War Of Words

Players 2023: Justin Thomas takes flamethrower to LIV with one quote


Ben Jared

PONTE VEDRA BEACH — When the PGA Tour announced the changes to its designated event model last week, the response from fans was predictable. After a year of online arguing with LIV bots defenders over the importance of the 36-hole cut, it was natural for people to wonder if they had been bamboozled.

Some of the prominent tour voices like Rory McIlroy and Max Homa did a decent job of quickly setting the record straight, laying out why smaller fields comprised of stars and the removal of the cut will actually be a good thing in the long run. Of course, we won't know if they are right until we actually see it in action.

That didn't stop actual LIV players, and the LIV CEO himself, Greg Norman, from getting their shots in at the tour's new no-cut model. Norman's quote tweet of a message from the official LIV Golf account was of particular note:

Of course, there are some very key differences both Norman and many of the LIV players failed to acknowledge when they were getting their takes off. One being that the reported 70- to 80-man fields are nearly double the size of of LIV events, and that said fields will be just a touch stronger on the PGA Tour. But don't take our word for it, take the word of Justin Thomas, who was asked about Norman's tweet, and the announced changes to the designated events, on Tuesday at the tour's flagship event, the Players Championship.

"Well, we have an astronomically higher amount of quality players than they do in their events," said Thomas, laughing. "But, no, it's very … I think all of us have not been shy to say it that, you know, this is stuff that we've been trying to do and have worked on. Obviously got sped up a crazy amount due to what was going on in the outside."

Ok then! In fairness, Thomas is not wrong, though the "astronomically higher" quote will no doubt ruffle some feathers over on the Saudi-backed tour, especially with defending Players champion Cameron Smith not being at TPC Sawgrass this week.

This week, 46 of the top 50 players in the world will tee it up at TPC Sawgrass. LIV, meanwhile, won't return until next Friday, March 17 at The Gallery Golf Club in Tucson, Az., where just four out of the top 50 will be in the field.