Scottie Scheffler says blame LIV Golf defectors for schism with PGA Tour, pro golf
CMC PGA Tour

Scottie Scheffler says blame LIV Golf defectors for schism with PGA Tour, pro golf

A photo of golfer Scottie Scheffler AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 27: Scottie Scheffler of the United States plays his shot from the first tee in his finals match against Kevin Kisner of the United States on the final day of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club on March 27, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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Golf fans have expressed their displeasure with where the professional game is at the moment.

PGA Tour ratings are down significantly on the whole, and some days, the year-over-year ratings for tournaments have been down by as much as 50 percent. For their part, LIV Golf hasn't really picked up many more television viewers over last year's debut season on The CW.

So the end result is fewer people watching golf on a weekly basis.

PGA Tour players and officials alike know the numbers tell a troubling story, and they've been more vocal in recent weeks in acknowledging that the focus has to get away from the billions of dollars injected into the game and pros' pockets at irrational valuations. The focus has to return to the fan.

However, Scottie Scheffler knows squarely where to point the blame. He points his finger at the players who left the PGA Tour and took the guaranteed money to play on LIV Golf.

“If the fans are upset, then look at the guys that left," Scheffler said. "We had a Tour, we were all together, and the people that left are no longer here. At the end of the day, that's where the splintering comes from.”

Jon Rahm is the latest superstar name to take that money and go to LIV Golf. He has cited the June 6 announcement of the framework agreement between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund as a watershed moment in how he viewed the whole thing. Scheffler doesn't see it that way, though. He sees it more plainly: There was a whole PGA Tour, then the Saudis came and dangled big money, and the players who took that money created a schism that remains unresolved.

For the PGA Tour players that remain, including Scheffler, the goal is to put their best collective foot forward.

“I think we're trying to do our best to create the best product for the fans, but we can't control whether or not guys want to leave,” said Scheffler on Tuesday at The Players Championship.

“If guys want to go take the money and leave, then that's their decision. I'm not going to sit here and tell guys not to take hundreds of millions of dollars. If that's what they think is best for their life, then go do it. I'm not going to sit here and force guys to stay on our Tour. But at the end of the day, this is where I want to be, and we're continuing to grow what we're doing, and what they're doing is not really a concern to me."

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is a scratch golfer...sometimes.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

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