Justin Thomas Joins Rickie Fowler to Demand Brutal LIV Golf Penalties for Returning Golfers

Published 02/06/2024, 8:22 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

Every action has its consequences. Who else would know it better than the professionals from the DP World Tour who jumped ships to LIV Golf following its inception? Well, their defection was slapped with a penalty and continues to be every time they play in the Saudi-backed league. But what about the PGA Tour? Well, it seems Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler aren’t willing to let them go without any ramifications.

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During an interview following the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am’s first round on Thursday, Fowler had conveyed his firm take on the issue while calling for some sort of punishment for the defectors. Now, almost a week later, Thomas has also come forward to express a similar stance while pointing out how it’d be nothing short of a “problem” otherwise.

Decisions and their consequences

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A tweet was shared by Daniel Rapaport on X mentioning how the 2X major champ had agreed with the 35-year-old athlete in dishing out punishment for LIV golfers if they do return to the PGA Tour. Adding on, JT said, “I would have a problem with it, and I think a lot of guys would have a problem with it,” while alluding to how many would not like it if the professionals came back without any penalty of sorts.

During the second signature event of the 2024 calendar, Fowler expressed a similar viewpoint. “I don’t think it’s a direct road,” said the 6X PGA Tour champ while referring to the LIV golfers’ decision to come back if they even do. Moreover, he even went ahead to convey, “They made decisions, and… there has to be something for it. Whether how small or big, that’s not up to me.”

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What about the DP World Tour then? Well, the European circuit has its own set of rules and regulations allowing a defector to be able to play on an event on Tour. However, they would be slapped with fines and a ban, the former of which amount to £75,000 (approximately $95,000), along with a week-long suspension for each LIV Golf event they play.

However, not everyone shares the same viewpoint. Rory McIlroy, who was once against the Saudi-backed league, had made a complete U-turn a while back in support of the defectors.

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Rory McIlroy’s LIV Golf stance

The Northern Irishman had, not too long ago, indicated how the golfers who joined the PIF-funded circuit should be allowed to return without any penalty. “Let them come back,” said the 34-year-old before continuing, “I don’t think there should be a punishment [for LIV players wanting to return to the PGA Tour].”

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One can’t help but look at McIlroy and his conversion from an ardent PGA Tour loyalist to an advocate for LIV Golf pros’ return to the circuit. Nevertheless, his changing stance still seems not enough for the golf world to completely accept the Middle Eastern league into its fold. Well, one can only wait to see what the future would entail.

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Written by:

Allan Abe

899Articles

One take at a time

My search for happiness eventually led me, Allan Abe, to the hallways of ES after dabbling in different fields. Following my childhood passion for the sport and coupling it with my passion for writing, the role of a golf writer was the perfect career path and has been more than a fruitful one. Through the live coverage and in-depth analysis of the lives of big stars like Tiger Woods and Jon Rahm, I have put to use all my journalistic-accolade-winning experience, from state-wide events to college competitions, to give the reader a great story with every piece.
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Edited by:

Vishav

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