Rich Beem reckons the way to stop the LIV Golf Series in its tracks is to stop talking about it.
With 17 rebels at Wentworth this week overshadowing the BMW PGA Championship, and an International Presidents Cup team announcement dominated more by who wasn’t playing, the Sky Sports Golf commentator said it would be “unbelievable” if the sport came together to silence the Saudi-backed venture.
Asked about the effect of the defections on golf and team events, Beem, speaking to NCG at the Rich Beem Yorkshire Invitational at Ilkley Golf Club, said: “The more we talk about it, the more relevance we give to them.
“If we stop talking about it, and we ignore them – the media – that’s the greatest thing we can do. That would anger them so much.
“If everybody just stopped talking about this, collectively – not writing about it, not talking about it – that’d be unbelievable.”
With Talor Gooch, Abraham Ancer, and Jason Kokrak causing controversy by teeing it up in Surrey, despite having never played in the tournament before, Beem said he preferred to focus his attention on the stellar names supporting the DP World Tour’s flagship event.
But, while admitting he had no idea how the LIV saga was going to end, he was unanimous in believing it wasn’t “good for the game”.
“I don’t want to look at those players and solely focus on them because I think that the event deserves a hell of a lot more than that,” he explained.
“If you start talking more about the players and LIV then you give the LIV tour significance.
“I’m not saying these players aren’t significant, and they’re not great, but they chose to go and play somewhere else – and now they want to come back to the flagship event.
“Some of them are just doing it because of their world rankings. They’re still inside the top 50 in the world.
“It’s disappointing. It’s almost like they’re doing it to prove a point that they’ve supported the European Tour for so many years and they feel, I don’t say entitled, which they are to a point, but I thought that when they left, they thought, ‘I don’t have to play as much. I don’t have to do this as much. I don’t have to go to X, Y, and Z as much.’
“So, wait a second, you go to another tour, where you can spend more time at home with your family and friends and have more freedoms.
“And yet, you just get done playing in Boston and you fly over here to come to play in the flagship event and you know full well that you’re not going to be very well received.
“I know what Sergio said but I’m sorry, I think that the fans are going to get under his skin knowing him as well as I do.
“It’s too bad. It’s not good for the game. But these guys want to play, they’re exempt for it, and they’ve got to let them play.“
Beem arrived at Wentworth following his support for the Age Partnership Rich Beem Yorkshire Invitational at Ikley, where he has stepped into Ian Woosnam’s shoes to host the event.
There is speculation the West Yorkshire venue could host a future Legends Tour event, which would bring top-flight competitive golf back to the county for the first time in three decades.
Beem said the Ilkley layout was definitely up to the challenge. “It’s got enough teeth to it and length to it that it could absolutely be an event on the Legends Tour.
“You’ve got to know where you’re going, the bunkers are strategically placed, especially on the back nine, and the greens have enough movement that will make you think. It’s a great venue.
“I hope it all works out. I think the golf course would be fantastic.”
Rich Beem was speaking at the Age Partnership Rich Beem Yorkshire Invitational at Ikley Golf Club. Picture of Beem at Ilkley courtesy of Roam Harrison.
Could the golf ball be rolled back for everyone?