LIV Golf Players Defend Controversial Saudi-Backed Series, Say They’re Only ‘Here To Play Golf’

by Bryan Fyalkowski

Thursday starts LIV Golf’s first event in the United States. The 54-hole event will take place at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, about 20 miles northwest of Portland, Oregon.

New LIV Golf players – most notably Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed and Pat Perez – had to answer tough questions from the media at their press conferences on Tuesday. The three seemed put off with any question that did not have to do specifically with their play on the course.

Some of the questions were obviously aimed toward the fact that the Saudi government – who Phil Mickelson called “scary motherf—ers” – funds the new venture with a $2 billion investment.

“I understand the topics you’re trying to bring up and they’re horrible events. But I’m here to play golf,” Perez – who won three times in 20 years on the PGA Tour – said.

“People are allowed to have their opinions, we’ve heard it, everybody has,” Koepka added. “Our only job is to play golf. We’re trying to grow the game.”

LIV Golf Schedule More Reasonable Than PGA Tour

Some of the reporters asked why these players defected to LIV Golf from the PGA Tour. They highlighted some things they did not like about their previous setup, and it is hard to say these guys are wrong.

“I’ve been on the road longer than (23-year-old) Matt Wolff has been alive,” the 46-year-old Perez said. “The bottom line is, I’m tired of being on the road. This is like winning the lottery.”

Reed – who won nine PGA Tour events in 10 years, including the 2018 Masters – agreed with Perez’s opinion. The schedule was too much of a grind. And, over the years, he said commissioner Jay Monahan did not take players’ concerns about it seriously.

Brooks Koepka Headlines New Batch of LIV Golfers

On June 21, the 32-year-old star announced he would be the newest PGA Tour-to-LIV Golf defector. He instantly joined Mickelson and Dustin Johnson as two of the most notable players to join the Saudi-backed endeavor.

Koepka won back-to-back PGA Championships in 2018 and 2019, after winning back-to-back U.S. Opens in 2017 and 2018. He was the first player in golf history to hold back-to-back major championship victories simultaneously.

The week before the 122nd U.S. Open at The Country Club, Koepka was very defensive when asked questions about LIV Golf.

“I’m here at the U.S. Open,” he said. “I’m ready to play the U.S. Open, and I think it kind of sucks, too, you are all throwing this black cloud over the U.S. Open. It’s one of my favorite events. I don’t know why you guys keep doing that. The more legs you give [LIV Golf], the more you keep talking about it.”

Turns out: Money talks, bulls— walks.