One of LIV Golf's newest recruits, Thomas Pieters, has criticised his peers for being 'too opinionated' as he opened up on his decision to join the 'rebel' tour.
At this point, it wouldn't be remarkable to suggest that any player joining the LIV Golf League would be surprising, given the vast sums of money waved under the noses of the elite professionals.
But Pieters' defection was a little bit surprising, given that he participated in the Hero Cup in January, which was seen as a European warm-up to the 2023 Ryder Cup.
Pieters, the current World No. 42, was seen by many as a lock for Luke Donald's side. But he's now put that at risk, pending the result of the DP World Tour v LIV Golf hearing.
The Belgian has revealed to Barstool Sports' Fore Play Podcast that he called DP World Tour boss Keith Pelley before he made the switch, which is said to have been a $10m fee up front.
Pieters did not reveal what Pelley said in response. Apparently, Pelley previously told another LIV 'rebel', England's Richard Bland, that he would do the same thing if he were in his shoes.
As for Pieters, in his wide-ranging interview he claimed:
- He was lonely playing on the PGA Tour
- He's not ever going to have a legacy like Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy
- Happiness is 'more than just playing golf'
- His LIV money comes from an American company - LIV Golf Investments - and it's hypocritical to point out the source, given the vast amounts of businesses the Saudis are involved in
- He feels like golfers have gotten to opinionated
"I'm not Tiger Woods"
Pieters said of his decision to join LIV:
From today’s episode: pic.twitter.com/b6skV7rwBs— Fore Play (@ForePlayPod) March 23, 2023
LIV Golf players have been hit with a barrage of criticism over their decision to accept money from Saudi's sovereign wealth fund, PIF, which currently is estimated to have $620bn in assets.
Related: Cameron Smith on his LIV Golf tension
Pieters, referencing LIV Golf Investments and the fact PIF is the majority shareholder, said:
"I'm not dumb..."
Pieters believes some of his peers are too opinionated. There is no denying players like the aforementioned McIlroy have fanned the flames with his criticism.
McIlroy has conceded that at times he's probably been a bit harsh, but only because he said he feels so passionately about the game.
Pieters told the podcast: