“God we miss Bryson, he was box office last week” – Harrington

Ronan MacNamara

Padraig Harrington (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Pádraig Harrington believes Bryson DeChambeau’s box-office performance at last week’s PGA Championship in Valhalla proved just how much some of the LIV players are missed on the PGA Tour.

DeChambeau was a bundle of entertainment despite finishing a shot shy of Xander Schauffele last week. Unfortunately, he will be absent from television screens until the US Open next month and it made Harrington realise how much he missed the presence of some of the LIV players on the main circuit.

“I didn’t realise when it came to LIV, you know, some of the guys left, and he said, you know, didn’t bother me. A lot of my friends went to LIV as well, but some of the guys left. But I realised last week, God, we missed Bryson,” Harrington told Golf Channel.

“Bryson was box office last week, and really, really helped that tournament, helped push Xander’s win on. It was fantastic. Interesting, exciting watching.

“So, yeah, we do miss. We miss those guys, I think, you know, as I said before, it’s hard to believe we miss Patrick Reed.”

While the Saudi backed LIV Golf League and the PGA Tour continue to operate as separate entities and the never-ending merger negotiations between the PGA Tour and PIF rumble on, it seems like the four major championships are going to be the only times in the season that the best players from both tours cross paths.

Harrington, a three-time major winner, has always felt that there is room for two big tours for the elite players.

“I seemed to live through the golden era of golf, when there was a very strong European Tour,” he told the Golf Channel.

“We didn’t realise at the time that the two tours being strong was. I felt, in hindsight, looks like it was a great thing. There’s not enough.

“If everybody plays the PGA Tour, there are not enough tournaments for everybody to win. You can’t build stars. It’s just so hard. Like, if Scotty wins eight tournaments this year and Rory wins five, and Xander wins four, what is everybody else going to win? So you need other big tours, whether it’s Europe or wherever else.”

The Dubliner feels there is enough space for rivalry from both tours which in turn could help churn out more stars in the game.

“Ultimately if you were looking for the perfect solution I would have at least the two tours and have some crossover like we did back in the day,  everybody’s got a bit of a chip on their shoulder. A certain amount of players can come and go back and forth, a few invites, something like that.

“Rivalries are a good thing in sport, it’s always been helpful, but we do need a solution – I will say that. We want to have weeks like last week at the PGA where we have the drama and have both sides, we need more of that for sure. But we don’t necessarily have to have everyone to be playing the same tournament at the same time.

“I know other people think that’s right. For me, if you get all the best players playing all the tournaments at the same time there’s just so few opportunities to win, it’s hard to create stars. I’m not averse to two strong tours and whatever goes with that.”

Harrington was speaking ahead of the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Harbour Shores where he will be looking to avenge his playoff defeat to Steve Stricker last year.

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