Rich Beem says Phil Mickelson’s attempts to change PGA Tour considering proposed Saudi tour don’t make sense
Leading PGA Tour players have expressed differing opinions on the proposed Saudi Golf League.
Rory McIlroy called it “not so Super League”, but several players are being courted with multi-million contract offers.
Lee Westwood said last year it would be “no brainer” to sign such a deal at this stage of his career, while Adam Scott confirmed he was in talks to join the lucrative tour.
Phil Mickelson has admitted the SGL threat has given players “leverage” to squeeze more money out of the PGA Tour – but isn’t even sure he wants the breakaway to succeed.
Dustin Johnson described the super league as a “really good concept” earlier in February, but he and Bryson DeChambeau have both pledged their commitment to the PGA Tour.
Here’s what the players said…
“This is my official, my one and only time I’m going to speak about it where I officially declare, let’s say, my loyalty to the PGA Tour. I’m a PAC [Player Advisory Council] The hon. member and I have great faith in Jay Monahan and the product they are going to offer us in the future.
“There has been a lot of talk and speculation about the Saudi League. It’s just not something that I believe is the best for me and my future in golf, and I think the best legacy I can accomplish will be with the PGA Tour.
“I’ve said this many times before at press conferences, I’m not doing this for the money, which to me is the only call to go there. They throw numbers at you and it’s supposed to impress people. I’m in this game for the love of golf and the love of the game and to become a champion, right?
“I grew up watching a lot of great players play big events like this and there’s a history and a legacy to those things. It’s something I’m very drawn to.”
Rory McIlroy reiterated his opposition to the Saudi Golf League project
“I don’t know if I’m curious, but I guess I’m intrigued who would be [want to join the Super League]but certainly for the younger ones it seems like a huge risk.
“I can maybe make sense of that for guys who are getting to the later stages of their careers, that’s for sure.
“I don’t think that’s what a rival golf league really wants, do they? They don’t want some sort of league that looks like a pre-Champions tour.”
“Over the past few months there has been a lot of speculation about an alternative tour, much of which seems to have included me and my future in professional golf.
“I think now is the time to put that speculation to rest. I am fully committed to the PGA Tour. I am grateful to have the opportunity to play on the best circuit in the world and all that it means brought, as well as to my family.
“While there will always be areas where our Tour can improve and grow, I am grateful for our leadership and the many sponsors who make the PGA Tour the premier golf tour.”
Bryson De Chambeau
“Although there has been a lot of speculation surrounding my support for another tour, I want to say very clearly that as long as the best players in the world play the PGA Tour, so will I.
“Right now I’m focusing on my health and competing again soon. I appreciate all the support.”
“I have a lot of things that I’m focused on here and I’ll be the first to say that, yes, there are a lot of things that I would like to see improve with the PGA Tour, but that’s part of the deal.
“All you want to do is improve the product and one by one if we can improve this here, that there and keep improving, then everyone is a winner.
“I’m very, very happy with what’s going on. The reason I play golf is to create a legacy and win as many times as possible on the PGA Tour.”
Rob Lee and Jamie Spence have delivered their verdict on the Saudi government’s heavy financial investment in the Asian Tour and the possible threat it poses to the structure of the global game
“I understand the financial part for guys who are later in their career. You look at people who have already said no; [Jon] Rahm, world No. 1, Collin Morikawa, myself.
“You have the best players in the world saying no, so that must mean something to you.”
“There’s obviously a lot going on and I’ve just started playing professional golf. If I had my wish, I would still play on the PGA Tour.
“I just want to play against the best players in the world. Everybody goes there, it kind of leaves me no choice, but I would love to play the PGA.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen. What’s my intuition? Well, intuitions don’t really matter, it’s about what people do, but it seemed like a lot of good players express their support for the PGA Tour, then it will certainly be a daunting task for other leagues if the top players don’t want to go.”
Adam Scott is open to the idea of the Saudi Golf League and would like to see the sport thrive outside the United States
“I’m not judging anyone. The young guys are in a good place. Viktor Hovland, Jon Rahm, their careers are just taking off. Why would you do anything to upset that apple cart? They have their heritage and are just getting started.
“Everyone is in a different position and can see things differently. But right off the bat, I also think there’s no reason there shouldn’t be big events all over the world. Potentially another league or tour could provide that could be a great thing.
“Certainly being an Australian and having played a global schedule, I would love to see professional golf flourish outside of the United States as well.”
“I decided for myself that I support the PGA Tour, that’s where my legacy lies.
“I’ve been blessed to have won 82 events on this Tour and 15 major championships and to have played in the World Golf Championships, both beginning and end, so I have a PGA Tour allegiance.
“And I understand that some of the comparisons are very similar to Arnold’s [Palmer] and Jack [Nicklaus] broke with the PGA of America to start the Tour. I don’t see it that way.”
“It’s been pretty clear for a long time now that I’m with the PGA Tour, that’s where I’m staying. I’m very happy. I think they’re doing things the right way, people I want to do business with. .
“I’m happy to be here and I don’t really talk about it with many other players.”
World number 2 Collin Morikawa has ruled out joining the proposed Saudi-backed golf league
“All my life I thought about the PGA Tour. I thought about playing against Tiger, breaking his records, whatever, something that might not even be breakable, but I never thought about what is happening there, isn’t it?
“I never thought of anything else, it’s always been the PGA Tour.
“AT [the rival league] opened things up for us as pro golfers, to open things up for the PGA Tour to see what to do better? Absoutely. We’ve seen a lot of changes, some good, some bad, some that I’m sure will change further over time.
“Right now you’re looking at the best players I see and they all stick with the PGA Tour and that’s where I stay and that’s where I belong. I’m very happy to be here.”
“I think everyone watches it and sees parts of it that can really help and benefit their situation, their life, their career, and then there are parts that they’re probably concerned about.
“I appreciate that there is competition and the leverage has allowed for a much better environment on the PGA Tour which means we wouldn’t have an incentive program like the PIP. [Player Impact Programme] for the best players without this type of competition.
“We wouldn’t have the FedEx Cup money increase. We wouldn’t have the Players Championship increase to $20 million this year without that threat.
“I enjoy the competition, and what I hope is that the most important thing, which are media rights and the way players have been used for so long, I hope that will change as well. thanks to the competitive opportunity.”
“When I’m at home I watch a lot of sports, but not a lot of this sport, it’s golf because it seems to me like it’s just 72-hole stroke play week in and week out, and when I’m playing it, I’ve had enough by then.
“The weeks and days I was watching, I was watching for the Ryder Cup if I wasn’t there. I was watching for Match Play. I think the first day at Dell Match Play when you have 32 matches in lessons are one of the most exciting days of the whole year.
“I think golf needs to move with the times and become more up-to-date, volatile and hard-hitting right off the bat.
“Certainly if you do it like the team aspect, there’s more action happening in more different places.”
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