Harrington: LIV golfers should be allowed to contest Majors

Fatiha Betscher
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Harrington: LIV golfers should be allowed to contest Majors

Padraig Harrington (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Padraig Harrington believes those qualified LIV Tour players should be afforded the opportunity to tee-up in the four men’s majors just like their former PGA Tour and DP World Tour colleagues.

For Harrington, commenting ahead of this week’s BMW PGA Championship, many of his long-time friends and former Ryder Cup colleagues now with LIV are competing this week at Tour HQ.

“Nobody is paying me to support LIV and the PGA is my bread and butter,” said the now 51-year-old.

“But I strongly believe the majors should stay above everything. I would not want to turn up at a major and not play against the best players in the world. They need to say, ‘We’re above all this’.

“Though this is the first time I’ve done an interview where I didn’t want to, I’ve been procrastinating about it, putting it off. Why? Because an opinion now can be taken as dissent. It’s an awkward time. It’s so volatile.”

At this stage of the season, only the green jacket brigade at Augusta National seem set to allow the entry of LIV Golf into the 2023 Masters, and with many of the major LIV Golf signings being past Augusta National champions including Phil Mickelson, Charl Schwartzel, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson.

With Harrington an R&A ambassador, it’s not the line being taken by the St Andrews based body, and when it comes to the other three majors, the R&As Martin Slumbers and USGA’s CEO Mike Whan are very much in the same corner as the PGA Tour’s embattled Jay Monahan who wants them banned from the majors.

Indeed, those who attended the 150th Open Championship will recall Slumbers comments on the eve of the St Andrews major when he said: “There is no such thing as a free lunch. I believe the model we’ve seen at the first two LIV events is not in the best long-term interests of the sport as a whole and is entirely driven by money.”

Harrington, who captured last fortnight’s Dicks Sporting Goods Open in the Champions Tour, sat on the Ryder Cup voting panel that appointed Henrik Stenson, and also was among those in voting for Luke Donald to succeed the Swede.

But the Irishman, while supportive of LIV golfers being allowed into the majors, is against them collecting world-ranking points at tournaments other than the DP World Tour’s flagship event at Wentworth.

And in a comparison of this unprecedented golfing war, Harrington likens what is unfolding as what we saw in the world of cricket when the Indian Premier League (IPL) was founded in 2007, with the International Cricket Council (ICC) refusing to formally recognise the breakaway league and nor did India’s own Cricket Board of Control.

“In the end the IPL became the mainstream,’ said Harrington in his interview with The Times.

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