Greensboro – US PGA Tour players are “fed up” and uniting for a fight against the upstart Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series, US Presidents Cup captain Davis Love III said Tuesday.
Love, who named Steve Stricker and Webb Simpson as his final assistant captains for next month’s team event against the Internationals, said he was shocked LIV Golf’s record rich purses lured away so many top PGA players.
“I told my own tournament, don’t worry about it, not going to happen. (Phil) Mickelson’s going down, but nobody else will jump ship,” Love said. “So I was wrong.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen from here on out, but I know it’s going to be a fight and the players are getting more and more unified against it.”
LIV Golf staged its third $25 million event last week in New Jersey with Sweden’s Henrik Stenson winning his debut after being axed as Europe’s 2023 Ryder Cup captain.
Others making the move include Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Louis Ooosthuizen and Mickelson.
Love said last week he could see players banding together and boycotting major events that allow LIV Golf players to compete.
As he prepared for this week’s PGA Wyndham Championship, Love said he only meant to remind PGA players of the power they have in a tough situation.
“Nobody saw the extent of LIV coming. It’s hard to not be reactionary to something when you’re blindsided,” Love said.
“If the LIV guys sue and are allowed to play on the PGA Tour, the players are enough fed up with it… we don’t want those guys come and cherrypicking our tournaments.
“We hold all the cards… We don’t want those guys playing, we don’t care what the courts say, our only option — really the nuclear option — is to say, well, fine, if they have to play in our events, we just won’t play.”
– ‘Turned backs on their friends’ –
Love said he could see a walkout happen.
“I think the undercurrent of guys are getting more and more fed up with it, that these guys are threatening our way of life, they’re trying to take money out of our pockets,” Love said.
“The majors have to make their own decisions… we support the rules and we need to stand up for them.”
Love said he has warned some players about the consequences of joining LIV Golf and been lied to by some.
“You can be Tiger Woods or you can be banned from the game, take your pick,” Love said was his advice. “They either understood it, some of them said it’s not going to happen, and some of them just flat out lied.
“You hear it, the talking points or the interviews, they’re spinning their decision because they know they’ve turned their backs on their friends and they’re taking the money and they know it’s not the right thing to do.
“It’s their decision and they can do that. They just can’t come back and play The Players Championship. That’s just not fair.”
Adding Stricker and Simpson means no assistant captaincy for Woods, the 15-time major champion and winning 2019 Presidents Cup player-captain battling to make a comeback from severe leg injuries in a 2021 car crash.
“He’s involved,” Love said. “Tiger has been a huge influence and a huge resource. He really has opened up and embraced that role.
“He couldn’t come last year and it would be challenging for him to come this year even… He’ll be involved. He just won’t be on the golf course.”