Golf News

PGA Tour players shouldn’t be making decisions on LIV Golfers

Jay Monahan’s memo aims to buy 2 things he’s short on: time, goodwill

Only in politics and professional golf can one hear an arsonist share his impassioned vision for the rebuild he rendered necessary. So it was Monday when player-directors on the PGA Tour’s board met Yasir Al-Rumayyan, who as head of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has single-handedly financed the ravaging of the sport. A day later, two golfers on either side of the schism he created indicated how they’re reconciled (or not) to the consequences of their decisions.

Jon Rahm, one of Al-Rumayyan’s more expensive firestarters, offered a positive pitch for the Tour he left. “It was fun to watch, and what a finish. Jesus Christ, that was one that was fun to watch,” he said of the Players Championship, before admitting he has watched other tournaments that he’s no longer eligible to play, three of which he won last season. “It’s gut-wrenching to watch, but it made for great TV, and it was really fun.”

Picture the reigning Masters champion watching the action from home, then juxtapose that with the widely-circulated image of him playing a LIV event in Jeddah with not a spectator in sight. Asked about a subsequent LIV stop in Hong Kong, Rahm praised the people and the food. He is a competitor reduced to a concierge. His brave face notwithstanding, there was a poignant note in his comments about moving to LIV Golf. “It’s done. It’s past. It’s a decision I made, and I’m comfortable with it,” he said. “But I’m hoping I can come back.”

Rahm gives the impression of someone convinced he was going to be a one-man catalyst, that his departure would be a shock so seismic that every faction in golf would hasten toward reunification. By now, he must realize that a path back to the PGA Tour is not yet paved and that, bar four weeks a year, he will be competing before sparse galleries for the foreseeable.

His words struck a dissonant chord against those of Xander Schauffele, a leading man in the Players drama Rahm enjoyed from his couch. ”I’m very content with where I sit right now,” Schauffele said. “I don’t have any regrets of what I’ve done or what I’m doing, so I’m sleeping just fine at night knowing where I stand.”

Their respective comments illustrate the only constant in recent years: golfers making decisions based wholly on self-interest and where they are in their careers, not for any more noble motive, and certainly not for the well-being of the tours from which they earned a stout living. As competitors,…


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