In defending LIV Golf, pro says: ‘It’s harder to win $4 million than it is to win Tour event’
A LIV Golf opinion is wrong, Harold Varner says.
Should he return to the PGA Tour, Varner also says he shouldn’t have the status he had when he left.
And PGA Tour players shouldn’t be rewarded for loyalty.
Varner’s comments come via an interview this week with Golfweek’s Adam Woodard, and you can — and should — read the story in full here. The thoughts are also notable, as the Tour and the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund enter month two of negotiations over a proposed agreement that would create a new, for-profit enterprise and end pending litigation between the Tour and LIV Golf, which is also funded by the PIF.
The deal, though, has led to questions, perhaps chief among them being what men’s pro golf will look like going forward. Will LIV play on, despite PIF and the Tour coming to the table? LIV and the Tour, after all, have fought over players and prestige for over a year.
“As I said earlier,” Monahan said, “now that we’re in these discussions, they’re discussions that — happy to answer all those questions when they’re completed, but not going to talk about personnel or any of the specifics because we’re not at that stage yet.”
Which brings us back to Varner. He was asked by Woodard for the biggest misconception about LIV.
And if an argument is needed to keep the team-golf series — that the product is at least worthwhile — this would be one.
“That LIV’s not serious [is the biggest misconception],” Varner told Woodard at LIV Golf’s event at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster. “I think it’s harder to win $4 million than it is to win a PGA Tour event. When you get in contention out here, it’s like, [expletive], that’s life-changing money. And I play for money.”
Notably, Varner never won in 191 events played on the PGA Tour. With LIV, he’s won once, in May at the Washington, D.C., event.
In the interview with Woodard, Varner also had thoughts on two details from a recent announcement that offered some look into the potential framework of the deal. Two weeks ago, in a letter to players, Monahan said the Tour was working to present a “Player Benefit Program” believed to be aimed at repaying players for not defecting to LIV, and that the Tour has appointed a “task force” aimed at “developing potential pathways back to the PGA Tour for LIV players who wish to reapply in the future.”
To the latter point, Varner believed that if he returned, he should go to the Korn Ferry Tour, the series below the PGA Tour.
He was more pointed, though, on the idea that Tour loyalists should be rewarded.
“Now, with saying that,” he told Woodard, “I also don’t think people on the PGA Tour should get compensated for being loyal. I think that’s [expletive]. I don’t think anyone should, you had the option to go.”
Notably, Varner has never been shy in sharing his opinion. To that end, he’s been clear on why he signed with LIV:
“This money is going to ensure that my kid and future Varners will have a solid base to start on — and a life I could have only dreamt about growing up,” he wrote on Instagram last year. Earlier this year, in an interview with the Washington Post, Varner went a step further, slamming his fellow LIV players who said they joined the new tour to help “grow the game.”
“They’re full of s—; they’re growing their pockets,” he told the Post.
Editor’s note: To read Woodard’s complete interview with Varner, please click here.