Golf legend Gary Player staunchly defended the PGA Tour against the LIV Golf series as the Saudi-backed rival league gets set to play in Boston over the weekend.
The 86-year-old who has won nine major tournaments over his illustrious career appeared on BBC Radio 5Live on Wednesday and could not come to terms with anyone being a champion who played 54 holes over the course of a three-day event.
"I wouldn’t take a billion dollars for my nine majors on both tours. I worked hard. I had desire. I traveled the world. It was an education, I met wonderful people," Player said. "How can you ever be a champion playing a tour with 54 holes and no cut?
"What sort of tour is that? 54 holes, no cut, a team event nobody understands. It’s a tour for people who don’t have confidence in their future. They don’t have the confidence they can be winners. It’s never going to compare to the regular tour. No chance. They’ve declared war on the PGA Tour."
Player said those who left for the renegade league should not expect to be a part of the Presidents Cup or the Ryder Cup.
One of the top defectors was reigning British Open champion Cameron Smith. Player said he was not sure what the future held for Smith.
"Here’s a young man I really thought was going to be a superstar. Now what sort of future does he have? Will he be able to realize this great dream of being a champion? I don’t know," Player said in the radio interview, adding that he understood why Henrik Stenson decided to go – financial reasons.
"But this is a potential superstar. I think his advisers have given him the wrong advice."
Smith was the latest golfer to bolt for the rival league, joining Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and a plethora of others.
Player has his own relationship with Saudi Arabia – being an ambassador for Saudi Golf. He wore a Saudi Golf logo when he was an honorary starter for the Masters and wore an Aramco Team Series patch during an event prior to The Open Championship.
He initially defended those who jumped to LIV Golf because "they needed the money," according to Golf Digest.