Pro golfers cannot withdraw from an event these days without their name being linked to a LIV Golf move, as Viktor Hovland learned recently. The Norwegian golfer withdrew from the WM Phoenix Open, and it sparked rampant rumors that he’d done so in advance of a LIV move.
However, with the Genesis Invitational on deck, Hovland has put those rumors to bed. Whatever the reason he withdrew in the first place, he’s not going to LIV since he has officially announced his participation in the event.
Tiger Woods‘ signature event this season will have the world’s fourth-ranked golfer, which is significant given the mass exodus to LIV that has taken place lately. Hovland, who has in the past criticized the rebel tour, is not going to be another of those names.
Many believed he was set to follow in the footsteps of Jon Rahm and others who recently defected because that’s the path that Tyrell Hatton took. The latter withdrew from the Pebble Beach Pro-Am for no major reason and was shortly off to LIV.
However, Hovland is remaining loyal to the PGA Tour at least for the time being. It would be a surprise to see him leave, but at this point, no golfer is a safe bet to remain on tour when LIV is lurking.
Viktor Hovland is unlikely to leave for LIV
Despite recent rumors, there’s little reason to believe Viktor Hovland would leave for LIV. He doesn’t like the format and he doesn’t believe it helps any golfer get better. The format has been criticized by many pros, and Hovland has been one of the biggest to do so.
The biggest issue for him is the lack of a cut. That, to the pro golfer, is what sets the PGA Tour and other tours apart and makes their golfers a little “sharper” than the rest.
Via Talk Sport, he said:
“I don’t think their product is that great. I’m not such a fan of, for example, playing without a cut. You need the competition with 150 players and a cut. If you don’t play well enough, you’re out. There is something about it that makes your game a little sharper.”
He effectively put an end to any rumors by saying:
“If I had gone to LIV, I don’t think I would have become a better golfer. And then it is, in a way, end of discussion.”
Ultimately, it didn’t end the discussion because not too long after that did the rumors spark up again. However, they had nothing to do with his comments or any reporting and were just speculative and for now have been dispelled.
Things can change quickly. Many golfers have admitted that they’re on tour “for now”, leaving the door open for things to change in the future. Tommy Fleetwood said that and others, like Hatton, said the same before eventually leaving.
Money does talk and it’s hard to pass up the incredible signing bonuses that some have earned. Nevertheless, Hovland’s spot on tour seems to be locked down.