Augusta should rise above pettiness towards LIV golfers

Ronan MacNamara

Cameron Smith laughs with Pat Perez and Dustin Johnson (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/LIV Golf/via Getty Images)

When you set such high standards over decades upon decades, it is important that you continue to live by them. Something that unfortunately was not done at last month’s World Golf Championship Match Play.

During the broadcast where Sky Sports are given live pictures from the Golf Channel, a graphic showing the past champions of the WGC Match Play was displayed on our television screens.

LIV Golf players were omitted from that list of winners with Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson’s names absent. The event will be scrapped for one year at least, with the list of champions dating back to Luke Donald’s win in 2011. In that time, however, two current LIV players were champions.


While showing history, the Golf Channel were attempting to re-write history in what was pure and utter petulance. Whether this was a PGA Tour directive is unknown but to erase Bubba and DJ from the winners’ list was crappy and juvenile.

A journalist’s job is to tell the truth, show the facts, not to manipulate them to suit a boring narrative… Which brings us to Augusta National and the issue of tee times.

Augusta produce their own tee times for each Masters Tournament with stellar group after stellar group being revealed on the Tuesday of the event. It is like the Hollywood stars of golf.

The expectation should be that Augusta rise above this petulance and not put LIV players in mundane three-balls at poor times. The Masters is a golf tournament they are entitled to be at, the exemptions dictate so.

Cameron Smith is the Open champion and he should be given a first and second round tee time that is becoming of the Champion Golfer of the Year.

For example, last year Collin Morikawa was grouped with Dustin Johnson and Billy Horschel while Shane Lowry was in the same group as a certain Tiger Woods.

The departure of players to LIV is of course disappointing and where the money is coming from is abhorrently wrong. However, when it comes to competition and the four majors which should stand above all in terms of integrity and humility, it’s just another golf tournament.

All Johnson, Smith and co have done is go and play golf on another tour. It’s not as if they are serving four life sentences for murder and should be excluded from all things golf.

As Pádraig Harrington said: “The majors are golf so I never want to see the majors affected.”

Absolutely, the LIV players should not be allowed to play on the PGA Tour or DP World Tour, you can’t have it both ways. But the bottom line is that they are allowed into the major championships and they should be treated equally with their PGA and DP World Tour counterparts.

As for the champions dinner? Once Reed and Garcia tuck into Scottie’s sliders and chew with their mouth closed, all will be fine.

Listen to our Masters & West of Ireland Preview Podcast

Stay ahead of the game. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest Irish Golfer news straight to your inbox!

More News

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy & Terms of Service apply.