Thomas calls LIV-PGA rift ‘sad’ for US Open and golf – Sports

BROOKLINE: Golf’s divide between the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series is making headlines at the US Open and Justin Thomas is saddened by what it could mean for the sport.

The fifth-ranked American star won his second major title at the PGA Championship last month and is set to come into this week’s showdown at the Country Club worrying more about thick, fast greens than the impact of money on the sides. people and majors.

“I tossed and lost a lot of sleep last week thinking about what could happen,” Thomas said Monday.

While the US PGA Tour has banned all players who join the LIV Golf series, the US Golf Association has said it will not change its qualification to deny players like Phil Mickelson or Dustin Johnson because they participated. at the LIV opening event last week in England.

But imagine future majors with several big contenders banned for playing on the rebel circuit or teams cut back for the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. Thomas does.

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“Things like that could potentially be hurt because of some people leaving, and if others leave, it’s just sad,” Thomas said. “It just makes me sad.

“I just want to play against the best in the world and try to win majors. That being said, the best players in the world have to be there, but at the same time, I don’t necessarily want guys to be able to do both. It is a difficult place to live. »

Thomas has been a staunch supporter of the PGA Tour, even as big winners such as Mickelson, Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed parted ways for LIV Golf and record $25 million purses.

“Everything has a price, I guess,” Thomas said.

England’s 18th-ranked Matt Fitzpatrick, winner of the 2013 US Amateur Country Club, will play in the same group as LIV’s Johnson for the first two rounds, on the front lines of golf’s hottest topic.

“That’s obviously the talk of the tour right now. Everyone wants to know what’s going on,” Fitzpatrick said. “Things have changed a bit.

“Everyone was sick of hearing about it and they were like, okay, let’s start already, and now they’ve started, everyone’s like, oh, actually, that’s pretty interesting. What’s going- It’s kind of sparked a little more interest, and we’ll just see what happens.

Thomas calls it a slap in the face for the US Open, saying: “You can’t go anywhere without someone talking about it. It’s sad. It’s the US Open and… that seems to be the subject of all the questions.

” It is sad. It’s not fair to the USGA. It’s not good for the US Open. It’s not good for us players. But that’s unfortunately where we are right now.

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Mickelson and Thomas showed respect when talking about golfers on the opposite circuit.

“I respect if they disagree, but right now it’s the right decision,” Mickelson said Monday. “It brings out a lot of strong emotions in a lot of people and I respect how they may or may not feel.”

Thomas wants to avoid personal ruptures.

“You may disagree with the decision,” he said. “But for people back home to say that Dustin Johnson is now a bad person, that’s not fair. It’s just not fair.

Thomas marvels at the “astronomical money” LIV pays, but essentially argues that money can’t buy happiness.

“There’s no amount of money you could get, if you don’t like or enjoy what you’re actually doing, you’re always going to be miserable,” he said.

“While you may be miserable in a bigger house or a nicer car, that doesn’t necessarily mean your life will be better.” “It’s okay if you don’t want to do it,” he said. “There’s going to be some kind of number that’s going to get people thinking about it, and they’re hitting that number with a lot of people.”

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