Davis Love III: ‘fed up’ PGA players up for LIV fight
PGA Tour players are “fed up” and ready to fight LIV Golf defectors if they aim to “cherry-pick” events to play, says Davis Love III.
Davis Love III told LIV Golf defectors “you can be Tiger Woods or you can be banned from the game” and can foresee a situation where “fed up” players boycott the big PGA Tour events to protect their interests.
Golf is engulfed in a war between those remaining loyal to the sport’s flagship tour and those who have opted for the riches of the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Series.
Last week saw the third LIV event held in New Jersey, which was won by Henrik Stenson after he had been stripped of Europe’s Ryder Cup captaincy over his decision to sign up.
Woods turns down big bucks
Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Sergio Garcia are among the notable names to have also jumped ship, while Tiger Woods is said to have turned down $800million to remain loyal to the PGA Tour.
Love III, this year’s US Presidents Cup captain and a two-time Ryder Cup skipper, said earlier this week players could look to boycott the majors if LIV players are continued to allow to play.
He sought to clarify those comments at a news conference and warned LIV players there should be consequences for their decisions.
He said: “I told the players that I’ve talked to that have gone or thinking about going, ‘it’s your decision, you know, and you do what’s right for you, but understand consequences’.
“I tried to sound like my dad and I probably wasn’t very good at it. I didn’t argue. I said, ‘look, you can do this or you can do this. You can be Tiger Woods or you can be banned from the game, take your pick. But understanding the consequences, you signed up for these rules’.
“And I keep using it kind of as a joke, but I’m wearing shorts today, but I can’t wear shorts on Thursday, that’s a rule. I had to commit by last Friday or I don’t get to play this week. I have to play 15 tournaments or I don’t get to vote and I don’t get my retirement money. You have rules that you have to adhere to.
“Jay [Monahan] has been saying it for a year and they either understood it, some of them understood that, some of them said it’s not going to happen, and some of them just flat out lied, I’m not doing this, I’m not doing that.
“And 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 know they’re taking the money and they know it’s not the right thing to do.
“But it is their decision and they can do that, they just can’t come back and play The Players Championship. That’s just not fair. If I grind it out, make the 125 and get in The Players Championship, I don’t want those guys, that being the only PGA Tour event they play that year, that’s not right.”
Love III, the 1997 US PGA Championship victor, concedes he is surprised by the number of players turning their backs on the Tour.
He also suggested how PGA regulars may respond if LIV players attempt to take their ambition to play on both tours to the courts.
“Nobody saw the extent of LIV coming. It’s hard to not be reactionary to something that when you’re blindsided, you are being reactionary,” he added.
“I told Jay a year ago, and you can ask him, I said, ‘don’t worry about it, it’s not going to happen’. I was completely dead wrong. Six months ago I told my own tournament, ‘oh, don’t worry about it, not going to happen. Mickelson’s going down, but nobody else will jump ship’.
“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.
“Now, some guys said that they don’t like the new schedule and some guys don’t like the old schedule. I might not like the fall schedule right now, but it’s going to work out because I’m on board with whatever the Tour wants to do.
“It will work out because I know the staff doesn’t work for Jay exclusively, they work for the players and so does Jay.
“The whole situation is unfortunate. I didn’t try to single out the U.S. Open as the players striking or threatening not to play. I was saying that if the LIV guys sue and are allowed to play on the PGA Tour, that the players are enough fed up with it, we understand that we make the rules on the PGA Tour and the commissioner’s enforcing our rules and we don’t want those guys playing, come and cherry-picking our tournaments, that we hold all the cards, not Jay or not Seth Waugh or Mike Whan.
“They don’t hold all the cards, we hold all the cards. If we say to the FTC and to Washington, no, we support the rules, 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. I think the Tour players, the Max Homas and Rory McIlroys have done a good job.
“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 and cherry-pick our best tournaments. The majors have to make their own decisions. I loved what Martin Slumbers said, I think they’re all going in the right direction, but the PGA Tour players, we support the PGA Tour and we support the rules and we need to stand up for them.”