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Hall of Famer Retief Goosen forecasts fearful future for the PGA Tour

World Golf Hall of Famer Retief Goosen has great concerns for the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour as LIV Golf continues to snatch some of their biggest names…

 

The PGA Tour and the DP World Tour are in trouble if you ask two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen.

The sweet-swinging South African, who built his profile in Europe before conquering America, believes the circuits in both continents have suffered from losing its biggest stars to LIV Golf.

Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, and now Jon Rahm have jumped ship to boost the credentials of the lucrative Saudi-funded league while weakening the strength of the PGA Tour’s fields.

The DP World Tour has seen an exodus of several Ryder Cup legends to Greg Norman’s LIV Golf roster as well. Goosen, who now plies his trade on the PGA Tour Champions, hopes the three main circuits can find an agreement in the negotiations which were made public in a shock announcement last summer.

“Greg Norman was the first one who came out with the world tour many years ago, the world golf events,” he told NCG. “But the PGA Tour actually stole the idea from him, and I think there was a court case at one stage about that, and then now he’s started that again. This time, he’s started his own thing with the Saudis.

“The PGA Tour is in trouble, that’s for sure, and the European Tour. I do not know how they’re going to manage to get the big guys back to play on their tours. If I were a sponsor on the PGA Tour now, I wouldn’t be really happy with the way it’s going on the tour in the way of these big names leaving.

“I hope that they will come to an agreement, these three big tours now, to get the players back playing a number of events on all the tours instead of them leaving. It’s great for the players that are paying on the LIV Tour, they’re making a lot of money and that’s always been the case.”

Money is somewhere near the centre of every move made in golf in 2024. The PGA Tour and the DP World Tour appeared on the verge of an alliance with the Public Investment Fund, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund that bankrolls LIV Golf last June, but talks have somewhat stalled.

The financial benefits for the PGA Tour to join forces with the PIF have been somewhat negated as the circuit has now agreed on a deal worth $3 billion with Strategic Sports Group (SSG), a US-based sports investment consortium headed by Fenway Sports Group.

The LIV League’s acquisition of Rahm and his European Ryder Cup teammate Tyrrell Hatton, cumulatively costing Saudi around £500 million, has also cast doubt on the likelihood of the PGA Tour striking a deal with the PIF, as big names continue to hop to the other side of the fence.

Retief Goosen

Retief Goosen: PGA Tour could be the new No.2

While speaking to NCG, Goosen used himself as an example of “following the money.” The 55-year-old won three times on the Sunshine Tour in his home nation before graduating to the formerly-named European Tour where he won for the first time in 1996.

His first win on the PGA Tour happened to be at the 2001 US Open. He would go on to win seven times in America, including his second US Open title at Shinnecock Hills in 2004.

In 346 PGA Tour events, Goosen made a little over $31 million. In just 24 LIV Golf events, Dustin Johnson has earned over $52 million, a staggering mark that signifies LIV and the PIF’s intent to rock the world of professional golf to its financial core.

South African stars such as Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel form the spine of LIV’s Stingers GC, two fellow major champions that Goosen keeps in touch with, but sees less of now they’ve taken new career paths.

Not that Goosen said he would join LIV if the option presented itself at the peak of his powers, but he pondered if the PGA Tour should admit secondary status in golf’s ecosystem now that $25 million purses are offered at each LIV Golf event.

“I started off in South Africa, then I came to Europe because there was more money, then I went to America because there was more money,” he added.

“Everybody follows the money, at the end of the day, that’s what it’s about. We don’t go out there and work and play just for the fun of it, we try and keep it fun but it’s your job. You’re trying to make as much as you can.

“Money did the talking. It’s a business decision for the two of them (Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton).

“It’s hard to say no to that kind of money and then you play for so much money too, so maybe the PGA Tour should just say, ‘We are not the No.1 tour anymore, we are No.2, like the European Tour has always been to the PGA Tour.

“It’s a great tour and there’s lots of money, great, great, great, but you just don’t have the most money anymore, we’re now number two.”

NOW READ: Where would Retief Goosen’s career earnings put him in the LIV Golf money table?

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Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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