Would Tour players play LIV in a team event? Some are in. Some ABSOLUTELY aren’t
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — You’ve maybe wondered it. There are, after all, two sides in this burgeoning golf fight. And yes, team events, like the Presidents Cup being played this week, pair two sides.
Would we ever see a PGA Tour v. LIV Golf event? Rory and JT vs. Bryson and Brooks. Schauffele and Cantlay vs. Smith and Leishman. Captain Monahan (or maybe captain Woods.) vs. Captain Norman.
Butch Harmon, one of the greatest swing minds ever, has suggested he’d at least like to see the PGA Tour and LIV play some sort of event together. This was an exchange he had recently with his son, Claude, on the younger Harmon’s podcast.
“All right, so you get in a room right now with Greg Norman and Jay Monahan and someone asks you to be the moderator between the two of them,” Claude Harmon started. “What advice are you giving to Greg and what advice are you giving to Jay to try and see if there’s a way that this whole thing can be less destructive and less aggressive than it is?”
“First of all, I would say leave your egos at the door,” Butch Harmon said. “Come in with no egos. let’s come in with an open mind and see what we can do to make it better. That would be the first thing. Second thing, I would think that there is a way for the European Tour, the PGA Tour, the LIV Tour, to get together and have four or five huge tournaments a year, where participants from all three get to play. You can make it a 100-man field, you can do it off world rankings, you can do it any way you want to do it, I don’t care. For an amount of money, because that’s what it’s all about. And go to iconic, fabulous golf courses around the world and have this true world event.
“Now, that going to happen? Probably not because I don’t think Jay Monahan would even go to the meeting at the moment. So I think until things calm down — I’ve never talked to Jay about it, so I haven’t had that opportunity. But I would love to see some kind of thing get together where it is a world event, a gigantic world event. Not close to the majors. … But there’s got to be a way that they can co-exist. … And I think these two organizations have to get together and do what’s best for golf.”
Harmon’s probably right — an event of any kind probably isn’t happening any time soon, considering the climate. But that doesn’t mean we can’t ask whether players teeing it up this week at Quail Hollow would play. So we did. The simple question was this: If the PGA Tour and LIV Golf ever put together a team event, would you play? Some exchanges had some follow-ups.
Some players were in. Some weren’t. One didn’t answer, though it wasn’t surprising that he didn’t.
Let’s listen in.
PGA Tour players who would play LIV Golf in a team event
Billy Horschel would play. But he also can see why the PGA Tour wouldn’t.
“There was this conversation, I don’t know when it was, and it was discussed,” Horschel said. “Yeah, I wouldn’t mind playing in it, but at the same time, you’ve got to look at things — what would the PGA Tour benefit from that? Nothing. If we win, we’re supposed to win. If we lose, it looks bad on the PGA Tour. So it’s really a lose-lose for the PGA Tour in that situation, and LIV’s got everything to gain from it.
“But as a player, we’re all competitive, and I have great relationships with a lot of those guys and I would love to compete with them. I was looking forward to playing the Presidents Cup and maybe getting paired against Cam Smith, who’s a really good friend of mine. If somehow there was a little LIV-PGA Tour competition, I would love that. I would love to play against Cam Smith or one of my good friends, Ian Poulter or something like that.
“Like I said, I’m not the one who makes that decision. There’s more that goes into a decision like that. I wouldn’t fault the PGA Tour or anyone saying this doesn’t benefit us going forward. I see that side of it, and I’m fine with that.”
Max Homa would play. He answered in one word: Sure. So we asked: Why? He again was brief: “I don’t know. Maybe to win, I guess. Play so we can win.”
So then we asked if he’s had any conversations on what a 12-v-12 matchup would like.
“I think we’ve been very focused on the 12 Americans beating the 12 Internationals. So that hypothetical will have to stay hypothetical for a little while, at least up until this week is done.”
Sam Burns would play. He also answered simply: Yes. So we asked: Why?
“Because I love the PGA Tour, and if they asked me to be on that team, I would be on it,” he said.
Cam Davis would play.
“I enjoy playing in big tournaments, yes,” he said. “I’m happy with my power play. If that leads to playing on a PGA Tour team, I’m more than happy to play.”
Xander Schauffele, we’ll say, was interested. So was his close friend, Patrick Cantlay.
“If they put together a PGA Tour-LIV Golf team event, would you play in that?”
“Like a Cup against each other?” Schauffele said.
“12 best of them, 12 best from the PGA Tour.”
“I don’t even know how that would look like. I’m all for competition. Logistically, it sounds like a nightmare just considering what’s been happening, in terms of like who would run the event or everyone getting together behind the scenes. I think it would probably be less of an issue with the people actually competing versus sort of getting the structure in place.
“But competition is good for viewers, and it’s good for golf. I really don’t even know how to answer that question from a personal standpoint.”
Cantlay was asked the same questions.
“Yeah, possibly,” he said. “I feel like, you know, that could potentially be interesting.”
“No. But if they come up with an event, I’ll check it out.”
PGA Tour players who wouldn’t play LIV Golf in a team event
Justin Thomas wouldn’t. His answer was short.
“No, don’t see the need to.”
“Just don’t know why. I mean, they’re more than happy doing what we’re doing, and we’re doing great what we’re doing. So just don’t see the need for it.”
Tony Finau, Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Taylor Pendrith were all out.
Said Finau: “Probably not. Probably not. There’s just way too much going on there. There’s no reason to play when it comes to those two Tours. I’ve shown where my loyalty is. We played against those guys forever. Anybody that wants to see that can see the stats. We played against each other forever. Those guys on LIV now, we played against forever. They were our teammates.
“I think that’s a hypothetical question from the media, fans may want to see that, but it’s not something I’d be a part of just because it’s like to me there’s no point in being involved in that.”
Said Bezuidenhout “No, I don’t think the PGA Tour will do that. There’s no reason why. All the guys that went over there went over there. They moved beyond the PGA Tour. We support the PGA Tour. We don’t really care about what they do. So I don’t think I will.”
Said Pendrith: “I mean, I’ve spent my whole life trying to get to the PGA Tour, and I’m finally here. Just finished my rookie season. Being at the Presidents Cup is amazing. It’s so cool for me to see not as a young guy, but as a rookie, first time being on the PGA Tour with my card, first time being here. It’s a really cool experience. The fans are amazing. Everybody’s happy to be here. I’m quite happy where I am.”
Kevin Kisner answered two questions in 11 words.
“If there were ever a PGA Tour-LIV Golf event, would you play in that?”
“No need. They’re not recognized as a world golf tour.”
PGA Tour players who weren’t sure they would play LIV Golf in a team event
Corey Conners said he hadn’t “really given it a lot of thought.” Hideki Matsuyama, who had recently been courted by LIV for reportedly nine figures, said through an English-to-Japanese translator that he “can’t decide something like that.”
“Because there’s nothing specific about it.”
Scottie Scheffler also said he wasn’t sure. So we asked whether there was any talk of which side has the 12 best players.
“Not in my circles,” he said. “I think the PGA Tour has a bit more talent than their tour does. I don’t have much to say.”
Collin Morikawa said he’s “never thought about it.” He was then asked what a 12-on-12 matchup would look like.
“No. To be honest, a lot of those guys, they’ve gone and they’ve made the decision, and I really haven’t thought about them, and there’s a couple of the guys that I definitely miss having around. But it’s a — I think it’s just like anything in life, there’s a cycle. Golf has a long lifespan. Guys stay for a long time, and there’s just a cycle of new guys coming in, old guys coming out. It’s a repeating cycle, but it’s never anything I’ve really given thought to because I’ve got a million other things I’ve got to worry about, and my wedding.”
PGA Tour player who cut off the question
Cameron Young, who also confirmed that he met with LIV Golf recently, did not want to answer the one LIV Golf question he received.
“In your conversations with LIV golf and that discussion, if the PGA Tour and LIV ..”
“I’m not going to say anything. Sorry.”