'I Would Not Let People Come Back If They’ve Gone To LIV' - Fitzpatrick

US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick says he would be staggered if the PGA Tour allowed any LIV golfers to return

Matt Fitzpatrick pictured
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Matt Fitzpatrick says LIV Golf defectors should not be allowed to return to the PGA Tour if they find themselves surplus to requirements in Greg Norman’s competition.

LIV Golf exploded onto the scene with Phil Mickelson leading the charge to hoover up the huge wealth put forward by the Saudi Arabian backers of the new golf tour.

Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed were among the PGA Tour big guns who followed Mickelson, along with Open champion Cameron Smith – who is not allowed to defend his Players Championship title this week due a blanket ban for all those who switched codes.

A lot of the talk around TPC Sawgrass in the build-up to the Players is about the next steps, with LIV contracts only running for so long and with it being a competition where players are picked and not qualified.

That means a player could be dropped as easily as they were picked up, and that could lead to some players wanting to return to the PGA Tour to continue their career.

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Some left on good terms, thanking Jay Monahan and the Tour for their career to date, but some players felt the need to hit out at their former employers, and they would be much less likely to receive a warm welcome back.

Max Homa says that, for the good of golf, he’d bite his tongue and welcome LIV players back, but US Open champion Fitzpatrick is of a different mind, and would not allow any of them to return.

“I would not let people come back if they’ve gone to LIV, I just wouldn’t,” Fitzpatrick told Sky Sports. “I think that would be incredibly unfair of the PGA Tour to do that – I’d be staggered if they did allow them.

“I think if you spoke to Tiger Woods, I think he’d probably have the same stance. I don’t know what other guys would have to say.

“But you’ve left a tour that you’ve probably been on here, I’m talking about the top players, for so long and done so well and now you’ve left for something that you think is better - but maybe it’s not.”

The differing stance of Homa and Fitzpatrick shows that even if players want to return from LIV, or a deal is struck where players can play both, it would still be a rocky road back – especially for those players who seemed to relish burning bridges on their way out.

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.