Sun City – The doyen of South African golf, Gary Player, on Sunday gave his backing to the LIV Golf Tour while pleading with the PGA Tour to cease its fight with the breakaway golf series.
The Saudi-funded LIV Golf series has been the big talking point in golf in 2022. The Saudi regime is reprehensible with its human rights abuses, and the country’s monarchy involvement in LIV through the funding of the series via it’s Public Investment Fund has been largely condemned.
The PGA Tour and DP World Tour are in firm opposition to LIV, as players who commit to the 54-hole golf series have been effectively banned from playing on the two premier world golf tours.
“In regards to LIV golf, I have no objection with people going and playing the LIV Tour,” Player told IOL Sport at the Gary and Vivienne Player Invitational on Sunday.
Player went on to suggest that the majority of pros who were playing on LIV, were well past their prime.
“I think it’s lovely to give people the opportunity to make some money when they can’t play anymore – most of them. They’re going out there with a new lease of life.
“But what I don’t like is the war that is happening between LIV and the PGA (Tour). Golf is too good.”
Though Player did not say it specifically, he hinted that the professionals who have committed to LIV can’t expect to be welcomed back to the other tours.
“Golf gave us our dream to start the tour and play. We should have respect across the board. We have to have respect for each other and go on with our lives. But if you play the LIV Tour, don’t expect to play and have all the facilities of the regular (PGA) tour. They’re two different tours.
“I just hope that everything works out well and everybody is happy. ‘Cos I like the song – Be happy man, don’t make a trouble, you make a double.”
The top South African golfers in particular made astronomical amounts from the first LIV golf season. Branden Grace who won the Portland LIV Golf event, earned a whopping R304-million. The next best was Charl Schwartzel with R149m, while Louis Oosthuizen made R99m.
For 26-year-old Hennie du Plessis, his season earnings will likely be the most life-changing. With just two Sunshine Tour victories to his name, Du Plessis made a mammoth R83m with LIV Golf.