Sports | August 1, 2022 2:15 pm

Could PGA Tour Golfers Boycott Majors If LIV Defectors Are Allowed to Play?

That's a scenario that U.S. Presidents Cup team captain Davis Love III suggested in an interview with "Sports Illustrated"

Davis Love III of the United States plays a shot at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He hinted at PGA Tour golfers boycotting the majors over LIV Golf players.
Davis Love III is hinting at major changes coming to major championships.
Mike Mulholland/Getty

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, U.S. Presidents Cup team captain and card-carrying PGA Tour member Davis Love III hinted that players on the series may consider sitting out upcoming majors if golfers who defected to the LIV Golf Series are allowed to participate.

Though LIV golfers are currently banned from competing on the PGA Tour, the four major championships (the Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open and British Open) are all governed by independent bodies and, at least for now, have remained open to all qualified competitors.

Love, who will not have to deal with the LIV headache when he captains the U.S. Presidents Cup team in September as that event is governed by the PGA Tour, suggested members of the Tour may have to use their “biggest lever” to push back against the upstart league poaching players.

“It’s not the nice lever,” Love told SI. “But if a group of veterans and a group of top current players align with 150 guys on the Tour, and we say, ‘Guess what? We’re not playing,’ that solves it, right? If LIV guys play in the U.S. Open, we’re not playing. If they sue in court, and they win, well, we’re not playing. You know, there won’t be a U.S. Open. It’s just like a baseball strike.”

Should this scenario play out, it would be intriguing to see whether the major championships would still be held with a skeleton crew of competitors mostly made up of LIV golfers. For networks trying to sell advertisements and brands hoping to have their logos on the hats and shirts of the top names in golf and the PGA Tour in general, such an outcome would be a disaster. For LIV Golf, it would be hard to view it as anything other than a huge win, which is probably why it would never happen.

Speaking of wins for LIV, Love said he has heard the Saudi-backed series is planning to sue the PGA Tour for the right to allow LIV players to compete in the Tour’s upcoming FedEx Cup playoffs. LIV was apparently planning to see its members compete as the upstart series is off for a month, but the PGA Tour has taken steps to remove LIV golfers from the field of 125 who will start the playoffs in less than two weeks at the FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

Following the FedEx St. Jude, the top 70 players move on to the BMW Championship, with the top 30 from there going to the season-ending Tour Championship. The winner of the championship will take home $18 million, which is “only” $14 million more than Henrik Stenson just took home for three days of work while winning the LIV Golf Invitational at Bedminster in New Jersey.

Add Stenson’s $4 million in winnings to a signing bonus of about $50 million for ditching the PGA Tour in favor of the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series and its hard to see the 46-year-old Swede having any regrets about making the switch, whether he ever gets to compete for a major championship again or not.