In a surprising turn of events, Gary Player goes on the offensive against LIV Golf.
In a recent interview with BBC Radio 5, the 86-year-old Saudi golf ambassador sparked a wave of criticism at the Saudi-backed tour and the players who have joined it.
“How can you be a champion playing a round with 54 holes and no cut?” said the player. “What kind of tour is this? 54 holes, no cut, a team event that no one understands. It’s a tour for people who don’t have confidence in their future. They lack the confidence that they can be winners.
“It will never compare to the regular tour. No chance.”
The player went on to say he wouldn’t trade his nine majors for $1 billion, that LIV has ‘declared war’ on the PGA Tour but could never overtake the PGA Tour as the best golf tour in the world. world, and that LIV players should be banned from the circuit. Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup, majors, “all those things,” he said.
“You can’t have your cake and eat it,” Player added. “This is the bed you have chosen, this is the bed you should lie in.”
Player specifically singled out Australian and world number 2 Cam Smith, who was announced this week as one of six new LIV signees along with Joaquin Niemann, Harold Varner III, Marc Leishman, Cameron Tringale and Anirban Lahiri.
“Here’s a young man who I really thought was going to be a superstar. Now what kind of future does he have? Player said of Smith, this year’s Open and Players champion. he able to achieve this big dream of being champion?I don’t know.I don’t blame [Henrik] Stenson to go. He had no money, so he had to leave. But he’s a potential superstar. I think his advisors gave him bad advice.
The player’s comments, however, are unexpected given his relationship with Saudi Arabia. He wore a Golf Saudi logo as an honorary starter at this year’s Masters and this summer donned an Aramco Team Series crest (also sponsored by Golf Saudi) at the Celebration of Champions event before the Open. He also spoke this year about his course design opportunities in Saudi Arabia.
And in June, as Golf Digest pointed out, he had this to say about LIV Golf when speaking to Sky Sports: “This tour [LIV], that the Saudis – who are moreover our allies, never forget it. I hear a lot of negative things, but remember this, the players playing there now, they need the money. They have families and I don’t blame them for playing there.