'I Think They've Been Brainwashed' - Horschel On LIV Golf Defectors

The American doesn't see any way back for LIV Golf players suspended by the PGA Tour

Billy Horschel takes a shot at the 150th Open at St Andrews
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The issue of LIV Golf players’ future on the PGA Tour has been thrust back into the spotlight over the last week thanks to a lawsuit filed by 11 players against their suspensions by the Tour.

While the full trial to determine the outcome of the lawsuit is not expected to take place for another year, the questions over the legality of the suspensions are likely to go unanswered for some time.

Video: What Is LIV Golf?

However, one player who is certain that those teeing it up in the Saudi-backed Series won’t be coming back to the PGA Tour is Billy Horschel. Speaking to The Golf Channel, the 35-year-old American said: "I've said to some of the guys personally, I think they've been brainwashed. The way they feel so adamant that they're going to be back on the PGA Tour. I've had some of them tell me, 'I'll see you on Tour again.' I said, 'No, you won't.'"

Earlier this week, the PGA Tour scored a victory in its hardline stance against LIV Golf players it’s suspended when a hearing to determine the outcome of a temporary restraining order as part of the lawsuit ruled against Hudson Swafford, Talor Gooch and Matt Jones. The trio had hoped the action would enable them to play in the FedEx Cup Playoffs which start this week with the FedEx St. Jude Championship.

Before that ruling, the PGA Tour had dismissed the lawsuit as “legally baseless,” suggesting it’s confident of its chances of keeping the suspensions in place. Regardless, several LIV Golf players have expressed their desires to play on the PGA Tour again. One of those was Bryson DeChambeau who, as well as being one of the people named in the lawsuit, said in June: "I have not resigned my PGA Tour membership. I want to play the PGA Tour. It's not my decision for me if I can or can't play but I would love to continue to play and I would say give myself more opportunities to play.”

However, others, including Dustin Johnson and Kevin Na, have resigned from the PGA Tour, which suggests they see their futures elsewhere. Carlos Ortiz, meanwhile, has withdrawn his name from the lawsuit with his manager confirming he has decided to “move on”.  

Whether Horschel’s prediction proves to be correct remains to be seen, but with the PGA Tour unwavering in its tough stance against the players, it’s looking increasingly likely that the only way the suspensions will be overturned will be in the courtroom.

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.