'Coup d'état, really?!' PGA Tour stars defend Patrick Cantlay!

Justin Thomas, Will Zalatoris, Adam Scott and Rickie Fowler have formed a united front amid the PGA Tour's deal with LIV Golf's Saudi backers. 

Ben Smith's picture
Fri, 30 Jun 2023
'Coup d'état, really?!' PGA Tour stars defend Patrick Cantlay!

Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott and Will Zalatoris have formed a united front, criticising a recent column which suggested Patrick Cantlay was leading a 'coup d'état' against the PGA Tour's 'framework agreement' with LIV Golf's Saudi backers. 

The report in question was from Golfweek's Eamon Lynch which suggested Cantlay was unhappy with the proposal that was announced a week before the 2023 U.S. Open. 

Per Lynch's suggestion, Cantlay is said to have been upset with the deal because it would lose the players leverage. 

Related: Will DJ return to the PGA Tour?!

Cantlay - like many of the elite players in men's professional golf - was linked with a move to LIV before and during the rival league's first campaign. 

That being said, he wasn't as outspoken as the likes of Rory McIlroy. Lynch claimed Cantlay was romancing LIV behind the scenes, 'all while maintaining a gymnast's balance as a fence-sitter in public'. 

This accusation, according to Thomas, Fowler, Scott and Zalatoris is complete hogwash. 

Fowler was the first to post his thoughts on Instagram after he played his first round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit. 

The American was going well but ended his round with two bogeys, blaming his shaky finish on his desperation to go to the bathroom

He later criticised Lynch for the 'faceless speculation'. 

Fowler posted:

"These are serious times for golf and there are many serious matters. Should articles like this form part of the debate?
"Putting aside personal barbs and fluffy adjectives would be helpful, dealing with facts presented with integrity far superior. 
"Talk of a Cantlay coup d'état - really? Perhaps some proof rather than faceless speculation. 
"Cheap shots at players 'value of charisma'? 
"Clearly, many companies value the players. Those players must be entitled to some time and information to decide what is palatable and what is not, after an about-face Tour management policy. 
"The process will likely be served with objectivity and truth."

See below:

Lynch has not, at the time of writing, responded to the stinging criticism calling him out.

Related: Zalatoris ruled out for entire PGA Tour season

He did, however, discuss the agreement at length once again on Golf Channel. Lynch described how he couldn't see what the PGA Tour had gained from their agreement with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund. 


What did Lynch say about Cantlay?

"Patrick Cantlay, who carries himself with the assurance of a man convinced he'd be a partner at Goldman Sachs if he wasn't merely sporting its logo on his cap, has been trying to rally players against the deal with the Saudis, and against members of the Tour’s policy board who architected or support it.
"It hardly needs to be stated that his objections aren't based on the morality of dealing with human rights abusers. Existing PGA Tour incentives won’t much benefit Cantlay. He won't get rich from the Player Impact Program that bonuses stars on fan engagement since the only needle he moves is the gas gauge on his car.
"So the logic of Cantlay's coup d'etat is that if LIV disappears as a threat — a likely occurrence under the deal — then players like him have no options, no leverage over the Tour, and no prospects for the lucrative payday to which they feel entitled.
"Multiple sources say Cantlay has romanced LIV for some time, including while being a sitting member of the Tour's policy board, all while maintaining a gymnast's balance as a fence-sitter in public."

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