Davis Love III told LIV Golf defectors “you can be Tiger Woods or you can be banned from the game” and may foresee a situation where “fed up” players will boycott major PGA Tour events to protect their interests.
Golf is embroiled in a war between those who remain loyal to the sport’s flagship tour and those who opted for the riches of the controversial Saudi-backed LIV series.
Last week, the third LIV event was held in New Jersey, which was won by Henrik Stenson after he was stripped as European Ryder Cup captain following his decision to enter.
Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Sergio Garcia are among the notable names to have also jumped ship, while Tiger Woods has reportedly turned down $800 million to stay loyal to the PGA Tour.
Love III, captain of the United States Presidents Cup this year and two-time Ryder Cup skipper, said earlier this week that players may consider boycotting the majors if LIV players continue to allow play.
He sought to clarify those comments during a press conference and warned LIV players that their decisions should have consequences.
He said: “I’ve said to the players I’ve spoken to who have left or are considering leaving, ‘it’s your decision, you know, and you do what’s right for you, but understand the consequences. ‘.
“I tried to talk like my dad and I probably wasn’t very good at it. I didn’t argue. I said, ‘Look, you can do this or you can do that. You can be Tiger Woods or you can be banned from the game, take your pick. But understanding the consequences, you signed up to these rules.”
“And I keep using it as a joke, but I’m wearing shorts today, but I can’t wear shorts on Thursday, that’s a rule. I had to commit last Friday or I can’t. don’t play this week I have to play 15 tournaments or I can’t vote and I don’t get my retirement money You have rules you have to follow.
“Jay [Monahan] been saying it for a year and they either figured it out, some of them figured it out, some of them said it wasn’t gonna happen, and some of them just lied, I don’t don’t do that, I don’t do that.
“And you hear it, talking points or interviews, they turn their decision around because they know they turned their back on their friends and they know they’re taking the money and they know it’s not is not the right thing to do.
“But it’s their decision and they can do it, they just can’t come back to play in the Players Championship. It’s just not fair. If I manage, do the 125 and get into the Players Championship , I don’t want those guys, it’s the only PGA Tour event they’re at that year, it’s not right.”
Love III, winner of the US PGA Championship in 1997, admits he’s surprised at how many players are turning their backs on the Tour.
He also suggested how PGA regulars might react if LIV players tried to take their ambition to play on both tours to court.
“Nobody saw the magnitude of LIV coming. It’s hard not to be reactionary to something that when you’re blind, you’re reactionary,” he added.
“I told Jay a year ago, and you can ask him, I said, ‘don’t worry about it, it’s not gonna happen’. I was completely wrong. There’s six months, I said at my own tournament, ‘oh, don’t worry, it’s not going to happen. Mickelson is sinking, but no one else will jump ship’.
“So I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to happen from now on, but I know it’s going to be a fight and the players are more and more united against it.
“Now some guys said they didn’t like the new schedule and some guys didn’t like the old schedule. I may not like the fall schedule right now, but that’s okay walk because I agree with everything the Tour wants to do.
“It will work because I know the staff don’t work exclusively for Jay, they work for the players and Jay as well.
“The whole situation is unfortunate. I didn’t try to single out the US Open as the players hitting or threatening not to play. I was saying that if the LIV guys sue and are allowed to play on the PGA Tour, that the players are pretty fed up we understand that we make the rules for the PGA Tour and the commissioner enforces our rules and we don’t want these guys playing come picking our tournaments whether we hold all the cards not Jay or not Seth Waugh or Mike Whan.
“They don’t hold all the cards, we hold all the cards. If we tell the FTC and Washington, no, we support the rules, we don’t want these guys to play, we don’t care what the courts say , our only option really, the nuclear option is to say, well, okay, if they have to play in our events, we just won’t play I think Tour players, Max Homas and Rory McIlroys have done a good job.
“I think the undercurrent of guys is getting more and more fed up, that these guys are threatening our way of life, they’re trying to take money out of our pockets and pick our top tournaments. The majors have to take their own decisions. I loved what Martin Slumbers said, I think they’re all going in the right direction, but PGA Tour players, we support the PGA Tour and we support the rules and we have to defend them. “