‘Let me tell it to you straight’: Harold Varner III explains LIV Golf about-face

Harold Varner III

Harold Varner III announced his departure from the PGA Tour for LIV Golf on social media.

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A sizable exodus of players was expected to leave the PGA Tour for LIV Golf after the Tour Championship, and on Tuesday, LIV Golf announced that six additional players will indeed be making their debuts in Boston this week: Cameron Smith, Joaquin Niemann, Marc Leishman, Cameron Tringale, Anirban Lahiri and Harold Varner III.

Many players who have defected to LIV have done so with a personal announcement on their social-media platforms, and Varner was no exception.

“I’ve always been real, so let me tell it to you straight,” he began. “I have joined the LIV Golf Tour.”

Varner thanked the PGA Tour’s players, fans, volunteers and employees for the chance to compete.

“The PGA TOUR has been a life changer,” he wrote. “It’s given me, an ordinary kid from rural Gastonia, North Carolina, the opportunity to make something out of my life.”

Varner then offered a candid explanation for why he’s opting to leave.

“The truth is, my life is changing,” he wrote. “The opportunity to join LIV Golf is simply too good of a financial breakthrough for me to pass by.”

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Varner wrote that he knows what it’s like to grow up without much, and his LIV contract will ensure that his young son and “future Varners will have a solid base to stand on — and a life I could have only dreamt about growing up.”

Varner also noted that his LIV contract will enable him to fund programs within his charitable foundation. “I’ll continue to forge pathways for kids interested in golf,” he wrote.

While Varner’s profile has been on the rise in recent years, especially in the wake of his dramatic win at the Saudi International in February, it was just over two months ago at the U.S. Open that he told Morning Read’s Alex Miceli that he declined a “nuts” offer from LIV.

“I’m obviously not going,” Varner told Miceli. “I’ve spoken with [PGA Tour commissioner] Jay [Monahan], I’ve spoken with a lot of people I look up to and it just wasn’t worth it to me for what it was worth. That’s pretty simple.”

According to Miceli, Varner’s advisors include Michael Jordan, whose “Jumpman” logo is worn by Varner in competition.

Varner’s PGA Tour defection represents an abrupt about-face, but he’s certainly not the only player to say one thing and do another. Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka also publicly declared their allegiance to the PGA Tour before soon after signing with LIV.

Varner’s next start will come later this week at the LIV Golf Invitational Boston at The International Golf Club in Bolton, Mass.

Golf.com Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.

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