‘I Don't Think It's Growing The Game’ - Former Ryder Cupper On LIV Golf

Nicolas Colsaerts has dismissed claims the Saudi-backed venture is widening the appeal of the game

Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium reacts on the 1st hole during a practice round before the 2022 BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The BMW PGA Championship begins at Wentworth this week, but while the DP World Tour’s flagship event is a prestigious occasion in its own right, there is added interest this year because of the inclusion of 17 LIV Golf players in the field.

As a result, much of the focus has once again been on the Saudi-backed venture, meaning that even a tournament boasting an $8m purse and the availability of European Ryder Cup points is struggling to take centre stage. 

Video: What Is LIV Golf?

One player who'll be teeing it up at Wentworth is 2012 Ryder Cup star Nicolas Colsaerts, but before concentrating on the matter at hand, the Belgian told Golf Monthly that he doesn't think the Series is doing the positive things for the game LIV Golf claim. He said: “I don’t think it’s growing the game, no, I don’t think it’s growing the game. I do agree with a lot of stuff that they do. I do agree with 54 holes, I do agree with music, noise and all that kind of stuff, I do agree with that. Shorts? Yeah, maybe, yeah... the shotgun tee. I can’t possibly think that anybody switches on their TV and thinks like, ‘Oh, I’m going to follow the Hy Flyers.’ But I do agree that the game needs some modernisation. I just don’t want it to be vulgar.”

On the subject of the LIV Golf players who will be joining him on Wentworth’s West Course this week, Colsaerts was even more dismissive. He said: “You have guys coming back here thinking they should do whatever they want. You don’t do what you want at school and you don’t do what you want in a team environment when you play team sports when you’re young – there are rules and you’ve got to follow the rules, and believe me, I hate rules, but there are rules that you can’t bend.”

The LIV Golf players are taking advantage of an exemption category that allows the world’s top 60 players to compete in the tournament while they await the outcome of a legal battle to determine their DP World Tour futures. That has led to some discontent among other players in the field, including Rory McIlroy, Matt Fitzpatrick, Jon Rahm and Billy Horschel. Colsaerts also admitted the potential ‘them and us’ situation is hardly ideal. He said: “People have been talking about it for months and it’s a shame because most of these guys we like, and we don’t want it to be like that. We’re not the ones poking at them, they’re the ones poking at us, so that’s why it’s disappointing.”

Colsaerts goes into the tournament hoping to add to his three wins on the Tour, with his last victory on it coming in the 2019 Amundi Open de France.

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.