The signs were there and the dots were joining together when Thomas Pieters tweeted his annoyance at missing out on the 2023 Genesis Invitational on the PGA Tour.
Despite being ranked significantly higher in the world than some competitors at Riviera Country Club, Pieters wasn’t eligible to play which was possibly a contributing factor to his decision.
The Telegraph has reported that the 31-year-old Belgian has made the controversial switch to LIV Golf ahead of the final team announcements.
The league backed by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia was due to announce the final four teams on Friday, but this was delayed until Monday to likely accommodate the late acquisition of Pieters.
As with the likes of Graeme McDowell, who pictured himself as the 2027 European Ryder Cup captain at Adare Manor, Pieters has virtually ruled out future involvement in the famous team event.
Seven years after his debut for Team Europe, Pieters had a strong chance to qualify for Luke Donald’s side which faces USA in Italy in November.
He is a seven-time winner on the DP World Tour and he recently came tied for sixth at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic.
He earned 5.60314 Official World Golf Ranking points for this performance which could be the last ranking points he earns for a while if he exclusively competes in the LIV Golf League.
LIV Golf events currently don’t qualify for world ranking points, so we can expect to see Pieters’ ranking of 34th tumble in 2023.
We await the results of the hearing that recently took place in London with the DP World Tour to discover if they rightfully punished players for playing in LIV Golf events despite not being granted releases in 2022.
This could determine if LIV players can still compete on the DP World Tour, which could leave the Ryder Cup and world ranking points doors ajar for Pieters.
But for now, he has joined the likes of Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter among the most well-known European faces on Greg Norman’s roster.
Pieters is known not only for his impressive CV on what used to be known as the European Tour, but he also has a fiery reputation and wears his heart on his sleeve on the golf course.
His Tour colleague Dean Burmester has also been linked with a move to LIV and could join Stinger GC in the roster announcements alongside his South African countrymen Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.
With the reported moves of Pieters and Burmester, Mito Pereira is the only other notable figure that LIV has recruited to strengthen the profile and quality of their fields in 2023.
Players such as Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay have before been linked but this has proven to be just a rumour without substance.
The first LIV Golf event of the second season begins on February 24 at Mayakoba, a venue that the new circuit could claim they’ve nabbed from the PGA Tour.
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