The bitter row between LIV Golf rebels and those that have stayed loyal to the PGA Tour rumbles on as they head towards the first major of 2023.
The Saudi-backed LIV Golf series launched last year, signing the likes of Open champion Cameron Smith, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson. The PGA Tour subsequently suspended rebels, resulting in legal challenges and a clear divide between players heading towards the Masters next month.
The likes of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have led the PGA Tour response and slated those that have signed lucrative deals with the Saudi-backed series. Golf legend Fred Couples has now joined the row, taking aim at Mickelson and Garcia in particular.
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Former world No.1 and Masters winner Couples turned professional in 1980 and spent his whole career on the PGA Tour. The 63-year-old was was a guest speaker at the PGA Tour Champions breakfast ahead of an event this weekend at Hoag Classic in Newport Beach.
Couples took aim at Mickelson branding him a “nutbag” before conceding that the six-time major winner is “probably one of the 10 best players that ever played” and insisting he “still” likes the American, according to the Orange County Register.
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Couples won 15 PGA Tour events during his career and said his issue isn't with the LIV project, but more the attitude of rebel members involved.
He said: “I don’t have a problem with LIV. What my problem has been is what these guys say when they go to the LIV Tour. Just go to the LIV Tour, but stop blasting something I’ve been a part of for 42 years.
"That’s my problem. They’re all bashing the PGA Tour, and that affects me a little bit. I don’t know anything about the LIV Tour, except they overpay all of them.”
Another former Masters winner Garcia was one of the initial 17 players who competed in the first LIV Golf event. The six-time Ryder Cup winner stated: "I can't wait to leave this tour," before signing for LIV Golf.
McIlroy previously revealed he was told to 'shut up' by Garcia when criticising the rebel series. Couples added that he was annoyed with “all these other clowns, like Sergio (Garcia),” who ripped into the PGA Tour before signing lucrative LIV Golf contracts.
LIV Golf stages its second event of the season in Arizona this weekend before heading for Orlando later this month.
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