Billy Horschel says Talor Gooch and Abraham Ancer are “hypocritical” about wanting ranking points at the BMW PGA Championship as they didn’t play in an event prior to LIV Golf…when he and Jon Rahm targeted unwanted Saudi rebels went off
- Billy Horschel believes LIV golfers only participate to earn world ranking points
- John Rahm felt the same way, saying LIVers “don’t care about the history of the event”.
- Other PGA loyalists like Rory McIlroy say it’s “hard to take” to see LIV players.
Storms in the sky over Wentworth, thunder at the microphones in a media tent below.
If there were any thoughts that the factions of the Gulf Civil War could coexist in harmony for a week, they were resoundingly blown apart at yesterday’s DP World Tour flagship event.
It would have been extremely optimistic to have expected the BMW PGA Championship to be held in peace due to the presence of 17 players who now derive the majority of their livelihood from the LIV circuit.
But nonetheless, the clumsiness was taken to a lively new level yesterday, with the professed belief of two of the world’s top golfers that the Rebels should have no place in the tournament. Defending champion Billy Horschel was the most emphatic in his criticism, naming Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Abraham Ancer, Talor Gooch and Bernd Wiesberger as players who have their cake and eat it.
But there were similar sentiments from former world No. 1 Jon Rahm, whose wrath was reserved for those who have typically avoided tournaments in Europe.
The fact that those same LIV players have come here now to earn valuable World Ranking points – unattainable in America due to their split from the PGA Tour – has set a feverish backdrop for tomorrow’s opening round.
Billy Horschel will defend his BMW PGA Championship title against LIV Golfers this week
World No. 15 Horschel said: “They have signed a contract with LIV, taking into account that they may not get any of the rewards that they had on the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour. They put a prize number on it. This is the contract they signed with LIV.
“I’ve spoken to Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood and Bernd Wiesberger, guys I get on well with. I don’t blame them for making that decision. But you’ve made a decision that will weaken both tours.
“Even though Westwood and Poulter have been loyal for the European Tour, I don’t think those guys should really be here. I don’t think the Americans who didn’t support the PGA Tour should be here.
“Abraham Ancer, Talor Gooch – you never played this tournament, you never supported the DP World Tour. Why are you here? They’re only here for one reason and that’s to try and earn world ranking points.
European Tour veterans Ian Poulter (L) and Lee Westwood (R) joined LIV Golf earlier this year
Horschel believes the players were “naïve” to think they wouldn’t be banned
“Some of these guys said they wanted to play less golf. It’s pretty hypocritical to come here and play outside of LIV when spending more time with family and playing less golf was your big thing.
Spain star Rahm was particularly saddened to see eligible LIV players here at the expense of regular DP World Tour golfers as the tour failed to legally uphold a ban.
Rahm said: “What I don’t understand is that some players who have never shown any interest in the European Tour have never shown any interest in playing this event and have been given an opportunity just because they are earning and hopefully making world ranking points can majors next year. A perfect example: A good friend of mine (Alfredo Garcia-Heredia) is the first on the entry list.
Jon Rahm struck at the LIV golfers set to compete at this week’s BMW PGA Championship
“It bugs me that someone who played 20 DP World events this year can’t play a flagship event because some people who deserve it to some degree are given an opportunity if they don’t get the event is less important.”
The LIV contingent will also include Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed and Graeme McDowell, with a number of Rebels present at yesterday’s players’ meet, along with the expected participation of Rory McIlroy, the favorite here, who has been the most vocal supporter of the traditional tours .
Meanwhile, the DP World Tour has announced the creation of the Hero Cup, a team event in January that will see Britain and Ireland face off against Europe in preparation for the Ryder Cup.