'You Went For The Money, Just Say That' - Harmon On LIV Golfers
Speaking on his son's podcast, Butch gave his thoughts about LIV players, as well as giving Phil Mickelson credit following the PGA Tour's recent actions
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It's no secret that players who have jumped to LIV Golf are reportedly pocketing huge paychecks. Following their moves, Forbes reported that the influence and impact of LIV Golf has increased the earnings of the top ten golfers by an estimated $370 million since June, bringing the combined amount to a record $650 million.
So much was the impact of the cash, Phil Mickelson picked up a projected $200 million. This made him the world’s highest-paid athlete in 2022. He even beat footballer, Lionel Messi, who raked in a jaw-dropping $130 million!
However, players who have jumped to the Saudi-backed series are stating that they are doing it to the "grow the game." Butch Harmon doesn't agree though, with the former coach to Mickelson stating that: "They went for the money, there's no doubt about it."
Speaking to his son, Claude Harmon, on Claude's podcast, Butch didn't hold back, as the American ranted: "I think the players that went to the LIV — you're probably not going to agree with me on this — they created the problem because they went for the money, there's no doubt about it.
"That's BS about I'm going to play less and I'm going to spend more time at home. No, you went for the money. So just say that. Because the average guy that works — if somebody is in a job and somebody comes up and says I'm going to give you 20 times more money to come over here, they're going to go over there. And then they're going to tell their buddies, hey, yeah, they offered me more money and I went.
"So to me that's the first problem — I think the PR of the LIV has not been good. The guys should have got together and been honest. This 'I'm going to grow the game better' — no, that has nothing to do with it; you're not growing any game. They're growing their bank accounts. Which every sportsman has the right to do — to get the best deal you can get.
"So I have a problem with people complaining about that. But I think they brought that on themselves by coming up with this other stuff.'
Following the rant, Harmon remained on the fence with the concept of LIV, with Butch claiming that the "government does business with Saudi Arabia," as well as "every large corporation in the world."
"Golfers, to me, have been the most underpaid superstars in all sport," he explains. "Because they don't get big contracts. Yes, they make endorsement contracts, but you have to earn those. And as soon as you play bad, those go away...
"So why you picking on us? Golfers are nice guys. We don't bother anybody. We just go play golf. Yeah, the guy had a chance to make $100million — I tell you what, somebody offered me $100million, I'm gone, I'm over there. Let's just tell it like it is 'nobody's perfect.'"
Within the last week, PGA Tour Commissioner, Jay Monahan, has announced wholesale changes to combat the ongoing and future threat posed by the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series.
These include the introduction of four elevated events for the 2023 season, taking the total to 12. These events will carry a minimum purse of $20m each, with the Player Impact Program seeing a sizeable increase from $50 to $100 million.
Back in February, Mickelson called out the PGA Tour for "obnoxious greed", specifically, their stance on media rights. Following the drama of the past six months, and the change in the PGA Tour's scheduling and prize money, Harmon gave the six-time Major winner credit on the podcast.
"Well, Phil's very honest. I mean, he's got no filter. It's one of the things I admire about him, one of the reasons we were friends, because I got a lot of that in myself, too. … What we think is what we say.
"And I think, in all honesty, I'm going to give Phil some credit. People didn't like it, but a lot of the things he said about the Tour I think were true and I think the Tour is now seeing that and they're trying to change a lot of that stuff.
"So you got to hand it to Phil for that. He has taken a tremendous amount of criticism for it. You know there's things that have come out about him and his personal life that he hasn't done, and look, hey, we all make mistakes; nobody's perfect, alright? We all make mistakes; there's things in our past that I think bygones should be bygones."
The next LIV Golf event gets underway on the 2nd September in Boston, with a number of names potentially being announced the week of the tournament.
Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.
Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?
Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°
Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°
Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW
Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°
Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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