Fifteen-time PGA Tour winner Justin Thomas has been among the more outspoken players to criticize those joining the rival Saudi-backed golf league. But for Thomas, it’s personal.
During a recent appearance on the NLU Podcast, Thomas opened up about his feelings about the PGA Tour defectors, saying he would have more “respect” if those players came out and said that they joined LIV Golf for the money.
“I go back and forth about how involved I should be, how involved I shouldn’t be, what I should say, what I shouldn’t say, what I want to say and what I know I can’t say and back and forth of all these different things,” Thomas explained.
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“I understand they’re being fed everything what to say and all this stuff, but it’s just … For them to say that this is all for the betterment of the game, I just, to be perfectly honest, I just wish one of them would have the b—s to say I’m doing this for the money.
“Like, I personally would gain a lot more respect for that. But it’s just the more the players keep talking and saying that this is for the betterment of the game, the more agitated and irritated I get about it.”
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Thomas went on to explain that the possibility of litigation is also a real threat to the Tour, and more importantly, the players once called teammates and friends.
“I heard someone that brought up a good point … They’re saying that I’m sure at some point, you know, some sort of lawsuits will be going, and if any of those guys that left to go play the other tour sue the [PGA] Tour, they’re suing me, they’re suing Rory [McIlroy], they’re suing Tiger [Woods], they’re suing every single one of us that they’ve looked in the face … So like, to me, that’s where a little bit of the betrayal and the upsetting and sad feelings come from.”
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Sixteen members of the European tour have already threatened legal action against the DP World Tour over its fines and suspensions. CEO Keith Pelley fired back on Friday, saying the players knew there would be consequences when they signed up for big money.
He added that the players act as if they care deeply about Europe but have not played many of the tour’s big events.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.