English golfer Justin Rose revealed this week that he previously had conversations with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit, but could not envision joining the rival tour and giving up on his dreams of contending in golf’s major championships.
- Rose revealed he had conversations with LIV Golf “2, 2 plus, 3 years ago”
- Rose said he “could never get comfortable” giving up on his dreams of playing in the majors
- Rose doesn’t have the long-term major exemptions some LIV players have to “buffer” not playing in majors
- Rose sees complications but doesn’t rule out an eventual “reintegration” between PGA Tour and LIV
- Rose is the defending champion this week at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Speaking ahead of his title defense at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Rose divulged that technically he “might have done like two, two plus, three years ago” discussed opportunities with LIV Golf. However the 2013 US Open champion admitted he “could never get comfortable with the giving up on the childhood dreams of the majors.”
For established stars like Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka who have made the switch, they can lean on exemptions into the majors earned through previous victories. But for Rose and most others, no such safety net exists.
— Justin ROSE (@JustinRose99) February 1, 2024
“I was in a position, a situation where I was having to earn my way into them, I didn’t have those long-term exemptions and things like that to buffer it,” Rose explained.
The recent decision not to award world ranking points to LIV events poses major hurdles for those on the breakaway tour ever returning to golf’s biggest stages. Without the points opportunities, LIV players have tumbled down the rankings, severely denting their hopes of qualifying for the majors if the current impasse remains.
It’s a dilemma several seem prepared to confront given the financial windfalls on offer from LIV Golf, which is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. But for Rose, giving up on his major dreams remained an unpalatable trade-off.
Nonetheless, Rose still harbors belief that an eventual reconciliation between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf could occur, facilitating the return of high-profile names to the established circuit.
“I think ultimately, if this is all structured the right way, those guys coming back strengthens the tour, and everybody that’s now involved in this new structure is going to benefit from those great names coming back and being a part of the tour,”
The complexities of any reunification seem manifold though, as Rose conceded himself. “I don’t think there’s necessarily an easy reintegration anytime soon, but I don’t see that as off the table,” he said.
For now at least, the 42-year-old’s focus is fixed on on-course matters as he bids to successfully defend his title at one of the PGA Tour’s iconic events on the California coastline.