Jack Nicklaus says that LIV Golf are using their huge wealth to try and “buy the game” of golf, although he doesn’t blame any of the players for deciding to join Greg Norman’s new venture.
In an interview with Sir Nick Faldo for his new podcast, the 18-time Major champion says the Saudi-backed outfit have splashed so much money on LIV Golf in an attempt to “buy respectability” within the game.
Nicklaus has no issue with players opting to cash-in and join up with LIV Golf, but is not too happy with how it has shaken up the game – even if changes the PGA Tour are making would have come sooner or later.
“I don’t fault the guys who have gone to LIV,” Nicklaus told Sir Nick’s Round Table Chats on YouTube. “You have to make a choice, between playing golf for a short period time, for a lot of money, to put away for your family, or do you have the loyalty to play regular golf, then the senior tour and into retirement.
“It’s a quick hit and that’s their call, and I don’t fault that. But I don’t think it’s been good for the game of golf, the PGA Tour was forced to react and I don’t like the way we’ve automatically created a secondary tour within the main tour, we’ve created a second layer.
“But times change though, so you go with the times. The future of LIV will depend on how these legal cases are handled.
“It’s money trying to buy the game, it’s trying to buy respectability, and I don’t think that’s what it’s all about.
“Somebody said they’re trying to buy the ability to sit on the veranda at Augusta National sipping Mint Julep with the membership and be accepted. It’s trying to gain acceptability within the mainframe of the game of golf.”
NICKLAUS – WE NEVER PLAYED FOR THE MONEY
Nicklaus revealed in an interview with the Fire Pit Collective that he turned down “in excess of $100m” to work for LIV in a similar capacity to Norman – who did not take too kindly to that news.
The ever-increasing prize money within professional golf is all a far cry from back when Nicklaus was hoovering up Majors and dominating the game, but he insists that financial gain was not the motivating factor when he was playing.
“During my era, I did what I did, I won a few tournaments and there wasn’t much money, although we thought it was good money then,” Nicklaus told Sir Nick.
“My lifetime earnings including both tours was about eight million or something like that – 10 guys make that now every year! There’s a lot to be said about today’s era, but I wouldn’t trade what I did – I loved it.
“The game of golf we played was because we loved the sport, we never played for money – money was a side thing that because we won on the golf course we could use our names to go and make a living – today the guys make a living on the golf course, which we didn’t.”
Source: Golf Monthly