At the Scottish Open, we talk about everything except golf


Ian Poulter arrives at the Renaissance Club on Wednesday after earning his way onto the pitch via a court injunction.

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GULLANE, Scotland — The golfing world is eagerly awaiting this week’s action at the Renaissance Club.

Here in East Lothian, Scotland, the arrival of Ian Poulter, the headliner of four players who won this tournament by a British court a few days ago, has raised some anticipation. Anticipation followed the unveiling of tee times, to reveal how the tournament could handle four late additions to the field. Most of them were built through whispers on the driving range. And then, really a non-whisper.

“We’ll see you later,” a writer told Billy Horschel on the driving range Tuesday morning.

“Oh you will absolutely see me later,” Horschel replied.

Horschel was the first player to step onto the podium this week, and he delivered on his promise by posting an 891-word rant about LIV Golf players making their way onto the course. He hit his nadir at words 297-300, when he said “Leave us alone, honestly.”

“They keep talking about the PGA Tour, they don’t listen to them,” he continued. “The events of the last week really frustrated me because there are a lot of guys who are hypocrites who don’t tell the truth and lie about some things that I can’t stand to sit here and talk about anymore. be more diplomatic about it like I have been in the past.

billy horschel speaks to the media at the scottish open

Billy Horschel blasts ‘hypocrites’ playing LIV Golf events in epic tirade


Zephyr Melton

“I don’t blame anyone for going to play the LIV Tour. I don’t hold any grudges against anyone who is going to play the LIV Tour. I don’t feel any malice about the comments they make, comments that Jay Monahan don’t listen to PGA Tour [players] or that Jay Monahan isn’t listening to us. Jay Monahan and everyone at headquarters is the PGA Tour. They work tirelessly for us to reap financial rewards and take advantage of all the opportunities we have.

With this statement setting the tone for the week, the focus on another PGA Tour event centers on the governing bodies in charge of the game’s future and player opinions on that future – all while the real tournament lurks in the background.

Some of the ground seems unsettled by this, eager to discuss something else – “It’s none of my business”, said Jon Rahm – and perhaps annoyed that the script has dragged on for so long, successfully crossing the ocean. Atlantic. Collin Morikawa was asked if Poulter earning a last-minute entry into the event he was once suspended from is a disgrace. Instead, Morikawa suggested the media shift their attention elsewhere.

“You write the stories, each of you here, and you can write anyone else’s stories,” he said. “We hear a lot of stories about the players who are here and come to these press conferences, but you might not write interesting stories about other people.”

It’s totally within Morikawa’s right to want to talk about other things right now. But he also never played in a field of 160 players due to four late additions via court injunction. These are bizarre times, and as annoyed as it may be, many players are brimming with curiosity.

Keith Mitchell, hitting balls on the range on Monday, turned to ask, “So, Sean. What is your take on all of this? It was one of our very first interactions, but it was rooted in his desire to know a little more about something everyone seems a little confused about. Mackenzie Hughes leaned in later that afternoon to ask, “Do you have any more details on all that trial stuff?”

Journalists know some of the information — LIV Golf seems keen to stay in the news — but not all. Do the caddies joining their defecting players approve of LIV’s controversial source of funding? How much money will Pat Perez make each year he plays for LIV? These are some of the conversations that take place between the swings. Everyone seems willing to discuss it on the lineup, not so much on the record. And so it’s only natural that we come to what happened to Morikawa two weeks ago.

“It’s just funny that you can wake up one day and your life changes completely,” he said. “My life has not changed at all. I just woke up to people saying I was going somewhere when I obviously wasn’t. So [I] had to close it.

The truest reason for these rumors is the precedent set by Johnson, Koepka, Perez, DeChambeau, et al. Strong opinions one day suddenly took 180 degree turns a few days later. The more this spreads about Koepka’s flip-flop, the more it seems he was probably telling the truth: His signing conversations with LIV weren’t so serious until the end of the US Open weekend. , then progressed extremely rapidly. The questions follow one another during these Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays because the news keeps changing. When Poulter finally arrived at the Renaissance Club on Wednesday, he was treated to a bit of paparazzi, with a Getty photographer snapping pictures of him as he left the tournament registration desk.

“It’s all created a wedge,” said a caddy at the Renaissance Club on Tuesday afternoon. “It became a bit U.S. against them.” Rory McIlroy, speaking in Ireland, admitted much the same: “Right now it’s a bit messy and not the whole narrative is good. It divides the game instead of everyone coming together and I think everyone needs to try to come together a bit more.

They will find themselves in the standings on Thursday once golf resumes, with everyone on the course sharing the same goal. It will last exactly 72 holes, except playoffs. Then it will start again in St. Andrews.