Sports

Bryson: Fans ‘losing interest’ with Tour/LIV deal dragging on

Bryson DeChambeau supported Rory McIlroy’s recent comments that the current divided landscape is not sustainable and said Wednesday that an agreement between the two warring sides needs to be reached “quicker rather than later” because fans are losing interest.

Speaking ahead of the LIV Miami event at Trump National Doral, DeChambeau said that a partnership between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf is what’s best, first and foremost, for the fans.

“The fans are what drive this sport. If we don’t have fans, we don’t have golf. We’re not up here entertaining,” DeChambeau told reporters. “That’s the most important thing as of right now, the low-hanging fruit. There’s got to be a way to come together. How that comes together, that’s above all of us out here.”

The player directors from the PGA Tour policy board were among the contingent that met last month with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the Saudi Public Investment Fund and the head of LIV Golf. Nine months after the initial framework agreement was announced, that meeting in the Bahamas marked the first time that Tour players had met with Al-Rumayyan. Tour commissioner Jay Monahan described their talks as “constructive.”

Rory McIlroy, who stepped down from the Tour board last fall, told Golf Monthly earlier this week that the current division of top players “sucks” and said that he doesn’t see an agreement happening anytime soon.

“We’re probably still quite a long ways from it,” he said, “but I would hope that in the future that we can get there, unify the game and get the best players back together again.”

That’s the part that’s most worrisome to DeChambeau – the talks dragging on for the foreseeable future – even if he was part of the initial wave of defectors from the Tour.

“It needs to happen fast,” DeChambeau said. “It’s not a two-year thing. Like, it needs to happen quicker rather than later just for the good of the sport. Too many people are losing interest.”

The past two years, however, have unfolded about how Phil Mickelson expected – disruptively.

“In the end, we are in a transitional state where we now have competition, and that’s leading to a lot of disruption and change, but it’s also in the end product going to make golf more global where the best players travel more,” Mickelson said. “I don’t know how it’s going to end, exactly, or what it’s going to look like. I’m putting my trust in Yasir and where the game is headed more globally. But at some point, when it gets ironed out, I think it’s going to be in a much better place.

“Right now, we are in the disruption phase, so we are in the middle of the process. But when it’s all said and done, it’s going to be a lot brighter. While we go through it, it’s challenging. But we’ll get there.”

Brooks Koepka said he has tried to distance himself from the conversations, knowing that the final decision is up to the executives on both tours.

“It’s tough to tell the future,” Koepka said. “I have no control over anything. I just keep going wherever they tell me to go.

“Same with the PGA Tour guys. I just don’t think anybody knows the future. Nobody knows on this side. Nobody knows on that side. It’s up to people that are more important than me, and more important than a bunch of the players to decide. We’ll let them figure it out and go from there.”


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