Graeme McDowell admits he has some ‘regret’ about the reaction that greeted his move to the LIV Tour, while accepting he ‘should have said a lot less’ than when he initially supported Saudi Arabia
- Graeme McDowell among 69 players to escape conventional tours
- The player broke convention by expressing some regrets in recent months
- McDowell Says He And Rory McIlroy – Loudest Anti-LIV Voice – Will Stay Friends
For all the money involved in LIV’s escape series, lightning rods rarely get a good deal from a storm.
It’s for that reason, in part, that Graeme McDowell is a golfer worth listening to as this controversial new circuit enters the final weekend of its inaugural season.
There has been a trend among the 69 who crossed over to speak only in glowing terms about the decisions they made. That trend makes McDowell a sort of rebel within the rebels.
Graeme McDowell – one of 69 players to defect to the LIV Tour – has expressed regret in recent months
While he doesn’t regret moving, he does regret it. Although he thought it was a positive experience, it was not all positive.
The former US Open champion admits it took him months to get over the setback. More specifically, he points to the criticism he brought on himself by recounting the tour’s party lines about Saudi Arabia at his first press conference ahead of the opening event in St. Albans in June.
“It took me a few months to process what happened,” he said. “In hindsight 20/20 is good, if I could go to London all over again I would have said a lot less than I did. But we were the first guys and I represented a Tour that believed in me to say the right things to represent them.”
McDowell broke convention by expressing some regret over Saudi-backed breakout tour
At the time, that included a shocking response to the question of whether he and the others would be willing pawns in the Saudi sport wash — one in which he said, “If Saudi Arabia wanted to use the game of golf to get where they want to be, I think we’ll do it.” proud to help them on that journey.”
It didn’t sit well with those who feel these golfers have crossed both a moral and a sporting line by joining a state with a horrendous human rights record.
“Looking back now, I was trying to answer questions that were unanswerable — the Saudi stuff,” McDowell added. “No matter how much I said, how much logic I tried to apply, I realize now that nobody cared. I wasted my breath and all I did was shine a spotlight on myself very brightly. You won’t win that conversation.’
While those sentiments are open to debate, it’s clearer that LIV’s creation broke golf like never before, splitting between traditional tours and Greg Norman’s start-up.
He claimed he had made the right decision for his career, but it offered a glimpse of some sort of reconciliation
Players on both sides, including Rory McIlroy, have recently called for some degree of compromise between the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and LIV to chart a way forward – a view McDowell shares, but is skeptical about. whether it can be achieved in the short term.
He said, “I think there’s a lot of muddy water under the bridge. Yes, everyone should have a conversation – this is about the health of golf around the world.
“I believe in this product, I believe there is room for it in golf, and it works better when it’s additive and not combative. It would always be difficult to integrate this into the system.
“It could have gone either way – let’s all sit in a room and fix this and become friends and put together something special for the fan. That’s not how it went. Way two was we had to tear down some walls or hurt feelings and eventually the momentum here will get so big that the conversations have to be had.
McDowell said if he had the chance again, he wouldn’t have done his first LIV press conference the way he did
“I want all of this to work. It may not happen in my life as a golfer, because I may only have two or three years left competitive, but I sure hope it all comes together because I love golf and I love Europe and I love the PGA Tour and all the opportunities I’ve had in this sport.’
Despite the rancor, which currently appears to have killed McDowell’s chances of becoming a Ryder Cup captain, he says he will remain friends with McIlroy.
He said, ‘I can only speak for myself personally, it hasn’t hurt me or my relationships with people I call friends. In particular Rory and Shane (Lowry), they are on their path and I am on my path and I know they both understand why I am on my path. They row their own canoe and they are great players and I respect them both.’