Jacques van der Westhuyzen
Head of Sport
2 minute read
20 Jul 2022
5:15 pm

Ernie Els says he knows how the PGA Tour and LIV Golf can work together

Jacques van der Westhuyzen

"They need to negotiate ... to see if there can be some kind of compromise."

Ernie Els. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

One of South Africa’s greatest golfers, Ernie Els, believes he has the formula to allow the world’s established golf tours to feature alongside the controversial LIV Golf circuit — without players having to be banned.

Currently if PGA Tour members opt to play in the LIV Golf series they will be suspended from the tour, while the DP World Tour has yet to take such a stance.

Several players, such as Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Lee Westwood, Patrick Reed and South Africans Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Branden Grace, among others, have been banned by the US PGA Tour for taking up offers with LIV Golf.

The latest big name player to be linked to the LIV circuit is Open champion Cameron Smith, while earlier Wednesday, European Ryder Cup captain Henrik Stenson was stripped of the role after apparently indicating he, too, would be joining LIV Golf.

Els, who has won four Majors and now plays on the senior circuit in America, said there was a simple solution to the conflict between the world’s biggest golf tours.

LIV Golf not ‘real’

Els, like many others, says LIV Golf is not “real” golf because it is played over 54 holes (three rounds), has a limited 48-man field for each event and there is no cut, so everyone banks a cheque at the end of the week’s tournament.

The former two-time Open champion believes the LIV tournaments could be played during what is termed silly season — that is in the three months following the end of the PGA Tour season each year.

“It’s just a shame how things are being split up,” Els told Golf Digest.

“My view — and I discussed this with the Saudi people a long time ago — was always to do things with the major tours.

“Play it (LIV Golf) in the dead season. That wouldn’t interfere with any of the main tours … it wouldn’t interfere with real golf as we know it.”

Els, who is playing in this week’s Senior Open at Gleneagles, added: “It seems like a tug of war (between the players and the tours). It’s really very uncomfortable and surely there has to be some kind of negotiation to come.

“They need to negotiate … to see if there can be some kind of compromise.”

Els further added no one would take LIV Golf seriously in its current form.

“Just because you are playing for $20 million a week doesn’t change anything. It’s still 54 holes. There’s no basis to it, there’s no substance to it. You can’t have a 48-man tour playing no-cut golf and expect the world to take you seriously. It’s not going to happen.”