Defending champion Billy Horschel has slammed the LIV golfers who are preparing to play in this week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
DP World Tour members, including Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood, are eligible for the event near London after their suspensions for playing in the inaugural event of the Saudi-backed breakaway series were temporarily stayed on appeal.
American Talor Gooch and Mexico’s Abraham Ancer are in the field by virtue of being in the world’s top 60, but Horschel believes they are being “hypocritical” in chasing ranking points, having never shown any interest in the event before.
“Even though Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter have been stalwarts for the European Tour, I don’t think those guys really should be here,” said the US golfer.
“I honestly don’t think that the American guys who haven’t supported the Tour should be here. Abraham Ancer, Talor Gooch … you’ve never played this tournament, you’ve never supported the DP World Tour. Why are you here?
“You are here for one reason only and that’s to try to get world ranking points because you don’t have it [on LIV Golf].
“It’s hypocritical because of what some of these guys have said when they said they wanted to play less golf. It’s pretty hypocritical 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.
“I wouldn’t call Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter hypocrites because they never said they wanted to play less. The guys that have publicly stated they want to play less, those are the hypocrites.”
World No 6 Jon Rahm also expressed his dissatisfaction with the situation as tensions grow between LIV Golf defectors and those remaining loyal to the established tours.
“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,” said the Spaniard. “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.”
But Rahm is optimistic a solution can be found to the Ryder Cup selection dilemma facing European captain Luke Donald, with qualifying for next year’s contest in Rome getting under way in Wentworth from Thursday.
Ryder Cup stalwarts Westwood, Poulter and Garcia are currently eligible to qualify for the team pending the outcome of a hearing in February.
“There’s only one problem in life that doesn’t have a solution, and that’s death. That’s it. Everything else has a solution,” said Rahm.
“If the European Tour really want them to play and as a team we want them to play, I think a solution can be reached. If every party is not happy about it, I don’t know.”
© Agence France-Presse