Billy Horschel slams LIV Golf players as 'hypocrites' and accuses them of 'lying'

Wearing a Saltire blue sweater, Billy Horschel clearly wanted to get something off his chest after walking into the media centre for this week’s Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian.

Billy Horschel speaks during a press conference prior to the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian. Picture: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.
Billy Horschel speaks during a press conference prior to the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian. Picture: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.

With the sixth green on the Tom Doak-designed course just over his right shoulder, the American was asked by The Scotsman about LIV Golf casting a cloud over the $8 million Rolex Series event and off he went.

“Leave us alone, honestly,” said Horschel, winner of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth last September, of the players now earning a considerable crust on Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed breakaway circuit but also still wanting to play on the traditional tours.

Three LIV Golf players, including Ian Poulter, are set to tee up in this week’s event on Scotland’s Golf Coast pending an appeal, but, like home duo Russell Knox and Stephen Gallacher, Horschel isn’t happy about the so-called rebels feeling they can double-dip.

“I believe they made their bed,” he added. “They decided to go to a tour and they should go play that tour. They shouldn't be coming back over here to play the DP World Tour or the PGA Tour.

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“They keep talking about PGA Tour doesn't listen to them, but I've been really frustrated by the last week’s events because there are a lot of guys that are hypocrites that are not telling the truth and lying about some things that I just can't stand to sit here anymore and be diplomatic anymore about it as I have been in the past.”

While Horschel said on more than one occasion that he didn’t “fault anyone” for going to play in the LIV Golf events or have “any ill will for anyone” who has done so, he’s been left far from impressed hearing most of them talking about wanting to spend more time with families and trying to grow the game.

“To say that they wanted to also support the DP World or PGA Tour going forward, while playing the LIV Tour, is completely asinine in my opinion,” said the 35-year-old, who sits on the US circuit’s Player Advisory Council.

“To play the PGA Tour, you've got to play 15 events and their schedule is currently eight events, rising to 14; so to say they are going to play 29 events a year and still hold membership on the PGA Tour is ridiculous.

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“I know it's easy on the DP World Tour where you only have to play four events a year outside the majors and WGC events. But my sitting here, being able to talk to the DP World Tour players over the last couple years, having a conversation with them at the BMW International Open.

Just coming to play the big events on the DP World Tour, yeah, that helps but that's not supporting the DP World Tour.

“Go play something that's not a Rolex Series Event. Go play something that's not in the Middle East. That's more important to the DP World Tour and the growth of the Tour and giving back to the Tour and hoping these guys in the financial sense, making sure that financially they are getting the rewards that they deserve over here.

“They have lacked the rewards that we have on the PGA Tour. Obviously there's a multitude of reasons for it, but these guys deserve the same set of rewards over here that we get on the PGA Tour. So it's unfortunate that those guys made their bed and that's what they want to do.”

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Some of the LIV Golf players have claimed that Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour’s commissioner, didn’t listen to his members and that was one of the reasons why they’d jumped ship.

“Jay Monahan and everyone at headquarters is the PGA Tour. They work tirelessly for us to reap financial rewards and have all the opportunities that we have,” said Horschel, still answering the same question.

“At the same time, I am one of the 200-plus members of the PGA Tour. I am the PGA Tour. So, when you take shots at the PGA Tour, you're taking shots at us, and to say that they don't listen is a complete farce, it really is.

“So it's ridiculous to hear some of the comments these guys make, saying, well, this allows me to play less tournaments. I play 30, 35 weeks a year. No one's forced you to play that many events.

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“PGA Tour says 15 events minimum, all you have to do is play 15 events and you keep your card in those 15 events then that's fine. If you want to play better or you want to play more so you get a chance to win the FedExCup, so be it. So be it. No one has made you play that first [FedEx Cup] Play-Off event to go miss family obligations. No one has.

“Yes, we are independent contractors; we do sign a contract with the PGA Tour to meet certain requirements of the PGA Tour. But we have the opportunity to make our schedule so to say that we have to play X amount of event and they don't have time off, no one makes you.

“I'm on the road for five weeks. I have not seen my family for the last three weeks. That's what my wife and I decided, when we laid our schedule out, it just worked that way. I made that decision to not see my wife and kids for five weeks. Am I crying about it? No. I understand. I'm living my dream trying to play golf professionally and support my family financially.

“So I'm just tired of these comments. Maybe they don't want to support the PGA Tour going forward. Don't tell me you're going to play LIV and then go play 15 events on the PGA Tour and playing 20. That's not a small schedule, that's not playing less.”

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