Playing in fewer majors was something Harold Varner III and his LIV teammates considered before joining LIV Golf, but this didn’t bother the American.
Brooks Koepka won his fifth major at the PGA Championship in May and showed how LIV players can still take advantage of their limited opportunities to compete in ranked events.
Like many of his colleagues, HV3 has dropped in the world rankings to 76th, having reached 35th at one stage, and, while not being in the field for next week’s Open Championship, could continue to lose more major exemptions.
But Varner revealed in his typical straight-talking fashion this wasn’t an issue on his mind when asked if his future involvement in majors was a concern.
“That’s above my pay grade,” he told NCG at LIV Golf London. “If I was worried about not playing in the majors, I don’t think I would’ve come to LIV.
“But at the end of the day, you’ve still got to play good golf and I haven’t been playing well and it kind of sucks.”
The 32-year-old has more than held his own at the major championships in 2023, and he played in all four of golf’s biggest events for the first time last year.
A missed cut at the 2022 US Open didn’t cloud his tied 23rd finish at the Masters, nor his impressive top-30 place at The 150th Open at St Andrews.
“I played well, it was great. It was fun and there was a lot going on that week, that’s for sure,” Varner said.
“It was at St Andrews, I’d been there before that and the week before, I’d stayed in Dublin for six or seven days. I had a great time, and I had a great run. It was great weather, so it was awesome.”
Varner never won on the PGA Tour before leaving the US circuit. He came tied for second at the RBC Heritage in 2021, then tied for third at the same event last season.
He was born in Akron, Ohio, but attended East Carolina University and now resides in Charlotte, North Carolina – home to what he told us was his favourite PGA Tour event.
He went to watch a close friend play in the Wells Fargo Championship back in May at Quail Hollow. Fellow Charlotte resident Trace Crowe finished in tied 27th at the venue Varner is a member of.
Varner’s affection for the course was no secret and he admitted this event was one he still holds closest dear to his heart.
“That’s in my backyard, it’s only five minutes away. But I don’t really miss it, I went out there and I had a great time.
“I got to watch some golf and one of my good friends Monday qualified, so I went out there for the Thursday, Friday and Sunday, so it was awesome.
Varner chose his new career path in August last year and in May, he secured his first LIV Golf event in DC. He described his time in the breakaway league as “pretty awesome,” but still named a couple of players he tries to keep in contact with.
“The best you can. It’s hard to see them as much, but the ones that live in Charlotte I do,” he said. “I haven’t seen Webb (Simpson) in a while.
“I used to see Webb quite a bit. Mackenzie Hughes and I trade texts here and there. “The best I can, I don’t really care. It’s not like we were hanging out before, or every day you’re hanging out with the same people.”
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