‘They’re full of s—‘: Harold Varner blasts fellow LIV pros over cited reasons for leaving PGA Tour

arold Varner talks with Phil Mickelson at 2023 Masters

Harold Varner II talks with Phil Mickelson during practice at the 2023 Masters.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Ever since LIV Golf’s inception last summer, each LIV player has been faced with the question of why. In particular, why abandon the lucrative PGA Tour where they made their names in favor of an upstart league with no track record funded by the Saudi Public Investment Fund?

Most LIV pros have invoked “growing the game of golf” as their foundational reason for the move, or else they’ve lauded the tenants of LIV’s 54-hole no-cut tournaments with shotgun starts and simultaneous individual and team competitions.

Harold Varner III isn’t having any of it.

The former PGA Tour pro who made his LIV Golf debut last August opened up in a recent interview with the Washington Post, dismissing — with colorful language — other LIV pro’s pronounced reasons for joining the new tour. He also pinpointed what he thinks is the real motivation players joined LIV: money.

“They’re full of s—; they’re growing their pockets,” Varner said in the interview. “I tell them all the time, all of them: ‘You didn’t come here to f—— grow the f—— game.”

Several star LIV pros reportedly received massive upfront payments to leave the PGA Tour, with some of the bigger names — Phl Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Cameron Smith — receiving sums exceeding $100 million.

The lucrative reality of playing for LIV doesn’t end there. LIV events feature $20 million purses with sizable prize money paid out even to the last-place finishers.

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

Varner has no illusions about why he made the jump to LIV, admitting it was a financial windfall for his family that he could not pass up.

“I play golf so I can change the direction of my family’s life. And that’s it. No other reason,” Varner told the Washington Post.

This kind of straight talk is not new from Varner. From the very beginning, he has not danced around why he chose to leave the PGA Tour.

In an Instagram post announcing his decision last August, Varner expressed gratitude for what the PGA Tour had given him, but wrote, “the truth is, my life is changing. The opportunity to join LIV Golf is simply too good of a financial breakthrough for me to pass by… future Varners will have a solid base to stand on — and a life I could have only dreamt about growing up.”

Varner also shared unvarnished thoughts on the LIV-PGA Tour faceoff at the Masters Champions Dinner. Some had expected animosity, but all reports were that the proceedings remained civil, something Varner predicted when asked about it by the Washington Post.

“These f—— aren’t mad. They’re just mad that you’re f—— with their money,” Varner said. “I think some people are jealous, and that’s just the way it is.”

Varner is one of 18 LIV pros in the field for this week’s Masters, a number that fell to 17 when Kevin Na withdrew Thursday morning citing illness. He tees off for the opening round on Thursday at 12:12 p.m. ET.

Kevin Cunningham

Kevin Cunningham

Golf.com Editor

As managing producer for GOLF.com, Cunningham edits, writes and publishes stories on GOLF.com, and manages the brand’s e-newsletters, which reach more than 1.4 million subscribers each month. A former two-time intern, he also helps keep GOLF.com humming outside the news-breaking stories and service content provided by our reporters and writers, and works with the tech team in the development of new products and innovative ways to deliver an engaging site to our audience.