LIV and PGA Tour golfers converge this week at BMW PGA Championship – The Washington Post

LIV and PGA Tour golfers converge this week at BMW PGA Championship - The Washington Post

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Players of the LIV Golf Invitational Series hasn’t played on the same course with his PGA and European Tour counterparts since July’s British Open, which was won by golfer – Cameron Smith – who has since then left the PGA Tour for LIV. Since the final major of the year, the saber-rattling between the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour (its European equivalent) and LIV has only become more pronounced, with LIV golfers and the league itself. to sue the PGA Tour for anti-competitive reasons and the PGA Tour inauguration a bunch of new features – most of them focused on paying their players more money – to counter the LIV threat.

But this week, 18 LIV golfers are in the field for the DP World Tour’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club in England. Yes, it will be awkward.

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Rory McIlroy, who was a PGA Tour champion both on and off the course this season winning the season-long FedEx Cup and becoming the tour’s most prominent anti-LIV voice, will play in the tournament alongside other PGA Tour players such as Jon Rahm, Matt Fitzpatrick, Viktor Hovland, Justin Rose and Adam Scott. He didn’t seem all that thrilled about playing alongside the defectors when asked about it after winning the season-ending Tour Championship last month.

“I hate what it’s doing to the game of golf. I hate it. I really do,” McIlroy said. “Like, it’s going to be hard for me to stomach going to Wentworth in a few weeks and seeing 18 of them there. I just don’t like that.”

McIlroy was even blunter Wednesday, taking a shot at the LIV tournaments, which require golfers to play one fewer round than most events on the PGA or DP World tours.

Defending BMW PGA champion Billy Horschel also rallied, questioning why the LIV golfers were in England this week given how many of them said the shorter schedule of the Saudi-funded tour would allow them to spend more time at home.

“I don’t think those guys should really be here. … The Abraham Ancer, the Talor Gooch, the Jason Kokraks: You have never played this tournament. You never supported the DP World Tour. Why are you here?” Horschel told reporters Tuesday, although Kokrak is not among the LIV players in this week’s field. “You’re only here for one reason and that’s to try and get world ranking points because you don’t have it.

“It’s pretty hypocritical to come here and play outside of LIV when your main thing was to spend more time with family and want to play less golf.”

But Gooch took to Twitter on Tuesday night to remind Horschel that Horschel hasn’t really played in too many DP World Tour events that weren’t majors or World Golf Championship tournaments either:

Fellow LIV golfer Sergio Garcia said he doesn’t really care if his presence and that of his LIV contemporaries bothers anyone.

“I’m sure some guys will be tight about it [because] we’ll go out there and play; what I will do is support the European tour and that’s all I can do. Who doesn’t like it, too bad for them,” Garcia told Golf Digest during this past weekend’s LIV event outside of Boston.

One LIV golfer, Martin Kaymer, decided to skip the BMW PGA Championship because of all the awkwardness.

“Of course, there will be friction. That’s why I won’t go,” Kaymer said Golf Digest last week “I don’t need to go to a place where, mind you, you’re not so welcome. They don’t say it, but [it’s there].”

The PGA Tour banned golfers who played in LIV tournaments, but those golfers are allowed to play on the DP World Tour after an English arbitration judge ruled that the European tour could not punish the LIV golfers until the matter received a full legal review. That won’t happen until Februaryand the LIV players are free to play in the DP World Tour at least until then.

In a note sent to players last week this was obtained of the Gulf CanalDP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley addressed the “strong opposition” to the LIV golfers who will be playing at Wentworth and asked that they not wear any clothing that has LIV logos.

“They won’t get an on-course competitive disadvantage — ie, unfavorable tee times — but they won’t have to play in the pro-am on Wednesday and won’t be in televised feature groups,” Pelley wrote in the memo.

The BMW PGA Championship – which is considered one of the European tour’s premier events, if not its most prestigious – will be of vital importance to some LIV golfers due to the Official World Golf Ranking, which does not yet award ranking points to LIV events and may never do so (LIV has applied for OWGR sanction, but a decision could be months away). The BMW PGA’s strong field means it will give LIV golfers a chance to stay in the OWGR top 50, which is generally the cutoff point for major championship eligibility. (Past major champions get long-term major invites, so LIV golfers like Smith, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau don’t have to worry much about their world ranking, and none of those players will be at Wentworth this week) .

Gooch, for example, ranks 46th in the OWGR, and a strong showing at Wentworth will keep him in the top 50. Otherwise, by continuing to play in LIV events that are not recognized by the OWGR, he continues to sink in the OWGR. rankings.

Other LIV golfers in the field this week include Ancer, Graeme McDowell, Patrick Reed and Lee Westwood. Rahm said their presence at Wentworth this week means inferior golfers who don’t have the benefit of LIV’s Saudi wealth are pushed out.

“What I don’t understand is some players who never showed any interest in the European tour, never showed any interest in playing this event, getting an opportunity just because they can get world ranking points and hopefully make majors next year,” Rahm told reporters tuesday

“A perfect example – a good friend of mine [Spain’s Alfredo Garcia-Heredia] is the first on the entry list now. It doesn’t hurt me, but it bothers me that someone who played more than 20 [European tour] events this year can’t get the chance to play a premier event because some people who won it, to some degree, get a chance when they couldn’t care less about the event.”

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