Butch Harmon warns against "getting into bed" with Saudis

Butch Harmon

Butch Harmon has echoed Rory McIlroy’s skepticism about the Premier Golf League, describing the proposed breakaway tour as “a money-grab.”

Announced in January, the Premier Golf League has been pitched as an alternative to the PGA Tour and European Tour in what appears to be a realisation of long-mooted plans for a world tour.

It is believed that the tour would comprise an 18-event schedule, starting in 2022 and running from January to September. Each event would be 54 holes, have no cut, be restricted to 48-player fields and be worth an eye-popping $10m.

However, not even that has been enough to persuade some of the game’s leading lights to take an interest.

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World No.1 McIlroy was the first high-profile golfer to rule himself out of the start-up circuit, citing concerns over the fact that the tour is being bankrolled by money from Saudi Arabia. He has since been followed in saying ‘no’ by the world No.2 and No.3, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka.

Speaking to Jamie Weir on Sky Sports News over the weekend, legendary coach Harmon offered his own withering assessment of the PGL.

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“I’m not in favour of it to be honest with you,” said the American. “It looks like a money-grab to me. I think, at some point, in time, it’s not all about the money. These guys all make a tremendous amount of money from both tours, the European Tour and the US tour. I think sometimes you have to look at what gave you the opportunity to be who you are and that has been the various tours around the world.

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“And, secondly, I’m not sure you want to get in bed with the Saudis. An 18-tournament schedule, kind of team events and stuff, I don’t think you want people in Saudi Arabia [just] because they’re putting up the money telling you where you need to play. 

"Tour players are independent contractors. The US tour has a tremendous pension programme for all of its players. So I really hope that it doesn’t happen.”

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