‘Their Real Stripes Are Showing’ – Former PGA Tour Boss On LIV Golf Defectors

Deane Beman has criticised players who've turned their backs on the PGA Tour to join the lucrative Series

Deane Beman at the 2018 Players Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Former PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman has criticised the players who’ve defected to the LIV Golf Invitational Series.

Speaking to Golfweek (opens in new tab), the 84-year-old, who held the position between 1974 and 1994, was scathing of the players who’ve signed up to it. He said: “There are certain players that have gone over there that I think have made a mistake for their career but maybe they don’t care as much as I thought they did about what it stands for and what it means to be a champion golfer. A lot of them are just thinking about the money.”

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“Their real stripes are showing. Some of the people who have benefited enormously from what the Tour has put together are fully disclosing their integrity. It’s a money grab. I don’t see anything good about it. If they are reasonably responsible people, there is enough money in being successful on the PGA Tour to satisfy anybody. If you have $50 million, $75 million, $100 million, what do you need another $50-75-100 million? It’s all about money.”

Beman was equally critical of the Saudi-based backers funding the Series. He said: “Overall, I don’t think the people putting up the money give a damn about the game of golf. They are trying to use what we built over decades, what I think is the most courageous and responsible sport that there is and that has integrity and respect for the rules and respect for the game and respect for competition, I don’t think the people putting up the money give a damn about any of that. They are putting up money for their own personal benefit. I don’t think it is good for the game of golf.”

Before July’s 150th Open at St Andrews, R&A boss Martin Slumbers said the Series is not in the best long-term interests of the sport as a whole and is driven by money. He also stated that the idea LIV Golf is growing the game is not credible. Those are sentiments Beman agrees with. He said: “I think what the head of the R&A said is exactly right. He got it spot on. They’ve got all the money in the world. I don’t think what they are doing is sustainable financially unless they keep throwing money at it.”

Beman also defended the PGA Tour and its model of only rewarding success, saying: “I don’t think the game of golf should subsidise a modestly good player. If you don’t have what it takes to be a high performer, you ought to find that out early and go get an honest job someplace else and let somebody else develop the skills to be as good as you need to be to stay on Tour. I don’t believe the Tour should finance anymore mediocrity in performance. Why should they?”

Beman had praise for the latest incumbent in his former role, Jay Monahan, too. Monahan has drawn criticism from LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, while his decision to suspend PGA Tour players teeing it up in the Series has proved controversial, and is the subject of a lawsuit brought against the Tour by 11 LIV Golf players. Beman, though, thinks Monahan has handled the situation excellently. He said: “I don’t think he could’ve done anything differently. I think he’s done as good a job as possibly could have been done. I’ve thought about it a lot. I don’t think he could have done anything other than what he’s done. He’s done an exemplary job.”

Mike Hall
Freelance Staff Writer

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.