20 Dec 2023

World number four golfer: PGA doing a "damn bad job"

7:18 am on 20 December 2023
Viktor Hovland.

Viktor Hovland. Photo: photosport

Viktor Hovland has fired a warning to the PGA Tour saying the organisation is doing a bad job, but the Norwegian says he will not be defecting to the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf.

World number four Hovland joined a chorus of discontent about the power struggle at the top of the men's game between LIV Golf and the PGA and DP World Tours.

"It must be fair to say that the PGA Tour has done a damn bad job," the 26-year-old Hovland, part of Europe's victorious Ryder Cup team, told Discovery's "FORE!" podcast.

After a year of acrimony in which a succession of big names jumped ship, the PGA Tour and Europe-based DP World Tour announced in June a framework agreement with LIV Golf for a merger and creation of a commercial entity to unite the game.

As part of the deal, Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), which has bank-rolled LIV Golf, would serve as the exclusive investor.

The deadline for talks with PIF is looming and the established tours suffered a fresh blow this month when Masters champion Jon Rahm made a U-turn to join LIV Golf in a deal worth a reported $300 million.

"It would be a bit silly to criticise players for leaving," Hovland said. "I understand why he (Rahm) left. There's a lot of money."

Asked if he would follow Rahm, Hovland said: "No, I doubt it." But he took aim at Tour chiefs he said were not making decisions in the best interests of the players.

"They are not professional golfers after all," he said. "There is a great deal of arrogance behind it all."

Hovland, the FedEx champion, said he would play fewer European events in 2024, adding: "The PGA Tour is not as strong as before. I just hope that it will return to normality."

- Reuters