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One man's opinion

Fired up by Jon Rahm defection, Fred Couples blasts, 'LIV Tour ain’t changing a thing'

December 12, 2023
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Fred Couples at the 2017 Presidents Cup.

Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire

Among past and present PGA Tour pros, few have offered more biting commentary on LIV Golf than Fred Couples, the seemingly easy-going dude who didn’t let much faze him on the course.

In LIV, “Boom Boom” found a big target he couldn’t ignore, and he’s pulled no punches with some of the most notable players in the game. In one rant at a California PGA Tour Champions event in March, he called Sergio Garcia a “clown” and former Ryder Cup teammate Phil Mickelson a “nutbag,” though he admitted the latter is among the 10 best players of all time.

Said Couples at the time, ““If you’re giving Phil Mickelson $200 million at age 52 to shoot 74 and 75, God bless you.”

As it was then and now, Couples’ biggest peeve is players going to LIV and talking less about the money they’re getting than the draw of what’s different about the Saudi Arabia-backed circuit that features 48 players, 54 holes, no cuts, team play and enormous purses.

Appearing on Monday night on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, the 64-year-old, 11-time tour winner was again on a roll in the aftermath of the move of World No. 3 Jon Rahm to LIV. Last week, after he signed his deal reportedly worth at least $500 million, Rahm said, “Obviously the past two years there’s been a lot of evolving on the game of golf, things have changed a lot and so have I. Seeing the growth of LIV Golf, seeing the evolution of LIV Golf and innovation is something that has really captured my attention.”

That kind of talk makes Couples go off.

“Don’t sit there and then go on and say, ‘they’re changing the game,'” he said. “What are they changing? Actually, for 50 years, golf has been changed. Arnold Palmer changed it. Jack Nicklaus changed it. Tiger Woods changed it.

“The LIV Tour ain’t changing a thing.”

Couples acknowledged that players can choose to compete wherever they want, but doesn’t want to hear that money makes LIV great.

“One hundred million doesn’t get it; $200 million doesn’t get it; $300 million doesn’t get it, but for $400 million, it’s a great product, and it’s a great show?” Couples said. “My a--, OK. Tell me the next guy … ‘I’m going for free, boys. I love this [LIV] tour. I don’t like the PGA Tour anymore.’ No one’s gonna do that.

“I wanna see the next superstar say, ‘I’m going to LIV, you know why I’m going? Because it is unreal.’” [The PGA Tour plays] Riviera, and they play TPC Phoenix in front of 300,000 people. I want ’em to go for free. Then go on CNN, and every TV show, and say why they’re going is because it’s that good.”