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Steve Stricker thought A LOT about LIV Golf. It’s worth listening to.

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Dustin Johnson and Steve Stricker last year after USA won the Ryder Cup.

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“The second biggest story in golf this week is over in London,” the reporter said.

“Yeah,” said Steve Stricker.

And that’s how most of those exchanges went. Player questions about the new Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational series, which kicked off this week in England. And the reluctance of players to react. You’ve heard as much on the PGA Tour this week, when a reporter, quite politely, began his questioning with, “Sorry I’m the guy who’s going to ask that question” — to which Justin Thomas replied, “I knew it was coming.”

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None of this, of course, is too difficult to understand. You know where the money comes from and what it is spent on. You also know the decision that players proposed to join have to make. Then there are those who stick with the established product, only to see other players, in many cases friends, run away. Thomas also spoke about it when, referring to Dustin Johnson, he said, “I don’t hate DJ now. I don’t think he’s a bad guy. I’m not going to treat it any differently.

Yeah.

Stricker’s perspective — after a few follow-up questions — is unique here, though. He knows the current generation, or at least studied them, through his duties as Ryder Cup captain last fall. He’s only slightly older — Stricker is 55 — than the 45-plus who bounced off LIV for a major final payday. He also saw things.

We mean don’t dwell on the past. But for a time in the early 2000s, as Stricker lost his Tour card and slipped deep into the triple-digit world rankings, you’d think he probably once wondered where LIV, with his guaranteed money, was in his time. To be fair, and to complete that throwback, Stricker eventually found his way back, winning eight times from 2007 to 2012 and playing on three Ryder Cup teams and five Presidents Cup teams.

So yes, his point of view is worth at least a listen, perhaps more than any player. Oh, and he’s also typically articulate, which he was to reporters this week at the American Family Insurance Championship, the 50-plus circuit event he hosts in his home state of Wisconsin.

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Stricker asked two questions on the subject, but spoke for a few minutes.

“And I wonder what you think overall about what’s going on. Looks like there is some kind of development almost on time with this LIV Golf,” the reporter said.

“Yes it does. Yeah, it’s a crazy time in the world of golf, isn’t it?

“I really don’t know what to think about it. We talked about it, [wife] Nicki and me and Mario [Tiziani, his brother-in-law] and my family, we talked about it a lot and if I was put in this position, what would I do?

“Morally, I don’t think I could do it, but that’s me talking right now when I’m 55, right? If I was in the prime when I was playing well, being offered a shitty amount of money like they’re offering, would that be different, and that’s hard for me to answer. Personally, morally, right now, I’m not a big fan. It seems like, you know, I hate to say it, but it kinda sounds like a guest member, it really is. I do not feel good. There is no story there, the shotgun begins.

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“They’re playing for a lot of money and I don’t blame the guys who are going there to play this tour, but for me personally I find it hard to understand.

I’ve always – I’m not a Hall of Fame guy, I’m not a guy who won majors or anything like that, but I played and I was able to compare myself, my time on the Tour with the greats of the game and what did they do, you know? Right now there’s none of that on this LIV tour, it’s all about the money. We all need it, it’s true, and to some extent some need it more than others. Everyone is different.

“Yes, it seems to have some momentum. There are other guys who have come out, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it all goes. I’m happy where I am, I’m happy to still be able to play here. The Tour has obviously given me and my family a lot in my career, even this tournament here. I owe a lot to the Tour and what we have done during my Tour career. I just don’t know if I could throw it all away and go play somewhere else.

“If I could just ask for a follow-up: would your decision have been much more difficult in 2003, 2004, 2005 when you were struggling, losing your status? Would it have made the decision more difficult if you had been thrown into this situation at the time? asked the reporter.

“You mean if I had trouble with my game and I was offered a lot of money?” Stricker said.

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“Yeah, like 20 years ago,” the reporter said.

“Again, I keep trying to put myself in this kind of different position and I don’t know what the answer would be, really not. We’re all here to make money, it’s a business deal, but I also look at the other end as the historical part of the game I’ve been part of something for almost 30 years I was lucky and got to play this great tour I wouldn’t change that for anything at the world.

“I’m glad it didn’t happen back when I could have been offered the opportunity to go there. I don’t know what I would have done, really not. Yeah, that’s a tough question, right? I don’t know if there’s a right and a wrong answer, but I’m with the Tour, I’m with the PGA Tour. I fully support the Tour and what it stands for, charity dollars. I mean, I have no idea if there’s any charity money for the first event of the LIV event, but I know there is here and I know there’s a release weekly on the Tour. It’s an important part of the puzzle, an important piece of what’s going on, especially here. I wouldn’t change it.

Yeah.

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is an editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories in the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to clear his score. You can contact him about any of these topics – his stories, his game or his beers – at nick.piastowski@golf.com.

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