Following the most successful LIV Golf event to this point in Boston last week, several golfers at this week's BMW PGA Championship -- the flagship event of the DP World Tour -- are not pleased with several of their colleagues for taking up a spot in the field.
Jon Rahm and Billy Horschel, both of whom have been vociferous voices in favor of the PGA Tour in its battle against LIV Golf, called out LIV golfers who entered this week's field at Wentworth Club.
"There are many players that have been key for European Tour golf and the Ryder Cup that have a lot of collective years on the European Tour," Rahm said. "Them coming, I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing. What I don't understand 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."
Rahm went on to clarify that he had no issue with Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell or Ian Poulter playing this week's event, but he was frustrated that other players -- such as Abraham Ancer and Talor Gooch (Rahm didn't name names) -- were taking up spots.
"It doesn't hurt me, but it does bug me that somebody who has played 20 DP World events this year cannot be given the opportunity to play a flagship event because some people that earned it ... are being given an opportunity when they couldn't care any less about the event," added Rahm. "They don't care. They don't know the history of this event. They are only here because they are trying to get world ranking points and trying to finish in the top 50 [in the world] and that's clear as day."
Rahm reiterated something similar later in a different interview.
Why would PGA Tour golfers care about what LIV golfers are doing on the DP World Tour? Well, the answer to that is complicated, but Rahm referenced it in his answer. Right now, LIV players are not afforded Official World Golf Rankings points, and as a result, they will begin to fall down the OWGR, which is one of the main ways to earn a spot into major championships next year.
Those players, like Gooch and Ancer, would play on the PGA Tour, but they've been banned from doing so. The DP World Tour has no such ban currently, although they were asked not to play in the pro-am on Wednesday and asked not to wear their LIV Golf gear.
"Abraham Ancer, Talor Gooch ... You've never played this tournament, you've never supported the [European tour]. Why are you here?" said Horschel. "You are here for one reason only and that's to try to get world ranking points because you don't have it.
"Those guys, when they signed that deal and the money that they got, they had to be smart enough to factor in that they knew that they might not be able to play either tour, they might not be able to get world ranking points," added Horschel later. "The money they got was factored in, and that's why they signed those deals.
"I honestly feel like it's a slap in the face to the rest of the members of this tour that they're coming to play the biggest purse on the DP World Tour and that they're going to be taking money out of guys' pockets this week. I don't think that's right in my opinion."
Horschel doesn't play the majority of his golf on the DP World Tour, and he said that he would have been even more vocal if players were trying to play on the PGA Tour. Both Rahm and Horschel made caveats from some of the old DP World Tour stalwarts.
"I wouldn't call Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter hypocrites because they never said they wanted to play less," said Horschel. "The guys that have publicly stated they want to play less, those are the hypocrites. Just be clear on that. It's not every one of them. And there are a few of those hypocrites here this week because they wanted to play less, but they are playing another event that's not a LIV event."
Rory McIlroy, who is both the biggest voice on the PGA Tour front and has the most sway on the DP World Tour because of his affiliation with the Ryder Cup and because he's the best player in the field, will speak on Wednesday. He did, however, give a preview of what's coming after winning the Tour Championship two weeks ago.
"I hate what it's doing to the game of golf," said McIlroy. "I hate it. I really do. Like it's going to be hard for me to stomach going to Wentworth in a couple of weeks' time and seeing 18 of them there. That just doesn't sit right with me."