Brooks Koepka's coach Claude Harmon III didn't pull any punches in a recent interview regarding the criticism of LIV Golf, its competitors and the behaviour of certain members of the media
Before and after Brooks Koepka teed off on his way to becoming a five-time major champion last week, his coach Claude Harmon III began a strongly-worded rant in defense of his most successful student.
While speaking to Golfweek, Harmon launched a staunch defense of the LIV Golf League and the players who chose to leave the PGA Tour for lucrative contracts offers.
Some doubted the motivation of players such as Koepka and Dustin Johnson, two players Harmon has coached, after accepting reported nine-figure offers, but CH3 asserted this couldn’t be further from the truth.
“You guys all think LIVs, maybe you’ve changed your tune, but initially, it was all just bulls**t,” he said. “A bunch of guys playing who didn’t care, who got the money, who got the bag, and it’s 54 holes and there’s no competition.
“It was easy for you guys to just pretend like these guys just weren’t good players anymore. And I think you guys largely did that because you drank the Kool-Aid of everybody else.
“But how you guys all thought these guys just weren’t going to show up and be great players is beyond me. I think it is an interesting Jedi mind trick they played on you guys and you guys fell for it.
“Because you guys were all, ‘These guys were all washed up. They took the bag. They’re insignificant. They play against no competition’. And that’s just not the case.
“If I’m critical of you guys in the media, you guys portrayed this as (Brooks) took the money and then Tiger came out with his comment. Tiger, the ultimate guy who got all the money upfront.
“He flew to his first professional golf tournament on Nike’s private jet, and he wasn’t paying for it. So you guys pushed this narrative and pretended like LIV was an exhibition, nobody watched it, you guys didn’t report on it, none of you guys came to the tournaments.”
This was just the beginning. Harmon also directed his rant toward Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee and Eamon Lynch – two figures in the media who’ve been vocal on the LIV vs PGA Tour battle.
“Brandel is a paid actor by NBC and Golf Channel,” he added. “All he’s trying to do is get his lines and shows for the Golf Channel. He’s just trying to get lines for Brandel.
“I love him, I think Eamon is a fantastic writer, but for Eamon Lynch and Brandel Chamblee, who worked for NBC Golf Channel to utter the words ‘sports washing’ when the company they work for televised the last two Winter Olympics in Russia and China with the same leaders that they’ve had.
“It’s not like they were good leaders back then. It’s not like Putin was a good guy, right?”
Harmon, who is the son of legendary golf coach Butch Harmon, has now won eight major titles as a coach, five of which have come when working with Koepka, while he also helped Johnson to each of his wins at the US Open and the Masters.
Having worked closely with the world’s best players, Harmon believes the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, and Scottie Scheffler should be paid to appear at PGA Tour events “because it’s how good you are.”
And he carries this same logic over to LIV – but at the heart of Harmon’s outburst seems to be the alleged disrespect thrown towards Koepka and his decision to join the Saudi-financed league.
The three-time PGA Championship winner said he “did what was best for him” at the time of switching to Greg Norman’s breakaway circuit, and Harmon has grown tired of the perceived lack of credit in Koepka’s direction.
“There are a lot of people that have gone through this whole LIV versus the PGA Tour, there are a lot of people that you guys on the Tour side, blow smoke up their a***s like they’re world beaters.
“And some of these guys haven’t won tournaments in quite a long time. The fact that Will Zalatoris is top 10 in the world is laughable, and it has nothing to do with him.
“But my point with that is you guys all acted like Brooks was a sh***y player and Will Zalatoris was great, but the guy has won one golf tournament, yeah, he’s finished second in a bunch of tournaments.
“But you guys are ready to crown him as if he’s the second coming of Christ and you guys are acting like Brooks Koepka was a bum. Seriously, pre-Masters, that is what was happening.
“It’s just golf, there is some unbelievable golf being played on LIV. There really is because I see it week in and week out.”
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