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  • Alistair Tait

The Height Of Golf Hypocrisy

It’s hard not to shake your head and laugh at the sheer hypocrisy surrounding Jon Rahm’s move to LIV Golf. Fred Couples is the latest example of someone who seems to have developed amnesia to join in the chorus of those denouncing the LIV circuit.


Here's what Couples had to say following Rahm’s decision to become a LIV player.

“One hundred million doesn’t get it; $200 million doesn’t get it; $300 million doesn’t get it, but for $400 million it’s a great product, and it’s a great show? My ass, OK. … I wanna see the next superstar say, ‘I’m going to LIV, you know why I’m going? Because it is unreal.’ I want ’em to go for free. Then go on CNN, and every TV show, and say why they’re going is because it’s that good.”

Is this the same Fred Couples who turned up on the European Tour for large appearance fees? It surely is. You don’t think Couples played in numerous Dubai Desert Classics because he enjoyed the charms of strolling through the Gold Souk? No. Freddie was there for the money, along with other top players, Europeans included. Pretty sure he never went to Dubai for free, or other far flung places around the world.


Funny how Freddie and others never sat in a press conference and said:

“I’m only playing this week because they’re paying a nice, big fat appearance fee. I’d much rather be at home but the money was just too good to pass up.” 

So when Freddie blasts Rahm and others for taking the shilling, he might want to open a little spread sheet and list the tournaments and sums he was paid in appearance money to venture off the PGA Tour. It might not add up to the money Rahm is getting, but it’ll be a nice little sum.


Of course, Couples isn’t alone. Numerous PGA Tour stars over the years have stuffed their bank accounts with appearance lucre in European Tour tournaments.


At least one American who benefitted from huge appearance fees on the European circuit gets it. John Daly’s take couldn’t be more different. Here’s what “Grip it and Rip it” said about Rahm going to LIV Golf.

“I got paid a lot of money to go and play European events. What's the difference (with LIV)? There's no difference."

Speaking of hypocrisy, you had to also shake your head at Rory McIlroy calling for European Tour rules to be changed to allow Rahm to play in the 2025 Ryder Cup. This is the same Rory McIlroy who said there was no place in the European Ryder Cup delegation for Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Paul Casey, Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson for this year’s match in Italy. Funny how Rory’s attitude changed when he realised just how important Rahm is to European success two years from now, forgetting how Westwood and co carried European fortunes in so many matches past.


Jay Monahan was quick to suspend Rahm from playing in PGA Tour events, but we’re still waiting to hear from European Tour boss Keith Pelley. (Remember, these are the two hypocrites who cast LIV as the evil empire only to enter into secret talks with them.) Will Monahan’s “strategic alliance” underling Pelley follow suit?


The European Tour boss was quick to tell Westwood and co they were not welcome on their home circuit, or at the Ryder Cup. Will he say the same to Rahm? Or will he bow to McIlroy pressure and find a way to keep Rahm eligible for the Ryder Cup? I’m betting on the latter.


Imagine the conversation acciona, Spanish Open sponsor, will be having with Pelley over Rahm’s inclusion in his national open, which he’s played for the last three years, and five of the last six. The multinational company won't take too kindly to being told the three-time Spanish Open champion can’t play in Madrid next year.


The company’s website claims it “invests in, develops and operates infrastructure assets that make our planet more sustainable.” Its tagline is “business as usual.”


Pelley telling acciona it can’t have Rahm in its field doesn’t sound sustainable to me. And it might not be business as usual with the European Tour if Pelley takes a hard line. That goes for other sponsors too. DP World has shelled out a lot of money to become title sponsor of the European Tour. They’ll want to see Rahm play in the DP World Tour Championship, which he’s won three times. Ditto for BMW, which sponsors the PGA Championship at Wentworth.


Maybe Pelley's radio silence stems from deep depression at LIV players winning four of the first five events on the DP World Tour schedule. Or perhaps he’s just waiting for orders from strategic alliance boss Monahan telling him what to do.


You just have to laugh at the mess men’s profesional golf is in right now, don’t you? A mess that probably could have been avoided if all parties had sat down and talked to each other like adults rather than throwing little hissy fits. No wonder ordinary golf fans are sick to their back teeth at the goings on.


#JustSaying: “Before joining LIV Golf, players knew there would be consequences if they chose money over competition.” Keith Pelley

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Probably the dumbest comparison ever to compare one-off appearance fees on the old European Tour to being paid an upfront signing-on fee in excess of career earnings to go and play a new tour that has an unconventional format with no OWGR ranking points. Plus it completely misses the point Couples was making anyway. Of course Rahm will be able to play DPWT events providing he fulfils any disciplinary measures. He's made it clear he won't resign and go in the huff unlike Poulter, Westwood et al. Why are you trying to create a story here that doesn't exist other LIV players are playing DPWT events with no fuss. Ian Poulter approved this article.

Alistair Tait
Dec 20, 2023
Replying to


I welcome feedbacks on my posts, for or against, as long as they're constructive. I bristle at the word "dumbest" and the suggestion Ian Poulter signs off my articles. Only one person does that: me. As for a one-off "signing on fee." Not so. Freddie played quite a number of ET events pocketing nice tidy sums. People in glass houses and all that. As for going in the "huff," it was actually the ET and PGAT that went in the huff. Funny how both organisations were happy to coexist with other tours until LIV came along, another example of rank hypocrisy. And the only reason other players are playing DPWT events is because those events are consanctioned with tour…

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