Defectors and PGA Loyalists Play Alongside Each Other at the U.S. Open
By: Angelina Wang
At Thursday’s monumental U.S. Open, golfers who had deserted the PGA to join the LIV Golf International series played side by side with those who stuck with the American tour.
PGA tournaments had long been the biggest golf tournaments in the world. However, a new challenger has approached. The LIV Golf International series is a golf tournament in which the Saudi Arabian government is a major investor, which has made it controversial because of Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations. The tournament has offered obscene amounts of to entice big-name players to join: $200 million alone was proffered to Phil Mickelson, the American professional golfer and winner of 2 PGA Championships, 3 Masters titles, and 1 U.S. Open Championship. He, alongside others, took the money and joined the LIV Golf tour.
How would the U.S. Open play out with both PGA loyalists and LIV newcomers competing against each other?
On Thursday, there were 12 groups with a mixed composition of both PGA and LIV players. Amidst the whoops and cheers and clapping, there was some negativity from the crowd of onlookers – someone cried, “Sellout!” when Mickelson headed towards the fourth goal. Mickelson showed no reaction.
Overall, the competitors acted very civilly towards each other, despite now being on different sides. For example, PGA golfers Jon Rahm of Spain and Collin Morikawa of America, and LIV player James Piot of America were grouped together, but acted as if it were just another golf match.
Later on, when asked about fellow Spanish golf player Sergio Garcia’s decision to join LIV, Jon Rahm responded that it is “Not my business.”
Regarding new LIV player Dustin Johnson, PGA loyalist Justin Thomas said “You can disagree with the decision. You can maybe wish that they did something differently. But for people at home to necessarily say that Dustin Johnson is now a bad person, that’s not fair. That’s just not right.”