Former PGA Tour pro suggests 'fair punishment' for LIV Golf players to return

Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee has offered his take on what the 'punishment' should be for LIV Golf pros who may wish to play on the PGA Tour again.

Ben Smith's picture
Thu, 8 Feb 2024
Former PGA Tour pro suggests 'fair punishment' for LIV Golf players to return

Should LIV Golf players who wish to return to the PGA Tour at some point in the future be punished? 

The thorny topic has been raised once again ahead of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale. 

A number of high-profile golfers offered their two cents on the issue before play got underway and the common consensus was: it's complicated.  

Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler all appeared to indicate the route back isn't as simple as tidying up a gimme. 

Take, for example, World No.1 Scheffler who suggested there should be 'a caveat' to return. 

"I'm not sure what that is," Scheffler admitted to reporters in Phoenix. "But there should be something."

Scheffler explained there were different types of players that left the establishment. 

You've got someone like Dustin Johnson, who resigned his membership and didn't bad-mouth anyone on the way out. 

And then you have others who litigated against the Tour when they were banned. "That wasn't really in great taste," he said. 

In truth you will not find a 'punishment' that everyone is in agreement with or finds proportionate. 

Which brings us to Brandel Chamblee, who has been criticising Saudi involvement in golf long before LIV came into the picture. 

Just some of these criticisms have included Chamblee questioning Bryson DeChambeau's faith after he joined LIV.

And he has even called for LIV's posterboy, Phil Mickelson, to be removed from the hall of fame. 

"He's caused irreparable damage to the game," Chamblee previously declared of the six-time major champ.

"And if the Tour's philanthropic aspect dies, the autopsy should read LIV. It should read Phil."

Chamblee was asked this week by one X user what his punishment would be. His idea was simple and, he contended, fair. 

"They should have to sit out for a period of time," Chamblee wrote.  

"Pay fines and when they come back, support/play in only non signature events for as long as they played for LIV."

Understandably his idea was met with a mixed reaction. "This attitude is exactly why LIV exists," one user replied. 

Another added: "Not a bad idea if the PGA Tour still had leverage. But they don't, so they won't. 

Rory's U-turn

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan previously stated LIV Golf players will have the chance to regain membership.

That remark came after Monahan and LIV supremo Yasir Al-Rumayyan appeared on national television to announce the 6 June framework agreement. 

That agreement was supposed to have been ratified by now but the deadline passed with no news at the turn of the year. 

The PGA Tour have since announced a $3bn private equity deal with Strategic Sports Group. 

The SSG deal has cast doubt on whether the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia will invest in PGA Tour Enterprises.

Should that happen, it would surely end the hostilities in men's professional golf and bring everyone back together. 

Last June, McIlroy suggested LIV players still needed to face consequences for their actions.

"The people who left the PGA Tour irreparably harmed this tour [and] started litigation against it," he said. 

"We can't just welcome them back in. That's not going to happen."

McIlroy has since changed his mind, insisting that it's hard to punish anyone and for the good of the game there needs to be unification. 

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