Paul McGinley refuses to believe that golf has reached a crisis point but says that avoiding such a scenario very much hinges on where the world’s top-10 golfers choose to play in future.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, the former Ryder Cup Captain admitted he was sad to see how they game has been splintered since the arrival of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series and although he admits the direction the game is headed is a concern, he retains hope that the game’s best players will choose tradition over money.
“I don’t think crisis is a fair word,” McGinley said.
“There’s absolutely concern in the game, there needs to be a reaction from the current ecosystem within the game, and that includes the major championships. If that’s going to come, we don’t know, we’ll have to wait and see.
“There’s a long way to play out on this yet. Critically, at this moment in time, from the Tour’s point of view, the very top players in the game are all very much aligned with the Tour.
“There’s a lot of disgust, divisiveness with the players, and it’s really sad to see. From guys standing shoulder to shoulder for all of their careers, and now there’s a line in the sand and you’re on one side or the other.
“There’s also a lot of guys pledging allegiance to the Tour a few months ago, now gone down a different road. I know it’s an evolving situation, but it’s a really disappointing one if you’re a traditionalist and love the history of the game.”
“The big key for [PGA Commissioner] Jay Monahan is that the really, really top players in the game – the top 10 I’m talking about – are very much behind the Tour, including Matt Fitzpatrick.
“Should three or four of them break ranks, then I think you’ll be looking at a crisis period, but at this moment I don’t think it is.
“It’s very concerning, no doubt, but as long as the big superstars are staying on side with the Tours, I think they’ll continue to go down the route they’re going.”
McGinley also spoke about how players defecting to LIV could impact the future of the Ryder cup given current qualifying parameters outline that those competing at the biennial contest must be a member of the PGA and DP World Tours.
“We had a meeting this morning, it’s a real concern for us,” he said.
“You want the best 12 players from Europe against the 12 best from America, and that’s what it has been built on.
“It’s very hard to have team spirit when there’s division among your own team, with some players deciding to go down a different route.
“There’s a long way to play out on that, we haven’t reached any conclusions on that, I think a lot of consultation with the players will take place. Henrik Stenson is the captain, the points haven’t started yet, but by the time they do we’ll have to have definitive rules in place as to whether the players who are playing LIV will be eligible or not.”
Although McGinley refused to get drawn on the politics surrounding the player’s decision on the LIV subject, he was outspoken about the 54-hole, no-cut shotgun start format that LIV CEO Greg Norman has implemented.
“I’m not going to judge them, it’s not my job to be judge and jury and decide they’re right or wrong, but if you want to make that decision there are big consequences for those players over there,” McGinley said.
“The majors repeated they may well exclude them from major championships which could be a big thing, the PGA have already excluded them, the European Tour have not made their decision in that regard yet.
“So there will be repercussions for these players, but the upside is they’re getting a huge amount of money. It’s purely about the money, not growing the game.
“There’s room in the game for new ideas, but the 54 holes and in terms of it being a ‘Shotgun’ start, I don’t know if that is really representative of what we know professional golf to be, and the true test of golf is 72 holes, the mental challenge, and rising to a crescendo on 17 and 18.”
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