'It's Sad To See Them Go' - Horschel Bemoans LIV Golf Defections

The seven-time PGA Tour winner thinks players leaving for the Saudi-backed Series are tarnishing their legacies

Billy Horschel takes a tee shot during the second round of the 2022 Tour Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Billy Horschel is a staunch PGA Tour supporter, and has never held back concerning the LIV Golf threat. 

The 35-year-old has previously said that he thought any defectors to the Saudi-backed Series who thought they could return to the PGA Tour had been brainwashed. Now, speaking to Fred Couples and George Downing on SiriusXM’s PGA Tour Radio, the American has spoken of his disappointment that so many top players have opted to join the start-up.

Video: What Is LIV Golf?

He said: “I don’t fault any of these guys for making the decisions that they made. I may not agree with it, but, you know, we all play the game for a different reason. You know, I wish I could say we all played to have our name be remembered and create a legacy out on the PGA Tour but, like I said, everyone’s prerogative is different. It does suck seeing some of these guys go because they are great players and could honestly be legends in the game of golf, so it’s sad to see them go.”

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Cameron Smith and Harold Varner III are two of the latest six LIV Golf signings, and each cited different reasons for their decisions to join the venture. Nevertheless, while Horschel is concerned that the defectors will tarnish their legacies regardless of their reasons for going, he’s not concerned about the long-term impact it will have on the PGA Tour given the quality emerging. He said: “The pipeline on the PGA Tour is so deep and we have so many great players coming through that no one knows about. I played with Cameron Young in early February and I was so impressed by his game already."

While the seven-time PGA Tour winner is optimistic about its future, he admitted that improvements were still needed if the Tour is to retain its position at the summit of the game over the long term. He said: “The PGA Tour is in a great place, we’re only going to get better. Are we perfect? No, but the thing is that we need to make the Tour more sustainable so we’re still around for another 25, 50 years and we are the leader in the world of golf, which, you know, as long as I’m alive, I’m going to make sure that does happen.”

The PGA Tour has recently taken strides to do just that. As well as strengthening its alliance with the DP World Tour amid the LIV Golf threat, it has also announced unprecedented changes including increased purses and a desire to bring the game's top players together more often.

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.