Tom Hoge enters this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am as the defending champion, so there’s a little extra spotlight on him. After winning the 2022 tournament by two strokes over Jordan Spieth, the 33-year-old understands that the game of golf is at an interesting point, with the rivalry between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf a constant hot topic of discussion.
While Hoge has seen many of his peers bolt for the big payday from LIV over the past year or so, he’s stayed loyal to the PGA Tour. And during his press conference for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Hoge discussed why the possible payday just wasn’t worth it to him.
“The biggest thing for me is that I had won for the first time. I was making the decision a few months afterwards, and there were so many tournaments I’ve wanted to play in for the first time. Tournaments I grew up, Tour Championship, Maui, those sort of tournaments. And when I went to bed at night, I wasn’t ready to give those up.”
Still, the temptation of taking LIV Golf’s money was there for one reason: Security for his family — especially when considering the possibility of an injury.
“The reality that we play is if I trip walking off this stage and hurt my wrist or something that I might never make a dollar again. You’ve got insurance for that, but it still isn’t the same as making it on the golf course. You almost look at it more for your family and wife and future kids that you almost feel a bit obligated to look at that money and take it. It was a hard decision to make, but I’m very happy with where I’m at.”
Hoge did say there was never a formal offer from LIV. So, while there were discussions, he was never forced with the decision to recommit to the PGA Tour byway of a contract proposal.
“I don’t know if I ever got to that point. For me, I think there were some serious questions on the back end of the contracts as far as how do you be replaced down the line and that sort of stuff that certainly would have had to go to attorneys at that point and figure out all the contracts. But like I said, it never really got to that point for me.
It’s quite admirable for Hoge to stay true to himself, focusing on some of the tournaments he’s always dreamt of playing in. Of course, LIV never actually slid a contract offer across the table at him, so, who knows, had that happened, maybe he would feel differently.
Still, Hoge appears happy being on the PGA Tour, adding that his favorite part about being a Tour winner is playing in the majors — especially the Masters.
“I guess for me, probably the Masters, all the majors. That was the first time I’ve played in all the majors. I get to do it again this year, as well, so really looking forward to that.”
Who knows what the future holds for Hoge, but, for now, he seems content trying to continue to prove himself on the PGA Tour and try to rise up the rankings.