go to the length of filing a lawsuit to get access to more tournaments, then I think you're talking out of both sides of your mouth."
"Every one of them has said they want to play less golf and so now they're going to play more golf by playing the PGA Tour," said Billy Horschel. "They want to spend more time with their families? It just doesn't make sense to me."
Joel Dahman, another PGA Tour pro, fired some shots on Twitter.
—Joel Dahmen (@Joel_Dahmen) August 3, 2022
As the PGA Tour players point out, the argument that many LIV Golfers made about playing less is already falling apart, as many are now taking legal action in order to get themselves into more events.
The cracks in the argument show further as LIV's plans for the future begin to take shape. Next year, LIV is set to expand to a 14-event schedule.
In the announcement, LIV also said that they would be co-sponsoring a selection of events on the Asian Tour, and that LIV Golfers "are expected to compete in numerous International Series tournaments, bringing the world's top players to locations such as Thailand, England, Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East, Indonesia, China, Singapore, Hong Kong and new locations across the Americas and Europe."Further, according to current PGA Tour rules, players must compete in at least 15 events per year in order to retain their voting rights as a member. As Will Zalatoris points out, for the players hoping to compete on both LIV and PGA schedules, that ends up being a lot of golf.
"It's an interesting time because they're going to have to play their 14 events, and if they want to play over here, they're going to have to play 15," said Zalatoris. "So they're going to have to play 29 times, and their mantra that they come out with is we want to play less golf."
It's unclear what will come of both the antitrust case as a whole and the trio of players' request to re-enter the FedEx Cup Playoffs next week. A similar argument was used earlier in the year to allow several LIV players to compete in the Scottish Open, though this is the first time such a decision will be made in the United States.
Regardless of the outcome of the court's decision, the message from current PGA Tour pros is pretty clear: if you left, you left. Enjoy playing less golf.
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