Did LIV pros cross ‘etiquette’ line at Masters? 3-time major winner has thought

Padraig Harrington

Padraig Harrington hits a tee shot last month at the Texas Open.

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Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton, back in early February, at their first LIV Golf event, were given relief. They were told that they wouldn’t be fined.

They were told that they could swear. 

For clarity, here was the complete exchange, started by a reporter:

“For Tyrrell, you had a pretty funny media exchange at the Ryder Cup about your proclivity for swearing and how much you embrace it. I wondered, out here, I don’t know that they fine for that. Could this possibly mean that there might be more?”

Said Rahm: “Hold on, do they? Because we’re both in trouble.”

Said a LIV Golf moderator: “We do not fine for that.”

Said Hatton: “Yeah, I think me and Jon could have been in trouble, but I think we’ll be OK.”

Said Rahm: “We would have definitely been in trouble before. At least I have.”

Jump ahead now two months, and Padraig Harrington was surprised. 

He said he’d been watching the Masters — and the three-time major winner believed that LIV pros at Augusta crossed an “etiquette” line with some of their words. 

“I will say the side effect of this, which I was surprised,” Harrington said, “there was quite a bit of — on the Masters last week, there was an awful lot of extra expletives from LIV players, and clearly LIV players don’t get fined for expletives, and I’m not saying they’re encouraged, but they’re certainly not discouraged from doing it. So it was interesting that there was those players who might have held back in the past who are now LIV players were letting go fully. 

“I don’t mind the odd bit of cursing and a bit of that, but it was a little — you know, you got to — there’s got to be some sort of restriction on it in some way. So that was interesting. I’m just saying that that’s not a big deal or anything.”

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Harrington was talking on the most recent episode of “The Rough Cut Golf Podcast” hosted by Peter Finch, which you can listen to here. The commentary came after he’d been asked for his view of pro golf, and whether it was changing for the better or the worse — and Harrington dove into the fight between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, tours that have now been competing for players and prestige for three seasons. 

Notably, Harrington said he wasn’t bothered by having two tours, and he said he didn’t necessarily support having all the best players playing together frequently. That’s a little boring, he said. “I like the old model, where European Tour was very strong and we would go and play in the U.S.,” Harrington said. “We’d have a bit of a chip on our shoulder and we’d want to do well. And you know, there was a bit of excitement about that.”

The PGA Tour, though, is missing its anti-heroes, he said. He said the Tour is specifically missing Patrick Reed

Harrington then offered his thought on swearing. He later added this: 

“Yeah, there’s no hold back on LIV on that and maybe, you know, that’s something that I don’t want to see going into the game. Look, I’m not against the players breaking a golf club. My — when I came out in the game, I would have been very, very strong — and I still am strong on the etiquette of the game. And I wouldn’t break a club and I would certainly try not to curse or do any of that sort of stuff. But I’ve mellowed a bit that I don’t mind what any other player does as long as he doesn’t damage the golf course or affect his playing partners. So I have no problem If another player want to break 14 clubs, I’ll actually laugh at him. It’s no problem. But I’m not happy if he decides to smash up a piece of ground on the golf course, you know. So anything you want to do to yourself, well … that’s fine. 

“And as I said, I think most players find it funny when we see another player losing the head. But there definitely has to be some moderation on it. There was a little bit too much of it.”  

Editor’s note: To listen to the entire episode of “The Rough Cut Golf Podcast,” please click here. 

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.