Brooks Koepka, Bubba Watson don’t think Masters week will be awkward for LIV golfers
Is the Masters going to be awkward for LIV golfers and PGA Tour players? Not so fast, says Bubba Watson and Brooks Koepka.
Speaking to media ahead of the LIV Golf League’s third event of the 2023 season in Orlando at Orange County National, Watson and Koepka were speaking, along with Patrick Reed, in advance of this week’s tournament, but a majority of the questions were focused on next week’s Masters.
Watson and Reed have each slid on green jackets at Augusta National while Koepka has collected four majors in his career. In recent weeks, there has been plenty of discussion about how LIV golfers would interact with those from the PGA Tour and whether it would be tense. However, Watson and Koepka said don’t expect anything to happen.
“I’m going to be honest, man. It’s only awkward in the media,” Watson said. “I’ve talked to people that are going to be there. I’m going to sign up with Jason Day and Cam Young in the par 3. Some guys have already asked me to play some practice rounds. Media is the only one that is pushing it. I have nothing against anybody. If you change jobs, I’m not mad at you. If you start reporting for somebody else, hey, man, it’s a better decision for you and your family.”
Added Koepka: “I think that’s one of the big things. Down in Jupiter, we see each other — I was just with Rory (McIlroy) and J.T. (Justin Thomas) yesterday, and I think Keegan (Bradley) was there. We see each other quite a bit. I mean, there’s a lot of conversations. I was talking with Rory for probably about 30 minutes just about the ball and all the other stuff that’s going on. No one is angry at anybody from what I’ve seen.”
The Masters will be the first time many golfers on the different tours have seen one another since The Open Championship last July. Some have played in DP World Tour events, like the Desert Dubai Classic where McIlroy topped Reed by one shot.
Although the players may not hold animosity, the PGA Tour and LIV Golf as leagues is a separate story. The two are in an ongoing legal battle in federal court.
Eleven LIV Golf players, including Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour in August of last year. Over the last six months, players have joined and dropped from the suit, and now just LIV Golf, DeChambeau, Matt Jones and Peter Uihlein remain.
Yet Watson and Koepka insist the players themselves don’t hold anything personal against others, even saying comments from players like McIlroy against LIV Golf aren’t surprising.
“(He’s) protecting his entity, man,” Watson said. “He’s protecting his business, which is fine.”
Aside from the aforementioned antitrust lawsuit, Reed has sued numerous media members and entities for defamation. There was also a case involving LIV Golf players and the DP World Tour that will clarify whether LIV players can play in DP World Tour events.
LIV Golf has long been criticized as a way for the Kingdom to sportswash its human rights record. Saudi Arabia has been accused of wide-ranging human rights abuses, including politically motivated killings, torture, forced disappearances and inhumane treatment of prisoners. And members of the royal family and Saudi government were accused of involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW:
#LIVGolf Bubba Watson and Brooks Koepka with some great commentary on their relationships with PGA Tour players, and how the potential awkwardness portrayed by the media isn’t actually happening. Question from @BobHarig.
“I’m gonna be honest it’s only awkward in the media” pic.twitter.com/En4ajpG3cD
— LIV Golf Updates (@LIVGolfUpdates) March 29, 2023
Article originally appeared on: Golfweek.usatoday.com
One thought on “Brooks Koepka, Bubba Watson don’t think Masters week will be awkward for LIV golfers”
Cheater Reed can’t be trusted. Watson had to pray for permission to accept blood money. Koepka? Just another head case. The PGA is better without the three stooges. LIV is a boring joke and not worth watching.