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The Masters hardly needed invigorating. Golf’s most exclusive major almost stands alone and surely only a Claret Jug can compete with the lure of the Green Jacket. 

But if there’s one positive thing that the game’s great schism has done, it has elevated weeks like these at Augusta National.

For the first time since the Open Championship nine months ago, the best players from both the PGA Tour and LIV Golf will go toe-to-toe.

As it stands, the majors are the only four weeks a year that the split talent pool across the rival tours is brought together and that makes for a compelling subplot in Georgia.

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However, the consensus on both sides is that such division is not sustainable, and many hope a deal between the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia bankrolling LIV and the PGA Tour would see the game’s elite united more often again.

As it stands, players who accepted LIV’s overtures are indefinitely banned from the PGA Tour, but a key bone of contention in the protracted talks of a peace agreement concerns players like Jon Rahm returning to the US circuit.

How that happens remains to be seen, but Brandel Chamblee argues that LIV players should face punishment when and if they eventually return to their old domain.

“I promise you those players on LIV miss the attention, miss the buzz, miss the competition,” Chamblee said in a wide-ranging interview with John Huggan on The Thing About Golf Podcast.

When asked if there’s a way back for LIV players to the PGA Tour, the Golf Channel analyst replied: “I think there is, I miss their golf. I miss watching Jon Rahm, I miss watching Brooks Koepka. They would have to come back and not play the signature events. They would have to earn their way back into the signature events.

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“There would have to be some sort of either fine or period of time where they are not able to play at the highest level on the PGA Tour. They have to earn their way back, show that they are committed to playing these smaller events. You want to come back on the PGA Tour? You’ve got to work your way back and if you finish in this subset then you get into the signature events but you can’t get in them for two years or a year, whatever it is.

“There has to be some penalty for going because in the process of going, they have hurt the PGA Tour. Our ratings are down for a specific reason. People are tired of hearing about money. A lot of the best players have left. Some exciting players have left. That hurts the ratings.

“The Tour has spent, I have no doubt if not 50, $100million litigating these cases and trying to defend themselves and coming up with strategies. That’s money that would have gone in the pension fund. That’s hurt the Tour players.

“There has to be some quid pro quo for them to come back.”

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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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