PGA Tour players could take the “nuclear option” of boycotting events if LIV rebels successfully challenge their suspensions, according to former Ryder Cup captain Davis Love.
Love believes those who have remained loyal to the PGA Tour are “fed up” with the Saudi-backed breakaway, which will expand to a 14-event league next year.
DP World Tour members who played in the inaugural LIV Golf event were fined £100,000 and banned from the Scottish Open, but won a court battle to get the punishments temporarily stayed, pending determination of a full appeal.
And Love thinks a similar legal challenge from players indefinitely suspended from the PGA Tour could spark a dramatic reaction.
“If the LIV guys sue and are allowed to play on the PGA Tour, the players are enough fed up with it,” Love said in a press conference ahead of the Wyndham Championship.
“We understand that we make the rules on the PGA Tour and the commissioner is enforcing our rules and we don’t want those guys playing, coming and cherry-picking our tournaments.
“We hold all the cards. We say to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and to Washington, ‘No, we support the rules. We don’t want those guys playing. We don’t care what the courts say’.
The nuclear option is to say ‘Fine, if they have to play in our events we just won’t play’Davis Love
“The nuclear option is to say ‘Fine, if they have to play in our events we just won’t play’.”
Being suspended by the PGA Tour means players such as Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed cannot represent the United States in September’s Presidents Cup, when Love will captain the side.
“I told the players that I’ve talked to that have gone or thinking about going, it’s your decision and you do what’s right for you, but understand (the) consequences,” Love added.
“I tried to sound like my dad and I probably wasn’t very good at it. I didn’t argue. I said you can be Tiger Woods or you can be banned from the game, take your pick.
“But understanding the consequences, you signed up for these rules. I had to commit by last Friday or I don’t get to play this week. I have to play 15 tournaments or I don’t get to vote and I don’t get my retirement money. You have rules that you have to adhere to.
“I said you’re fixing to break a rule that’s a big rule and you’re going to get penalised for it.
“And Jay’s (Monahan, PGA Tour commissioner) been saying it for a year and some of them understood that, some of them said it’s not going to happen, and some of them just flat out lied, (saying) ‘I’m not doing this, I’m not doing that’.”
Love admits that he was “dead wrong” to say six months ago that LIV was not going to happen and that Phil Mickelson would be the only player to jump ship, but added: “I don’t know what’s going to happen from here on out, but I know it’s going to be a fight and the players are getting more and more unified against it.”