Two of the most prominent US golf analysts have launched truly scathing attacks on players who have jumped ship to LIV Golf.
Today’s LIV Golf Invitational in London kicked off amid unprecedented scrutiny, with the PGA Tour almost immediately announcing that any players involved this week – and in the future – would be suspended from the PGA Tour.
Later speaking to the Golf Channel and broadcast on Sky Sports News, Brandel Chamblee launched a scathing attack on the players who had joined the Saudi-backed golf tour, saying it made him want to “puke”.
“When it comes to the richest sports stars in the world, Phil Mickelson is 11th. He’s ahead of Kobe Bryant, he’s ahead of David Beckham, he’s ahead of Kevin Durant, he’s ahead of Lewis Hamilton,” explained Chamblee in a passionate rant.
“You’re talking about him being ahead of icons in sports that are far more popular worldwide than the game of golf. And yet why is it that golf has four of the highest paid athletes of all time? Why is it that Phil Mickelson is 11th, in terms of the stratosphere he does occupy, as an athlete… that athletes who have made less money than him but play a sport that is widely more popular. Why is that? It’s because of the image of the golfer. Because of their independent contract nature. Because they show up and, generally speaking, play a game that is self governed and self policing. It is a game of integrity. It’s because corporations want to align themselves with these players. It’s because of the philanthropic aspect of the game of golf.”
“So when I hear these players say that they are ‘growing the game’… it makes me wanna puke. They’re destroying the game. And they are destroying their reputations.
“This is one of the saddest days in the history of golf. Watching these players come together for money and show to the world…they are showing us that they are the greediest, most self serving, self interesting, wilfully blind players in the world of golf today.”
Equally as furious was Jaime Diaz, one of Golf Digest’s senior writers and a highly respected analyst for Golf Channel, who said players were “attacking” the PGA Tour.
“It is an existential moment for the PGA Tour,” said Diaz. “The PGA Tour is a huge sports institution. It’s the basically the centre of the game and these guys are attacking the centre of the game, which of course has tentacles throughout the rest of the game.
“This is not something that’s ‘Hey, I’ve made a business decision’. ‘This is hurting the game that made me’. I think whether that is defined in people’s comments, that’s the feeling that is hanging in the air. I think Jay Monahan did what he had to do – protect his territory, protecting the good name of the PGA Tour and make it very clear that this is going to be a very strong deterrent to any other player thinking of making this decision.
“The tour has done it and now it feels like those guys are over. It’s amazing to say it that Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed… these guys are stalwarts and they can be erased from history. I’m not saying Phil’s accomplishments will be erased, but the way he used to be looked at will be erased.”