"Not proper golf" PGA Tour legend Ernie Els rips into LIV Golf League

Four-time major champion Ernie Els unloads on the Saudi-bankrolled LIV Golf League.

Ernie Els has ripped into the LIV Golf League
Ernie Els has ripped into the LIV Golf League

PGA Tour legend Ernie Els has ripped into the LIV Golf League by labelling it as 'not proper golf' in an interview with Yellowhammer News. 

Els, 54, admits he has never been made an offer to go and join the Saudi-bankrolled circuit and even he had of done he would have refused.

The 19-time PGA Tour winner and four-time major champion told Yellowhammer News:

"No, I’ve not had an offer from LIV Golf, but I wouldn’t have said yes anyway. Listen, I know some of the Saudi guys; they genuinely love the game of golf, but the LIV current format is not proper golf. It wouldn’t have been for me, whatever stage of my career I was at."

Last season, Els heavily hit out at a number of his younger compatriots such as Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel - players he has helped mentor down the years on the European Tour - for them accepting big fees to go and join LIV Golf. 

Els, nicknamed 'The Big Easy' for his silky smooth action, also last year blasted PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan over his organisation of the circuit, especially holding talks with the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) behind everyone's backs. 

The South African told Sports Illustrated last summer: 

"If this happened in my day, in my prime, there’s no way he [Monahan] is around. No way. And the board has to change. You do s**t like this, I’m sorry, it’s not right. Talk to us, tell us what you’re going to do, plan on negotiating. Don’t just go rogue as a member of the board and come back with a deal and think we’re all going to say yes? You’re affecting people’s lives. You’re affecting the professional game. It’s just so bad."

Fast forward nearly 12 months and Els' stance on matters remains exactly the same. 

He does hope the PGA Tour and LIV Golf can sort 'this mess' out for the betterment of the professional game, though. 

Els told Yellowhammer News:

"Obviously I hope they can work out their differences, because this mess is not good for our sport.

"We’ll have to see. But the fact remains, to my mind, the LIV golf format doesn’t work, not in the way they’re playing at the moment. 

"Maybe there’s a place for team golf within the global schedule – maybe put some teams together, play a two-month happy season, so to speak. 

"But the rest of the year, let’s play real golf."

Els is competing in the Regions Tradition this week, the first of five senior majors on the PGA Tour Champions in 2024. 

He is nicely in position to land his maiden seniors major too at just one shot off the pace heading into the weekend.

Two-time defending champion Steve Stricker leads the way on 12-under par. 


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