‘Definitely not’: Justin Thomas says LIV pros shouldn’t be able to rejoin PGA Tour easily

Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas talk during a match at the 2023 Ryder Cup

Justin Thomas, right, and Jordan Spieth, left, are unsure about a potential unification between the PGA Tour and LIV.

Maddie Meyer/PGA of America/PGA of America via Getty Images

As we continue to await a potential final agreement between the PGA Tour and the PIF, which runs LIV Golf, everyone is left to speculate over how, and even if, the two sides should reintegrate. The players are no different, as evidenced by Justin Thomas‘ comments on Tuesday.

In his press conference ahead of the WM Phoenix Open, Thomas was asked about recent comments by Rory McIlroy suggesting that the PGA Tour should continue forward with the framework agreement with the PIF, and that LIV players should be allowed to return to the PGA Tour without consequences.

McIlroy also reportedly revealed last week that he had a call with Jordan Spieth about the issue, and Spieth disagreed strongly with his opinion, believing that the Strategic Sports Group’s recent $1.5 billion investment in the PGA Tour meant a final deal with PIF was not essential to the future.

“I don’t think that it’s needed,” Spieth said about a deal between the PGA Tour and PIF prior to last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. “I think the positive would be a unification, but I think that, like I mentioned before, I just think it’s something that is almost not even worth talking about right this second given how timely everything would be to try to get it figured out. But the idea is that we have a strategic partner that allows the PGA Tour to go forward the way that it’s operating right now without anything else with the option of other investors. Whether them or somebody else, that will just be a decision with them obviously being, you know, the active talks.”

On Tuesday, Thomas revealed that while he isn’t firmly on one side or the other in terms of a PGA Tour-PIF deal, should the two sides come to an agreement, he thinks players who left for LIV should not be able to return “easily” to the PGA Tour.

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“I’m not necessarily super adamant one way or the other. I want the best product and the best players,” Thomas said on Tuesday. “I would say that there’s a handful of players on LIV that would make the [PGA] Tour a better place, but I’m definitely not in the agreement that they should just be able to come back that easily.”

He went on to explain that the “sacrifices” PGA Tour pros made to turn down LIV’s big-money offers makes it difficult for those players to stomach the idea of LIV pros rejoining the Tour, especially without some kind of system to address their initial decision to leave.

“I totally understand that things are changing and things are getting better, but it just would — I would have a hard time with it,” Thomas said, “and I think a lot of guys would have a hard time with it, and I’m sure we don’t need to convince you why we would have a hard time with it.”

Despite his firm opinion, Thomas is still keeping an open mind for some kind of denouement between the PGA Tour and LIV in the future. But he, like the rest of us, has little idea how that would actually work.

“I think there’s a scenario somewhere, whatever it is, down the road of some kind of version of some guys being back, but when and what that is, I have no idea.”

Thomas begins his opening round at the 2024 WM Phoenix Open on Thursday at 2:44 p.m. ET.

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