Memorial Tournament winner Billy Horschel, currently the 15th-ranked golfer in the world, responded on Tuesday to some of what was said last week at the LIV Golf Invitational event in Portland, and he did not pull punches. In fact, there was a moment off the top where you could almost see him ask himself, "Should I do this?" He then used the term "hypocrites" to describe some of the players who have jumped from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf, and from there he was off to the races.
It's some fascinating insight from somebody who has been close to the entire process. Horschel is part of the 2022 Player Advisory Council, which means he's part of a group that "advises and consults with the PGA Tour policy board and commissioner Jay Monahan on issues affecting the Tour."
"There's a lot of guys that are hypocrites, that aren't telling the truth, that are lying about some things," Horschel said. "I can't stand to sit here anymore and be diplomatic about it as I have been in the past. I don't fault anyone for going to play the LIV tour. I don't have any ill will for anyone going to play the LIV tour. I have ill will toward comments that they've made. Comments saying Jay Monahan doesn't listen to the PGA Tour. The PGA Tour doesn't listen to us.
"Jay Monahan and everyone at headquarters is the PGA Tour. They work tirelessly for us to reap the financial rewards and have all the opportunities we have. At the same time, I am one of 200-plus members of the PGA Tour. I am the PGA Tour, just as 200 others are the PGA Tour. So when you're taking shots at the PGA Tour and Jay Monahan, you're not just taking shots at them, you're taking shots at us [the players]. To say they don't listen is a complete farce, it really is. If they listened to everything all 200-plus members of the PGA tour said, our tour would be a complete mess. We wouldn't even have a tour."
Much of what Horschel said on Tuesday ahead of the Scottish Open was a response to referenced a moment from last year in which he said he was forced to stay at the first FedEx Cup Playoff event and missed the birth of his son.in Portland in which Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed and Pat Perez flamed the PGA Tour, saying it didn't listen to their ideas and requests while implying that it was a place that kept them from being home and spending time with their families. Perez, in particular,
"It's ridiculous to hear some of these comments some of these guys made," added Horschel. "Saying, 'Well, you know, this allows me to play less tournaments. I've played 30-35 weeks a year.' No one has forced you to play that many events. The PGA Tour says 15 events minimum -- all you have to do is play 15 events, if you keep your card in those 15 events, that's fine. If you want to play better or play more so you have a chance to win the FedEx Cup, so be it. No one's made you play that first playoff event to miss family obligations. No one has."
LIV Golf will require its participants to play 14 tournaments in 2023. The PGA Tour has no minimum, although to remain a voting member you must play 15 events, including major championships, and many feel the need to play more to remain in the top 125 in the FedEx Cup and keep their PGA Tour cards for the following season.
"Yes, we are independent contractors," said Horschel. "We do sign a contract with the PGA Tour that requires us to meet certain requirements of the PGA Tour. But we have the opportunity to make our schedule. To say that we have to play X amount of events and they don't have time off, no one makes you. ... I'm just tired of these comments. Go play your LIV tour and forget about the PGA Tour. You didn't want to support the PGA Tour going forward. Don't tell me you're going to play LIV when they go to 14 events and then go play 15 events on the PGA Tour and play in 29. That's not a smaller schedule. You're not playing less."
🗣️ "There's a lot of guys that are hypocrites, that aren't telling the truth, that are lying about some things that I can't stand to just sit here and be diplomatic about it"— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) July 5, 2022
Seven-time PGA Tour Champion, Billy Horschel speaks about the LIV Tour events 👇 pic.twitter.com/3iyq9HR3VD
There is much to be said -- and much that has already been said -- about the PGA Tour-LIV Golf scuttlebutt. Horschel has been closer than most in terms of seeing both sides of what's going on, and his words about hypocrites and scheduling were interesting. But what was even more interesting was what he said about how the players are the ones who make up the PGA Tour. This is true, of course, and it's something that Justin Thomas recently alluded to as well. The PGA Tour is different from other sports in that players don't play for owners. Rather, in a reductive way, players are the owners.
What this means is that PGA Tour vs. LIV Golf does not present a situation where suit-wearing executives are facing one another for the rights to the future of the sport. Rather, because the PGA Tour and its members are one and the same entity, this is (and will be) a feud that pits player against player, which is part of what makes it so completely compelling.