Paul McGinley fears golf will “never be the same again” as the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour prepare to close ranks and combat the breakaway LIV Golf threat.
While a merger is off the agenda, the two big tours are expected to announce an even closer relationship this week with three big money limited-field events in Europe, the Middle East and Asia in the “Fall” schedule designed to combat the Saudi-bankrolled tour, which returns in Oregon opposite the Horizon Irish Open from June 30-July 2.
“We had a great winner this week, but there are troubling times ahead, there’s no doubt about that,” said McGinley, who is a member of the DP World Tour’s board. “The professional game has been turned upside down and this week is going to be a very important time for both tours as they set out their stall about what the future may look like for professional golf.
“At the moment, it’s causing a lot of rancour and divisiveness in the ranks and I don’t think it will ever be the same again for the simple reason that it’s a members’ organisation and it’s a collective.”
McGinley feels the players who have opted not to jump ship will not allow the rebels to return.
“Players of moved outside the collective and they are driving to start a rival tour and that’s their decision,” he said. “But being a members’ organisation, the guys who have stayed loyal are thinking, well those guys are going over there for a whole lot of money and then want to come back and play our tour again, so that’s divisive.
“Many of those guys are friends of mine, I’ve been shoulder to shoulder with them in the Ryder Cup and they’re good friends of mine.
“It’s really difficult and it’s strained relationships within the game because all of us who have played professional golf together are a brethren and I think it’s really sad that it’s come to this.
“I’ve texted a lot of a lot of players and spoken to a lot of them and there is certainly a very strong resolve among the players as a members organisation to say it’s not fair if we’re being loyal to the tour the guys can go away build another tour and then come back and play our bigger events. That’s why it’s going to be very difficult to find a solution.
“I’m not saying a solution can’t be found, but the money is going to make it incredibly difficult because the money is so big.
“I don’t want to judge the guys who have gone; it’s their decision. They’ve got an opportunity, they are business people and I get that. They might be in the twilight of their careers, and I get that; they’ve been offered a whole lot of money and I get that too.
“But there are consequences for doing it and you can’t play on both sides of the pitch.
“So that’s what’s going to make it very difficult to find a compromise. I don’t know where it’s going to end up. I don’t have the answers, but I do know that it’s very divisive. I’ve spoken to guys who have gone to LIV and we will remain friends, but I’m on the other side of the fence now.”