World No 5 Patrick Cantlay has sympathy for golf fans, but the PGA Tour Policy Board member had no big news for them at the 2024 season-opening event.
Negotiations involving the board began after last June’s announcement of a framework merger agreement to unite the PGA Tour and DP World Tour with Saudi backers of the LIV Golf League but have yet to produce any final deal.
With golf’s future in limbo as the PGA Tour season begins in Hawaii and LIV planning a Mexico launch in four weeks, Cantlay could relate to fans seeking an end to the uncertainty.
“I feel for the fan,” Cantlay said. “There has been a ton of confusion not only for players out on Tour in the past year or two, but I can only imagine for the fan at home.
“I think the fan is rooting for the attention to go back squarely onto golf and squarely onto the tournaments that are being played and to forget all of this political non-golf talk, which has consumed a lot of the energy over the past couple years.”
For now, the only places for PGA and LIV stars to compete are Majors. But Cantlay hopes the PGA Tour’s new set of signature events, with larger purses and smaller fields, will help until the dealmaking concludes.
“I hope with having more of the best players play the same weeks, they know exactly which weeks are important to us players and they get to see a lot more tournaments where the best players on Tour are competing against each other down the stretch on Sunday,” Cantlay said.
Other players at The Sentry in Kapalua want PGA-LIV unity for the sake of fans, players and sponsors as they focus on golf and trust the board to hammer out a solution.
“I’m a small piece of a big puzzle,” reigning Olympic champion Xander Schauffele said. “I think everyone wants to see that puzzle sort of whole without missing pieces. The product is probably better if all together than sort of split up.”
Exactly how LIV players who defected from the PGA Tour would be welcomed back was something Schauffele could not solve.
“I’m sure there’s some smart people out there who have some ideas on how to do it correctly. I’m not one of them,” he said.
“You just need someone who’s really smart who’s going to create a fair pathway back for everyone to play again.”
Two-time Major winner Collin Morikawa just wants the LIV-PGA fight to end.
“At this point, I think just deals need to be made and we all need to get back to playing golf,” he said.
© Agence France-Presse
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