LIV golf stars SHOULD be able to play the majors, insists Padraig Harrington as he wants to compete against ‘the best in the world’ … but admits he ‘delays’ talking about Saudi-backed series
- The Irishman has assisted golf managers to solve the qualifying points problem
- LIV players are not eligible for many PGA events other than Wentworth
- Harrington also compared the formation of the LIV league to Cricket’s IPL in 2007
- Back then, players who joined the IPL were banned from their domestic leagues
- Players who join the PGA’s LIV league experience similar results
Padraig Harrington says LIV players should be prepared before the BMW PGA Championship, which is due to take place on March 8th.
The two-time Open champion, 51, said he would be against LIV golfers who would earn world ranking points at tournaments other than the DP World Tour’s flagship event at Wentworth.
He also compared the current polarization of golf between LIV and PGA circuits to the Indian Premier League of cricket, formed in 2007. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the International Cricket Council (ICC) gave no recognition to the domestic league.
In addition, the BBCI attempted to crush the rival side by increasing prize money at national tournaments and barring players from joining the then-new league.
“In the end, the IPL went mainstream,” Harrington told the Times, suggesting a similar outcome to the LIV circuit.
Padraig Harrington, 51, said he wanted the best LIV players to play in the majors
The Irishman added that the qualifying points issue needs to be resolved ahead of the start of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on September 8th
The 2008 PGA Championships winner went on to admit that he “has a lot of friends who went to LIV” and he doesn’t want to “throw them under the bus.”
“Nobody pays me to support LIV and the PGA is my bread and butter,” he continued. “This is the first time I’ve given an interview I didn’t want to. I procrastinated, procrastinated. Why? Because an opinion can now be counted as a dissent. It’s an uncomfortable time. It’s so volatile.’
Unlike Harrington, other influential figures in golf, including The R&A CEO Martin Slumbers and USGA CEO Mike Whan, have sided with the PGA Tour.
Speaking at the British Open Old Course in St Andrews in July, Slumbers said: “There is no such thing as a free lunch. I believe the model we saw [at the first two LIV events] is not in the best long-term interests of the sport as a whole and is solely driven by money.’
His comments have raised fears of increased eligibility criteria for LIV games to qualify for the world’s oldest golf tournament.
The same applies to the US Open. Whan was asked if he could predict the event becoming more selective over time, to which he replied “yes.”
However, Harrington has warned golf managers against creating differences between golfers.
“I really believe that the majors should come first,” said the recent Dick’s Sporting Good Open champion. “I don’t want to show up at a major and I don’t want to play against the best players in the world. You have to say, “We are above it all.”
Harrington poses with the trophy after the final round of the DICK’S Sporting Goods Open at En-Joie Golf Club on August 21, 2022 in Endicott, New York
Former world No. 1 Martin Kaymer withdrew from Wentworth’s opening day on Thursday after revealing LIV players would not be involved in TV groupings in pro-AM
Former German No. 1 and two-time Major winner Martin Kaymer has already opted not to play at Wentworth after discovering LIV players are banned from TV groups and Pro-AM.
Harrington compared the current climate of sport to the political tensions in Washington DC and stressed the need for a resolution on what he believes to be the most contentious issue: Qualification for world ranking points.
LIV Golf Invitational Series participants are not yet eligible for World Ranking Points.
This is causing a major headache for players who are attracted to the new course but also want to compete in some of golf’s most prestigious tournaments.
However, LIV players will be able to take part in the DP World Tour while awaiting an appeal against sanctions announced for breaching regulations in February when the creation of the Saudi-backed league was announced.
For now, LIV players are banned from most PGA events after the organizer of the top professional golf tours won its legal battle to exempt them from the FedEx Cup.
“If LIV had world ranking points and these players showed up [at Wentworth] I would protest myself,” Harrington told The Times. “But they have to protect their position and that’s the only way.”