Pieters explains LIV move and it had nothing to do with Riviera snub

John Craven

Thomas Pieters (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)

Thomas Pieters insists missing out on last week’s Genesis Invitational had nothing to do with his decision to join LIV Golf.

The Belgian put out a Tweet ahead of last week’s $20m tournament at Riviera to express his disappointment at missing out on his favourite events of the year despite being a top-50 player in the world:

“Sad to miss my favourite tournament of the year,” he wrote. “Because well as #34 in world, I just couldn’t get in.”

A few days later, Pieters confirmed that he had signed for the Saudi-backed circuit ahead of this week’s opening event in Mexico but while many drew a line between his omission from Riv and his decision to jump ship, he claims the two weren’t linked.

“Honestly, I know how it must have looked, but it had nothing to do with it,” Pieters told GolfDigestUS. “I was talking to my friends, and they were saying ‘Hey, we can’t wait to watch that pairing with Tiger [Woods] and Rory [McIlroy] and JT [Justin Thomas],’ and I just became a bit angry that I wasn’t playing as World No. 34. [The tweet] was just bad timing, I guess.”

In fact, Pieters revealed he’s wanted to join LIV Golf since its first event in London last summer and will make his debut as part of Bubba Watson’s Range Goats at the expense of the injured Hudson Swafford.

“Hudson got injured, and I had a call saying do you want the spot,” Pieters said. “You don’t wish ill on anyone, and I hope Hudson recovers soon. As a professional you have to take opportunities when they arise. It has been a whirlwind since then, really, sorting everything out and getting everything ready over the weekend.”

Pieters accepts his decision could have ramifications for his Ryder Cup future but like many of his fellow LIV players, he cited more time with the family and less golf for his decision to ultimately make the move.

“It was difficult, for sure,” said the 31-year old.

“The Ryder Cup has always been an ambition and it was a dream to play in 2016. I’ve been trying to get back ever since. I enjoyed the Hero Cup, but accept the consequences of this choice, whatever they turn out to be.”

He added of LIV’s 14 event schedule; “Of course, with the two young children it is all attractive. I’ve struggled playing 26 events a year, to be honest. As a father it suits me to have a lighter schedule.

“I have never wanted to play full-time on the PGA Tour because I don’t think you can do that and live where I want. With LIV, it is [nine] weeks in America, sure, but with 14 [five overseas] in total, that is preferable for me and my game.”

Pieters played 19 events in 2022, including the four Majors.

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