Justin Harding admitted there were times he felt “uncomfortable” at the Genesis Scottish Open following the legal row over whether LIV golfers should be allowed to play.
The South African, who has participated in both of the rebel tour’s events so far, is one of four stars to have successfully challenged the decision to bar them from the Renaissance Club showdown.
A round of 65 helped Harding make much of the early running in East Lothian.
But he hinted at tension, although he refused to be drawn on how it had manifested itself, between the breakaway quartet – which comprises Harding as well as Adrian Otaegui, Branden Grace and Ian Poulter – and PGA Tour members.
The four were late additions to the field after a court ruled in their favour when they challenged their bans from the tournament.
“There are times when it’s a little bit uncomfortable when you’re walking around,” Harding said.
“The European Tour guys have been fine. The PGA Tour guys are in a completely different boat but I don’t really want to get into the sceptics of all of that. We’re just going to have to let it play out.
“I’m trying my best just to play golf. That’s ultimately what we are. We’re just trying our best to earn a bit of money on the golf course and put food on the table. I’ve tried my best to keep it all to the one side.
“Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. You can’t begrudge anyone that.”
Despite playing in both LIV events so far, Harding claimed that unlike many of his contemporaries, he has not signed a contract with the Saudi-backed circuit.
But he admitted the lure of the huge prize pot – paying $120,000 for last place and $4 million for first – was too good to turn down.
“I haven’t ‘gone’ to LIV. I have just participated in a couple of events. I’ve not signed any contracts or deals so I feel like I’m in a slightly different position. Everyone has a different view on it.
“I’ve played in the ones I’ve got into off world ranking and I don’t know if I’m into the next one.
“They opened themselves up to a few slots on world ranking spots. It was an invitational, it was worth a bucketload of money and it felt like I could play in it. I’m a golfer and I felt like I was entitled to play in the event.”