Over the last couple of weeks, things have taken a far nastier turn in relations between the PGA and DP World tours and the LIV Golf Series.
There was always going to be a fightback from the long-established organisations, perhaps wounded by the ease at which the Saudi-backed company has tempted away players such as Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau, and the expected fines and sanctions have led to counterclaims and remarkable turnarounds in the fortunes of some players.
Headlines have been easy to write, many caused by the various LIV press conferences, at which players have denied any knowledge of the Saudi reputation on human rights, claiming they have usurped the traditional tours for a less hectic schedule, less formal atmosphere, and to be permitted to spend more time with their families.
Of course, social media being what it is, there have been several less savoury incidents and comments, and some very personal jibes and verbal attacks.
One of the most staunch of LIV players, Graeme McDowell, revealed just how bad the personal attacks on social media have been.
“I never really have made my peace with how vitriolic the attacks would be regarding my reputation, on social media the things that I’d said being absolutely torn to shreds,” he told BBC NI. “And it’s really hard because I’m being asked questions that there are no right answers to.”
“I’m having my moral integrity attacked all the time when, at the end of the day, all I’m trying to do is play golf. I’m trying to make a business decision for me and my family. And, you know, I’ve paid my dues in this game over the last 20 years, I’ve tried to carry myself the right way.”
The 2010 US Open winner continued, “I don’t wake up and feel proud of myself every day. You know, I can’t turn on my Instagram or Twitter without someone telling me to go die. It’s been a really tough couple of months. But again, I expected it. I knew what the consequences were going to be. I just didn’t realise kind of just how heavily this was going to be hammered, trying to answer questions which are unanswerable.”
“That’s probably the only mistake I made in London at the first event when I was in my press conference – I just wish I’d said nothing. I just wish I just sat there and just kind of shook my head and said no comment. But it’s not who I am. I always try and be truthful and try to answer questions. I shouldn’t have bothered.”
Part of the problem seems to be that he is saying things, and someone has again picked him up for his answers to the most obvious of questions.
NCG writer Hannah Holden tweeted a section of an interview that the Northern Irishman had with the Irish Independent:
This McDowell interview is fascinating No wonder he is upset about the backlash of going to LIV when he doesn’t know enough about the Saudi regime to comment on it? ????? Possibly something you research before taking their money? pic.twitter.com/xGwr4sMLuc — Hannah Holden (@HannahHoldenNCG) July 5, 2022
As McDowell said in the latest report, perhaps he (and many others) should not be piping up with their thoughts.
Like his fellow Ryder Cup star, Sergio Garcia, his reputation seems to be on a downward spiral the more he speaks, summed up by @LostForePod podcast host and Mayo affiliate, Tom Jacobs, in his reply:
“He’s THE worst person they have speaking out for them, and given the candidates that keep getting the air time, that’s a tough heat to lead.”