LIV Golf furore set to rumble on at Renaissance
Major winner: Matthew Fitzpatrick (pic: Terry Murden)
US golf star Collin Morikawa wants the talking to stop and the action to take centre stage at the Genesis Scottish Open – but that seems a forlorn hope.
The Open champion is fed up with all the chat surrounding the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series, however with the ‘rebels’ having won a legal case to be reinstated in this week’s $8 million event being played at the Renaissance Club, he’s unlikely to have heard the last of it.
Ian Poulter, Justin Harding and Adrain Otaegui were all banned from competing this week only to see their suspensions put on hold after arbitration, Branden Grace joining them after winning the latest LIV event in Portland, Oregon.
Having been added to the field to take the number of competitors to 160, they were paired in the first round’s only two-balls, Harding and Otaegui the first out at the crack of dawn and Poulter and Grace teeing off at the 10th early in the afternoon.
The civil war between the DP World Tour and PGA Tour and LIV Golf is threatening to engulf the sport but as he prepared to launch his bid for glory on Scotland’s Golf Coast, Morikawa made it clear he has heard enough.
Asked about the controversy which has dominated the headlines, the American said: “Let it go. I shouldn’t have to worry about it. You guys shouldn’t have to worry about it. You know, we are here with an amazing field, 14 of the 15 best players in the world; that should be a story line.
“And then for next week, I could say a mouthful of me being defending champion, of it being the 150th Open at St Andrews. And Tiger Woods is playing again too. I mean, does it get better than that? It’s tough. It’s tough to beat that.”
Golf fans are in for a treat this week with a star-studded field teeing it up on the East Lothian links, Rory McIlroy the only absentee from the world’s top 15.
With recently crowned US Open champion Matthew Fitzpatrick lining up alongside Morikawa, Scottie Scheffler and Justin Thomas, it is the first time in the Tour’s history that the four current major champions will be competing in the same event.
“I’ve been in the car a lot driving places and flying as well. It’s just been busy with all sorts of stuff, so I’m looking forward to getting back into regular scheduling,” said Englishman Fitzpatrick, who is playing in his first tournament since breaking his major duck at Brookline last month.
“It’s such a strong field and a golf course I’ve played well around before. To come back here as a major champion for this event is great. I’m ready to play, see where my game is at, particularly going into next week as well.
“I’ve never played an Open Championship at St Andrews. I’ve only ever played the Dunhill, so I’m going to be interested to see how different it is. The set-up is very different, I’m sure. I’ve heard it’s pretty firm already, which is good.”