PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has ruled out ever working with LIV Golf, despite a host of the world’s best players moving to the Saudi Arabia-backed rebel tour.
Speaking at the Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow, where LIV players are banned from both the US and International teams, Monahan reiterated his stance on the Greg Norman-fronted tour and shot down any hope of a positive relationship.
“I think I’ve been pretty clear on this. I don’t see it happening,” he said. “When you look at where we are and you think about words and actions we are currently in a lawsuit so coming together and having conversations, to me, that card is off the table and has been for a long period of time.
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When asked if the biggest obstacle to working with LIV was golf considerations or geo-political issues based on the new tour’s Saudi Arabia links, Monahan spoke of his own Tour’s goals.
“When you look at the PGA Tour, where we are today and what it is we try to accomplish every single day, what’s our focus? To put forward the best competitive platform forward for the best players in the world to achieve at the highest level. To win championships that have history, that have tradition, that create legacy and that is what we are going to continue to do. We’re going to continue to get better at it and we’re going to continue to get stronger at it.
“You’ve heard me say before that we are going to focus on the things that we control. We have more assets at our disposal, stronger partnerships, and we have the best players in the world telling us that not only are they going to commit to playing more, but they are looking at the organisation to accomplish that.
“It’s all about where we are and where we’re going, and again, I couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities there.”
Much of the build up to The Presidents Cup has been dominated by conversations about LIV Golf with players from the new tour banned from playing in the event.
That means Team USA is without team event stalwarts Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, and Bryson DeChambeau, while the International team is seriously depleted having lost Open champion Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman, Louis Oosthuizen, and Branden Grace.
Despite Monahan’s comments, USA star Patrick Cantlay, pictured above with the commissioner after his 2021 FedEx Cup win, says he does see a day when tensions will dissipate.
“I would be surprised if there’s not some coming together intervention because I just don’t know of any sport, really, that has a legitimate fractured sport,” the eight-time PGA Tour winner said.
“I’m just saying when I look at all other sports, all the best players play together… We had the, you know, American Football League. That went away. I mean, nobody continued to play on the American Football League. There’s been other stuff in baseball. So, I just feel like, at some point, when you start looking back on it, people will be surprised to hear, you know, ‘Oh, man, it was really contentious,’ because it just, it will feel like a blip on the radar once it’s all settled. It’s just right now very unknown.”
Suggestions of a potential PGA Tour vs LIV Golf team event have also been circulating, but were shot down by several of American team at Quail Hollow.
“No need. They’re not recognised as a world golf tour,” Kevin Kisner said.
“They’re more than happy doing what they’re doing, and we’re doing great what we’re doing,” Justin Thomas said. “So, I just don’t see the need for it.”
And Tony Finau agreed. “Fans may want to see that, but it’s not something I’d be a part of just because it’s like, to me, there’s no point in being involved in that,” said the four-time PGA Tour winner.
LIV’s ongoing quest to be included in the Official World Golf Rankings has also taken some attention away from the biennial contest. 50 of LIV’s players wrote to OWGR Chairman Peter Dawson to urge him to grant their events with rankings status and back date the approval to include the five events that have already been played.
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While LIV’s players are suspended from playing on the PGA Tour they can still play on the DP World Tour. Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Talor Gooch, Patrick Reed and 12 other members of LIV were in the field for the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, much to the disappointment of many other players, including Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm.
Patrick Reed is also playing in this week’s French Open at Le Golf National, where he claims he’s been “snubbed” by organisers.
Reed says organisers have snubbed him from the pro-am in the days leading up to the first round, neither was he required to attend the pre-tournament media conference.
“It’s a slap in the face not to invite me to the press conference, or not to have me play the pro-am and all those things,” he said.
“At the end of the day, it’s just my golf that I have control over. I’m here to support the Tour, France and all the people who are here.
“But I don’t see why we can’t move from the LIV to the European Tour (DP World Tour) like we usually move from the PGA Tour to the European Tour.”
Reed also claims he has been “hidden” in the draw, far away from the marquee pairings, and says his login for the DP World Tour website no longer works, despite resetting the password.
“A lot of players understand and support my choice and have nothing against me. I didn’t feel any animosity against me from them.”
Had Reed not defected to LIV he would have expected to be part of The Presidents Cup team having played in three previous US victories, including their last win at Royal Melbourne in 2019.