Get ready for the tensions of the LIV Golf/PGA Tour that will culminate this week as all sides meet at the BMW PGA Championship


Rory McIlroy’s thrilling Tour Championship victory was a captivating end to the campaign in the United States, but the golf season of discontent rages on.

This week takes center stage at the Wentworth Club in Surrey, England, the flagship event of the DP World Tour – the BMW PGA Championship – will see 18 players who have all defected to the LIV Golf Series. It could be uncomfortably uncomfortable, because that’s when this writer realized I had to wear speedos in a French public swimming pool. Sacred Blue indeed.

Players like Abraham Ancer, Jason Kokrak, Kevin Na and Talor Gooch, who previously had shown little interest in playing in Europe, are all now in the field based on their top-60-in-the-world clearance.

They need to top up their points in the world rankings – LIV Golf has not yet been awarded a world ranking – but it must be a huge torment for some real DP World Tour loyalists who miss the old European circuit’s showpiece amid this general uproar.

As for McIlroy’s take on the rebels emerging in the leafy Surrey stockbroker belt? “I hate it, I really do,” said the Northern Irishman with his usual open and honest assessment. “It will be hard for me to go to Wentworth and see eighteen. It just doesn’t suit me.”

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McIlroy has emerged as the statesman of the status quo. While the gushing descriptions from some cooing observers that he was the savior of golf have been somewhat hysterical in the wake of his timely win at East Lake, McIlroy’s appeal is the one thing money can’t buy. And LIV Golf certainly can’t buy its star attraction.

Of course, Cameron Tringale, a player who has made over $17 million on the PGA Tour but has never won in 338 events, recently decided to take the plunge.

“After much reflection, prayer and discussions with trusted advisors, I have made the decision not to renew my Tour membership for next year and to join LIV Golf,” the deeply religious Tringale wrote in a lengthy letter of justification.

It seems that the Lord will provide. Or at least the Saudi Public Investment Fund will. These are fascinating times.

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As Lee Westwood and Eddie Pepperell engaged in a bit of tetchy parry and joust on social media — Pepperell told LIV rebel Westwood to “take your pie and enjoy it in the corner” — the PGA Tour toppers revealed a huge amount of money – soaked, golden handcuff-style initiatives designed to tie the best players to the track and ensure that the elite will play against the elite more regularly in a series of ‘raised’ events.

A few scathing comments followed, with Westwood claiming the changes were nothing more than a replica of the LIV Golf formula. “It’s just a copy of what LIV does, there are a lot of hypocrites,” he said in an interview with Golf Digest. Any chance of some sort of compromise between the warring factions is about as likely as emptying your bin.

Are these changes due to the PGA Tour too little too late? Well, they’ve certainly been injured in a string of high-profile layoffs and may have underestimated the LIV Golf threat, but it may be enough to lock the door before a few more horses run wild. For example, Cameron Young, the rising star who finished runner-up in The Open, was expected to jump, but the various carrots now dangling from the PGA Tour have apparently convinced him to stay put.

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Those aforementioned “elevated” tour events will be worth $20 million.

An LIV event costs $25 million, but it comes with the high price of reputational damage and the general criticism and condemnation that greets just about any defector. With PGA Tour prize money kicking the back of the LIV pots, those in doubt may decide it’s not worth the effort.

The broken, disjointed scene at the top of a money-blinded sport, however, remains a rather unuplifting spectacle.

The players on either side of this chasm are getting richer and richer, but the game is poorer for all the bickering and selfish haverings. In this ongoing war of attrition, it will take a while for a winner to emerge.


How It Started vs. How It Goes: Here’s What Professional Golfers Said About LIV Golf Before And What They’re Saying Now

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek