LIV Golf PGA Tour Oct 27, 2022; Miami, Florida, USA; A general view of the LIV Golf logo statue during the Pro-Am tournament before the LIV Golf series at Trump National Doral. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been much debate about golf’s future in the wake of LIV Golf’s rise, but some of the sports’ top stars are raising the alarm this week about fans “losing interest.”

PGA star Rory McIlroy teed off the debate Tuesday in an article in Golf Monthly, where he said the rift between the two tours needs to be resolved for the good of the sport.

“There needs to be a correction. I think what’s happening is not sustainable right now,” McIlroy said.

Several LIV golfers weighed in on the issue Wednesday at a media session ahead of the tour’s stop at Trump National Doral in Miami. Bryson DeChambeau warned fans are “losing interest.”

“The fans are what drive this sport,” DeChambeau said (via ESPN) “If we don’t have fans, we don’t have golf. We are not up here entertaining. That’s the most important thing as of right now — the low-hanging fruit. There’s got to be a way to come together.

“And it needs to happen fast. It’s not a two-year thing. Like it needs to happen quicker rather than later just for the good of the sport. Too many people are losing interest.”

A proposed PGA-LIV merger is still in the negotiations phase, but no one can say when that issue will be resolved. Phil Mickelson, one of LIV’s key figures and the man who more than anyone helped bring in PGA talent — thanks in large part to a huge infusion of Saudi money — said the sport will be in a better place once everything is resolved.

“I don’t know how it’s going to end out, exactly, or what it’s going to look like,” Mickelson said (via ESPN). “But at some point, when it gets ironed out, I think it’s going to be in a much better place where we bring the best players from the world. …

“But right now, we are in the disruption phase, so we are in the middle of the process. And when it’s all said and done, it’s going to be a lot brighter. But while we go through it, it’s challenging. But we’ll get there.”

Jon Rahm, one of those golfers who signed a big LIV deal, reportedly worth $350 million, told ESPN he believes there is room for both tours.

“I think there’s room for both. It’s as simple as that,” he said. “I think we have the opportunity to end up with an even better product for the spectators and the fans of the game. A little bit more variety doesn’t really hurt anybody. So I think, properly done, we can end up with a much better product that can take golf to the next level worldwide, and I’m hoping that’s what ends up happening.”


About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.