Hovland 'can't blame' Rahm and Co for leaving 'arrogant' PGA Tour

Viktor Hovland accuses the PGA Tour of ‘arrogance’ and insists he ‘can’t blame’ players such as Jon Rahm for defecting to LIV Golf: ‘It would be silly to criticize players for leaving’

  • Jon Rahm left the PGA Tour for LIV Golf in a $500million deal earlier this month
  • Viktor Hovland says ‘there is a great deal of arrogance’ in how the PGA Tour acts
  • DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news 

Viktor Hovland admits he can’t blame the likes of Jon Rahm for defecting to LIV Golf given the ‘great deal of arrogance’ of PGA Tour bosses. 

The Norwegian suggested he has no plans to join them on the rebel tour, despite hinting that PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and Co – rather than the players – are to blame for the split in the game. 

Rahm became the latest high-profile defection earlier this month, with the Spaniard joining LIV in an eye-watering $500million deal. That has prompted speculation as to whether Hovland will be the next to jump ship.

The 26-year-old ‘doubts’ he will join LIV, having recently committed to six PGA Tour events. But Hovland admitted: ‘I can’t blame people who make that decision and go over there.’

He told Discovery’s golf podcast ‘Fore’ in Norway that he ‘really wasn’t that shocked’ to see Rahm leave when the PGA Tour are doing ‘such a bad job’.

Viktor Hovland admits he can’t blame the likes of Jon Rahm for defecting to LIV Golf

Masters champion Rahm jumped ship from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf earlier this month

‘It would be a bit silly to criticize the players for leaving,’ he said. ‘After all, you only hear one angle in the media, and there are quite a few different parts happening at the same time here. I totally understand why he left. That’s a lot, a lot of money. And at least when the management of the PGA Tour has done such a bad job.

‘Just to be clear: I’m not complaining about the position I’m in, and I’m very grateful for everything. But the management has not done a good job. 

‘They almost see the players as labor, and not as part of the members. After all, we are the PGA Tour. Without the players, there is nothing.

‘When you get to see what happens behind closed doors, how the management actually makes decisions, which are not in the players’ best interest, but best for themselves and what they think is best … they are businessmen who say that: “No, it should look like this and that.” There is a great deal of arrogance behind it all.’ 

Hovland is the reigning FedEx Cup champion after three wins in 2022-23. He recently committed to half a dozen events over the coming months including the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and WM Phoenix Open.

Reports claimed the PGA Tour is close to a deal with a group of owners including John Henry

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has come under his fire for his handling of golf’s civil war

But the Norwegian neverthless suggested golf’s old order are to blame for the civil war which continues to divide the game.

Last week, reports claimed the PGA Tour is close to agreeing a multi-billion-dollar deal with a consortium of owners of major US sports teams including John Henry and Arthur Blank.

ESPN said the tour remains hopeful of reaching a similar agreement with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia – which funds LIV Golf – before the December 31 deadline.

‘If I had gone to LIV, I don’t think I would have become a better golfer,’ Hovland said. ‘And then it is, in a way, the end of discussion.’

Hovland is also not a fan of LIV’s format, adding: ‘You need the competition with 150 players and a cut… if you don’t play well enough, you’re out. 

‘There is something about it that makes your game a little sharper. If I had gone to LIV, I don’t think I would have become a better golfer.’

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