Latest LIV Defectors Air PGA Tour Grievances Ahead Of Portland Event

An irritable new batch of LIV defectors took turns straining credulity with their PGA Tour grievances at a series of press conferences promoting the Saudi-funded circuit’s Portland event on Tuesday.

To summarize: the Tour is a frown-fest with a draconian schedule and paltry purses. Family time? A few months to recover from a major injury? Forget it. There’s barely enough time to chat with your coach over Zoom.

Yes, one by one, a collection of the Tour’s most notorious cranks took the opportunity to gleefully stuff the suggestion box while extolling the virtues of their new employer.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Brooks Koepka acknowledged his sudden change of heart, claiming he hadn’t been approached by LIV Golf until after the contentious U.S. Open press conference in which he scolded the press for casting a “black cloud” over the event. “My opinion changed,” he said. “That was it. You guys will never believe me, but we didn’t have the conversation ’til everything was done at the U.S. Open and figured it out. Here I am.”  

  • Patrick Reed praised the Saudi-funded startup circuit for listening to the players. “We have a smaller schedule,” Reed said. “We actually have an off-season where not only can we get healthy, work on our bodies, but we’re basically allowing ourselves throughout the year to, you know, try to peak at the right times is when you’re playing rather than feeling like you have to play every single week. And on top of it, just the quality of life for us as players now, you know, having less events, being able to spend more time at home with the family, if you have kids, being able to spend time with your children, and not sitting there and having to play three, four weeks in a row, then have a week off, and during that week off you’re preparing, trying to get ready for the next week. … You’re able to actually now set out a schedule, go out and put all you have in every single event. You’re not having to conserve energy ever … if you took off any period of time because you needed it for your body, you’re behind now. Everyone is going to pass you in FedEx [Cup points race]. It was forcing you to have to play, and that’s not doing anything for you mentally and physically. That’s wearing you down, and you do that every single year and no wonder why guys are injured in their 30s and why guys are mentally tired and you just see the grind on them because they’re having to grind every single week.”
  • Pat Perez, who also reversed course on his previous LIV position, was critical of PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan. “He doesn’t listen to the players,” Perez said. “Somehow the [PGA Tour] keep talking about, oh, yeah, we work for you, we work for the players, we work for the players. It’s the opposite. Seems like we work for them. We don’t have a say in anything.”

  • Bryson DeChambeau took the extraordinary step of crediting the Saudis with atoning for their mistakes and acting as agents for positive change. “Golf is a force for good, and I think as time goes on, hopefully people will see the good that they are doing and what they are trying to accomplish rather than looking at the bad that’s happened before,” DeChambeau said. “I think moving on from that is important, and going and continuing to move forward in a positive light is something that could be a force for good for the future of the game.”
  • Generally speaking, there was more deflection — and even some chafing — when it came to the question of whether the players are indeed morally culpable for aiding a transparent attempt at sportswashing.  

You can watch the full press conferences below: