VIRGINIA WATER, England — Billy Horschel called them hypocrites. Jon Rahm accused them of displaying double standards.
Golfers from the Saudi-backed breakaway series faced strong criticism Tuesday for choosing to play the BMW PGA Championship on the European tour this week.
The main targets of the criticism were those LIV Golf players who are in the field at Wentworth because of their ranking in the top 60 and are seemingly chasing ranking points not available on the breakaway tour.
Horschel was even happy to name-check them.
“Abraham Ancer, Talor Gooch … You’ve never played this tournament, you’ve never supported the [European tour]. Why are you here?” Horschel said. “You are here for one reason only and that’s to try to get world ranking points because you don’t have it.
“It’s pretty hypocritical,” Horschel added, “to come over here and play outside LIV when your big thing was to spend more time with family and want to play less golf.”
Horschel, the defending champion at Wentworth, was less strident toward Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, who have joined LIV Golf toward the end of their careers after being stalwarts of the European tour.
Still, the American said: “I don’t think those guys really should be here.”
Rahm said he was particularly unhappy about the presence of some LIV Golf players because that meant lower-ranked members of the European tour, like his friend and fellow Spanish player Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, missed out.
“What I don’t understand,” Rahm, said, without naming names, “is some players that have never shown any interest in the European tour, have never shown any interest in playing this event, being given an opportunity just because they can get world ranking points and hopefully make majors next year.
“A perfect example — a good friend of mine is the first one out on the entry list right now. It doesn’t hurt me, but it does bug me that somebody who has played over 20 [European tour] events this year cannot be given the opportunity to play a flagship event because some people that earned it, to an extent, are being given an opportunity when they couldn’t care any less about the event.”
Horschel said players were “naive” to believe they would not be suspended by the PGA Tour for joining LIV and that some failed to adequately weigh up the benefits and disadvantages of making the move.
“Maybe those guys aren’t smart enough to think on their own and maybe their agents gave them bad information,” Horschel said.
“I know for a fact that certain agents just gave certain players bad information and some of those players are ticked [off] that they listened to their agents on that. Some of these agents led these guys down a bad road.”