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Rickie Fowler is emerging as a surprising figurehead in the PGA Tour’s power struggle with LIV Golf.
Rumoured for months to be joining the Saudi-funded venture, recent signs suggest the American is now inclined to stay on the Tour, with footage emerging of him accompanying Tiger Woods to Tuesday's player-only meeting to determine how to approach the LIV Golf threat.
Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler touch down at Atlantic Aviation as they visit the @BMWchamps. pic.twitter.com/YK5Pnr3SujAugust 16, 2022
Nevertheless, Fowler is not without criticism for the manner with which the PGA Tour has approached the Greg Norman-fronted Series. Speaking to Golf Week (opens in new tab), Fowler said: “I’ve told the Tour and Jay when I’ve met with them that I don’t think they have handled it very well at all. A lot of the stuff that has happened in the last six months to a year and is starting to happen, to me they are reacting to it versus when the talks of Premier Golf League and LIV came about is when they should have been proactive and gotten in front of it."
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has been combative when dealing with the threat of LIV Golf from the outset, and has made good on promises earlier this year to suspend Tour players opting to tee it up in the Series – despite Norman’s insistence that they are independent contractors and can play wherever they like.
Video: What Is LIV Golf?
While the PGA Tour scored a victory in the courtroom last week, when three LIV Golf players lost their case to play in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, there are signs that the hardline stance isn’t proving entirely successful. World No.2 Cameron Smith is the latest player strongly rumoured to be joining LIV Golf. However, whether he does or doesn’t, the PGA Tour has already suspended several household names who’ve already jumped ship, including Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka.
Still, Fowler thinks that, despite its flawed approach, the Tour is moving in the right direction. He said: “This is where I plan to be. I would say there is stuff in the works now as far as the things the Tour is trying to do to evolve with kind of modernizing and I feel like they are making the right steps now.”
The PGA Tour recently announced it had strengthened it’s strategic alliance with the DP World Tour amid the LIV Golf threat, while it has unveiled huge prize money increases for several of next season’s tournaments.
Whether the moves will be enough to persuade its remaining big names to stay on the Tour is yet to be seen, but for Fowler – one of the most popular players in the game despite his current lowly World No.173 ranking – it seems he’s satisfied things are finally moving in the right direction.
Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. 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.
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