4x major champion Ernie Els takes swipe at LIV, claims PIF-funded tour is not “proper golf”

Ernie Els has called out LIV Golf and urged them to play 'real golf' instead of their current format.

4x major champion Ernie Els takes swipe at LIV, claims PIF-funded tour is not “proper golf”

Ernie Els (Image via Imago)

In a damning assessment of LIV Golf, 4x major champion Ernie Els took a major swipe at them. The South African international went on to claim that the PIF-funded tour is not “proper golf“.

Since their establishment, LIV Golf has faced several criticisms for it’s format. Unlike the usual circuits, the breakaway tour plays only 54-holes. This is something that Els does not seem fond of.

In an interview with Yellowhammer News, the 54-year-old claimed that he had not received any offer to play on LIV Golf. Els though added that he would not have joined them at any given stage of his playing career.

No, I’ve not had an offer, but I wouldn’t have said yes anyway. Listen, I know some of the Saudi guys; they genuinely love the game of golf. But the LIV current format is not proper golf.
Ernie Els said as per Yellowhammer News.

The veteran golfer also spoke on the ongoing merger between the PGA Tour and PIF. According to Els, a deal between this two bodies should come sooner rather than later as the “mess” created due to the start of LIV Golf is not good for the sport.

Obviously I hope they can work out their differences, because this mess is not good for our sport. We’ll have to see. But the fact remains, to my mind, the LIV golf format doesn’t work, not in the way they’re playing at the moment.
Ernie Els continued.

Recently, reports from the Associated Press claimed that Tiger Woods will be the lone player in the negotiation talks regarding this deal going forward. It still remains to be seen when this merger will actually go through.

Ernie Els was not pleased with South Africans golfers joining LIV Golf

LIV Golf also seems to have fractured Ernie Els’ relationship with fellow South Africans golfers who left the tour. Top stars like Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Branden Grace jumped the ships and joined LIV Golf.

Ernie Els
Ernie Els (Image via The Telegraph)

This was something that left him disappointed. While speaking with the Palm Beach Post in 2023, Els informed that he lost the “camaraderie” that he once had with this golfers.

We’ve lost that camaraderie, definitely. I’m still friends with them but it’s different. I was disappointed they never asked me my opinion. I had them in the foundation (in South Africa), looked after them as youngsters. They flew with me, they stayed at my house. Kind of nurtured them to get onto the PGA Tour. It just was done in a way I didn’t like.
Ernie Els said as per Palm Beach Post.

Currently this trio plays alongside Dean Burmester in an all South-African team, Stingers GC. In 2024, the team has achieved three top 10 finishes with all players on the team contributing leaving them fifth in the season standings.

The biggest win for them came at LIV Golf Miami when Burmester claimed his first LIV Golf title through a playoff route. So, despite the words of Els, the trio of Oosthuizen, Schwartzel and Grace have achieved success on the breakaway tour and are looking in formidable form this season.

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