'You can't have your cake and eat it' – Fitzpatrick against LIV players returning to PGA Tour

By Sports Desk March 09, 2023

Players who joined LIV Golf should not be allowed to return to the PGA Tour upon the expiration of their contracts with the breakaway circuit, believes Matt Fitzpatrick.

The PGA Tour has suspended players who signed up for the controversial Saudi Arabia-backed competition since its launch last year.

Speaking ahead of The Players Championship, where holder Cameron Smith will be absent after defecting to LIV Golf, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said there was no pathway in place should a player wish to reverse such a switch.

U.S. Open champion Fitzpatrick does not believe the PGA Tour should welcome them back, telling Sky Sports News: "My personal view is that you can't have your cake and eat it.

"I would not let people come back if they had gone to LIV, I just wouldn't.

"Don't get me wrong, they could turn around and say, 'You can come and play LIV if you want', but I don't want to do that. I want to stay here and I want to play DP World Tour and PGA Tour.

"I think it is incredibly unfair for the PGA Tour to do that and I would be staggered if they did allow them [to come back]. 

"I think if you spoke to Tiger Woods then he would probably have the same stance, although I don't know what other guys would have.

"If you have left the Tour that you have been on for so long and done so well, then you have left for something you think is better, even if it maybe is not always greener."

Despite Fitzpatrick's strong views on the LIV circuit, he reiterated his belief that defecting players should be allowed to represent Europe at the Ryder Cup later this year.

"Obviously I have just said there about not letting them back on the PGA Tour or DP World Tour, I completely agree with that, but the Ryder Cup is a completely different case," he said.

"For me, I would want the 12 best players on the team. Hopefully I am one of those, to try and win. That is what the goal should be, to try and win, not to be nice about who should be playing, in my opinion."

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    Brooks Koepka and Scottie Scheffler are also among the prominent players chasing Schauffele, as they sit on four under after Thursday's action.

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    McIlroy's last major win came in 2014 at this tournament and venue. He came into the event in form after two straight wins and remains in contention despite not playing at his peak.

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    "Yeah, I mean, there's nothing I can do," Scheffler said. "Xander went out and played a great round in the morning, and I'm not really going to worry about trying to shoot 9-under. I'm just going to go out and try to hit good shots and play my own game.

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    Rory McIlroy came in at five under, having carded a fine 66, while Tony Finau and Sahith Theegala went round in 65, while reigning champion Brooks Koepka managed an admirable four under.

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