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Former World No.1 Fred Couples has described those that defected to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series under the pretence of changing the game as "comical" and insisted that "no one's liked Greg Norman for 25 years."
"All these guys think they're changing the game and to me, it's comical. It's really comical," Couples told Golf.com (opens in new tab). The "Golf But Louder" slogan that LIV Golf has adopted is one that the American has not been on board with: "To have music on every tee and have people drinking beers and think that’s cool. I never thought the cast and crew that would do that would be the guys doing it."
By cast and crew, the American refers to the likes of Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson; all of whom he has rubbed shoulders with inside the ropes of the PGA Tour, Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup.
With a District Judge in San Jose, California having recently denied a temporary restraining order for three LIV Golf players to participate in the upcoming FedEx Cup Playoffs, and an antitrust lawsuit hearing pending, the detailed battle between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour is about to be well publicised - something Couples has described as "weird" and "heart-breaking."
"If they win or lose, I don’t really care," he said. "I’m 62, I play the Champions Tour, but it’s a little heart-breaking. Go do what you’re doing. Suing the Tour, 11 guys when there’s probably 200 guys on the Tour, I just find it really, really weird."
The concept of a breakaway league is not new to golf or in fact, Greg Norman. The two-time Major champion put forward his own plans for a World Tour in 1994 but the idea didn't receive the traction it needed to get off the ground. Couples was a member of the PGA Tour during that time and believes the lawsuits are the influence of the Australian.
"I have a funny feeling I know where it’s coming and it’s coming from their leader, who no one’s liked for 25 years. And that’s not being mean, that’s just - that’s the truth. He’s not a friend of mine, but he never would be because we don’t get along. But he’s running a Tour that he thinks is incredible."
Although Couples is clear in his viewpoint on the Saudi-backed venture, he harbours no ill-feeling towards those that are taking part. "I love that Charl Schwartzel won, I love that [Branden] Grace won," he said.
It was however, a little different for those that effectively turned their back and spoke badly against the established eco-system that has provided them with so much reward. "I’m glad they’re gone, but stop trashing the PGA Tour. If you don’t want to be a part of it, you’re suing it? Just go away and make your millions and play golf just like I’m going to do this week."
James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.
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