Jon Rahm completes LIV Golf switch
Golf star Viktor Hovland has denied speculation that he could join LIV Golf but did not hold back as he criticised PGA Tour chiefs for the current divisions within the game. The rival tours previously announced their intentions to merge, with a deadline for a binding deal set for the end of 2023.
Whether the PGA Tour, LIV Golf and the DP World Tour will strike an agreement over their slated for-profit entity before December 31 remains to be seen. Irrespective of this, Norwegian star Hovland has been left unimpressed with how the American-based tour’s management has handled the stand-off.
For now, it appears that he is happy with his decision to have not followed stars including recent rebel John Rahm in joining the Gulf State-backed tour. In fact, the current FedEx Cup victor contends that the call to stay has resulted in him improving his game over the past year.
Speaking to Discovery’s golf podcast ‘Fore’ over the prospect of potentially being the next big name to join the breakaway Saudi Arabian circuit, he said: “I doubt that.
“If I had gone to LIV, I don’t think I would have become a better golfer. And then it is, in a way, the end of discussion.
Hovland does appear to have sympathy with those peers who have decided to leave the PGA Tour in favour of the LIV Golf circuit in recent times. He said: “I can’t blame people who make that decision and go over there. Then we have to try to find an arrangement in the end. We’ll see.”
Despite the previous announcement of a merger between the warring factions within the golfing world, the staggering $600million (£450m) deal to lure 2023 Masters winner Rahm to LIV Golf showed that the ambitions of the tour have far from subsided. After this, the PGA Tour also announced their intentions to negotiate a deal over with SSG over a $3 billion (£2.3bn) cash injection.
And then it is, in a way, the end of discussion.
“But I can’t blame people who make that decision and go over there. Then we have to try to find an arrangement in the end. We’ll see.”
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Instead of criticising the LIV rebels, the former world number three turned his ire on the PGA Tour’s leading management figures. While also conceding that he understands why such the sums golfers such as Rahm had their heads turned, he asserted: “It would be a bit silly to criticize the players for leaving.
“After all, you only hear one angle in the media, and there are quite a few different parts happening at the same time here. I totally understand why he left. That’s a lot, a lot of money. And at least when the management of the PGA Tour has done such a bad job.”
Hovland added: “When you get to see what happens behind closed doors, how the management actually makes decisions, which are not in the players’ best interest, but best for themselves and what they think is best … they are businessmen who say that, ‘No, it should look like this and that.’ There is a great deal of arrogance behind it all.”
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