Bryson DeChambeau believes LIV Golf wouldn’t exist were it not for Tiger Woods and revealed he has not spoken to the 15-time Major champion since his controversial switch to the Saudi-funded breakaway circuit, per Sports Illustrated(opens in new tab).
DeChambeau and Woods became close several years ago and would often play practice rounds together, but the two now stand on opposing sides in golf’s ongoing civil war.
Tiger Woods turned down an offer to join LIV Golf reported to be in the “high nine figures” and made his thoughts on the Greg Norman-fronted series abundantly clear ahead of the historic 150th Open at St Andrews.
He said: “What is the incentive to go out there and earn it in the dirt? You’re just getting paid a lot of money up front and playing a few events and playing 54 holes.
“I can understand 54 holes is almost like a mandate when you get to the Senior Tour. The guys are little bit older and a little more banged up. But when you’re at this young age and they really are kids who have gone from amateur golf into that organisation, I just don’t see how that move is positive in the long term for a lot of these players”
In response, the divisive DeChambeau admitted he can understand and has “ultimate respect” for Tiger’s opinion, adding that he hopes one day the pair will be able to put aside their different stances and “see eye to eye on it.”
“I have high regard for Tiger,” DeChambeau said. “Look, this wouldn’t be existing if it weren’t for Tiger. So I have the utmost respect for what he did for the game of golf, what he did for the PGA Tour that allowed us to have this opportunity.
“It’s his legacy. I totally understand it. He’s what’s allowed this to happen in a really, cool unique way that in the end, I think will all work out to everyone’s benefit. It’s just a little bit of muddy waters right now.
“For me personally, to be my own human being, I’m going to work even harder to prove the fact that I’m worth that price. We have been fairly close and unfortunately we have not spoken, one day we will again, and I am always open for a conversation with anybody. I have no problem with it and I hope we can come see eye to eye on it.”
DeChambeau has been blighted by injury this year but has shown signs that his game is trending in the right direction. In his first LIV Golf event at Pumpkin Ridge in Portland, he finished on his own in 10th and followed that up with a tie for eighth at The Open, his best result in five appearances in the game’s oldest championship.
The big-hitting American will captain Crushers GC at Trump Bedminster – which has been bolstered by the additions of Paul Casey and Charles Howell III – where $25 million will be up for grabs.
DeChambeau teed it up alongside former President Donald Trump for the pre-tournament pro-am and gave a glowing appraisal of the 76-year-old’s game.
“He’s actually a really good golfer,’’ DeChambeau added. “Anytime you can play with a president, past or sitting, it’s just an honour no matter who it is. I feel very lucky to have a relationship with him and he’s always been generous to me.
“He’s a big human being and so he’s got that speed. Hopefully I can get him into speed training a little bit. He just hits the ball quickly and he’s up and running.”