Gary Player doesn't mind if you want to take up Greg Norman's offer or stay with the PGA Tour, But, he tells Steve Carroll, you can't have your cake and eat it
Gary Player has told LIV Golf’s rebels they shouldn’t expect to take part in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup.
The nine-time major champion on both the main and senior tours repeated that those players who signed up to the Saudi Arabia state-funded, Greg Norman-led series could not “have their cake and eat it”.
Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, and Graeme McDowell – all touted as possible future European Ryder Cup captains – have resigned their PGA Tour membership and are hoping to avoid a DP World Tour ban.
European Tour chief Keith Pelley is reportedly mulling over what action to take against those who have staked their futures with LIV Golf, but, talking about the PGA Tour, Player believes it’s a one-way trip for those who make the move – and they shouldn’t then “expect the courtesies” that come with being a member.
Speaking to NCG at Centurion, where he is an ambassador for Aramco Team Series, he said: “One of the things that bothers me at the moment about LIV Golf and the PGA Tour is the confrontation.
“I don’t like that, because golf is a game that I have respect for. It’s done miracles for me. So I’m very grateful for what golf and the PGA has done for me.
“But we must understand that freedom is on the wane. The majority of the world doesn’t practice freedom anymore and we’ve got to be careful. We’re falling into that category slowly, inch by inch. Freedom must remain.
“LIV are entitled to have their tour and the PGA Tour are entitled to have their tour. If somebody wants to leave the PGA Tour, that’s their choice. You are not going to stop them. If they want to leave, they are going to leave.
“But once you leave the PGA Tour, and you join the LIV tour, you can’t have your cake and eat it. You can’t resign from a business and expect to go back.
“They’ve decided to be on the LIV tour, that’s it. But don’t expect the courtesies and the other things that happen like Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup – to be participating in it.”
USGA chief executive Mike Whan has suggested LIV Golf players might be banned from playing in future US Opens.
With Dustin Johnson still in the mix at the US Open it raises the possibility of this week’s champion at Brookline not being allowed to defend their title.
But Player believes the bigger stumbling block will be the Official World Golf Ranking points that many competitors require to ensure their qualification to the big four events.
“You have to earn points to play in the majors and now they have left the tour, they are not going to be able to get the points and they won’t be able to play – as I see it. But that’s the choice that they have made.
“Again, you can’t have your cake and eat it. Too many players are expecting to have that and that’s where I think they are wrong. Play one tour or the other.”