LIV's $10m man Thomas Pieters criticises 'opinionated' golfers: "I'm not dumb!"

One of LIV Golf's newest recruits, Thomas Pieters, has revealed he was lonely playing on the PGA Tour as he opened up on why he joined the rebel 'tour'. 

Ben Smith's picture
Fri, 24 Mar 2023
LIV's $10m man Thomas Pieters criticises 'opinionated' golfers: "I'm not dumb!"

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:

"I've done 10 years of being on the road and trying to achieve my dreams. I'm not Rory McIlroy, I'm not Tiger Woods, I'm not going to be in the history books or have a massive legacy, and that's OK. I've made an unbelievable living out of golf, which is amazing for me and my mrs. and my kids. I don't worry about that at all, actually. It's just sport. It's just golf. Happiness is so much more than just playing golf."
"Obviously there's a lot of talk, but at the end of the day, it's a personal opinion, and it's just golf, it's not life and death. I made the decision, and I move on."


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 know my money comes from an American-based company. I think the PIF is in about 150 boards if I'm not wrong, so anything you touch on a daily basis is funded by Saudi money, so I think it's a bit hypocritical, some of the things that are being said. Obviously the things that have happened, they're horrible. I'm here to play golf. It’s not really something I want to go into. I knew that question was going to be asked, but I don't really have an answer for that.”

"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:

"I feel like golfers have gotten too opinionated about everything, and I'm just here to play golf. I'm not dumb, maybe I'll come across as dumb, but I just want to be happy, that's all.
"As a kid you obviously dream about playing on the PGA Tour, winning golf tournaments. I played a year on the PGA Tour. I did not like it.
"I got very homesick, very lonely, so for me that was kind of like tick the box, I tried it over there, wasn't my thing and then LIV came around right at the right time.
"Everybody who was playing on it last year that I talked to said it was very exciting, new and that was something that really spoke to me.
"You can't lie about it financially, it's amazing, and it was something as a family, father of two daughters, as well with my girlfriend, it's awesome to have such good schedule, as well."

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