Jon Rahm has hit out at LIV Golf players who are teeing it up at the BMW PGA Championship solely for “world ranking points” while defending champion Billy Horschel has said their appearances are a “slap in the face” for DP World Tour members.
]The BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth is a flagship event on the DP World Tour. It has an $8 million purse and due to the stacked field and no competing event on the PGA Tour, a raft of world ranking points. As well as the likes of Rahm, Horschel, and Matt Fitzpatrick, 17 players from LIV Golf will be on the field.
Rahm has no issue with the players who have been regulars on the DP World Tour competing following their move to LIV but is seemingly unhappy with Abraham Ancer and Talor Gooch making appearances. Their positions inside the top 50 in the world make them eligible for slots in the field, but it is Gooch’s first appearance in a stand-alone DP World Tour event, while Ancer has played only a handful of times.
LIV Golf does not qualify for world ranking points at the moment, so the only way for players to remain inside the top 50 – which is the cut-off for automatic entry to the majors – is to play affiliated events. Rahm says the only reason they are appearing is to protect their ranking, and it is personal to him as the current first reserve, Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, is a friend of the former world No. 1. “Some of the names, they have never expressed any support to the European Tour (DP World Tour) or the event whatsoever.”
Rahm said. “To give those players an opportunity and take it from people who have dedicated themselves to the European Tour I think is wrong. It is a bit more personal this time for me, the first player out on the list is a Spanish player – Alfredo Garcia-Heredia – a great friend of mine who has played 20 European Tour events this year.” And then you have… I am not going to name anybody, but the only reason they are here is world ranking points hoping they can finish in the top 50 so they can play the majors. It is clear as day, they are not fooling anyone, certainly not me.”
“I am not opposed to Sergio (Garcia), Westy (Lee Westwood), G Mac (Graeme McDowell) (Ian) Poulter being here, they have dedicated their lives to the European Tour.”
Horschel has been a supporter of the DP World Tour, and the American has also been outspoken in his criticism of LIV. The defending champion has no issues with players going over to LIV but says they should remain there and not cherry-pick events on the DP World Tour. “Those guys when they signed that deal, and the money they got, they factored in – they had to be smart enough to factor in – that they may not be able to play either tour, may not be able to get world ranking points”
Horschel said : “The money they got was factored in, that’s why they signed those deals.As much as I get on with Lee and Ian and some of these other guys very well, and they have supported the tour for quite some time, I feel it is a slap in the face for members of this tour that they are coming over to play. I believe it is the biggest purse on the DP World Tour with a full field – and they are going to be taking money out of guys’ pockets this week. I just don’t think that is right. I honestly don’t think that the American guys who haven’t supported the Tour should be here. Abraham Ancer, Talor Gooch… you’ve never played this tournament, you’ve never supported the DP World Tour. Why are you here? You are here for one reason only and that’s to try to get world ranking points because you don’t have it (on LIV Golf). It’s hypocritical because of what some of these guys have said when they said they wanted to play less golf.”
Gooch took to Twitter to respond to Horschel, saying: “He supports what’s best for his career. Like all of us do. Name a top 50 player in history who hasn’t chased world ranking points…”