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As a deal between the PGA Tour and the Public Investment Fund (PIF) draws closer, men’s professional golf could finally be unified.

Those who turned their back and defected to LIV Golf are indefinitely banned from competing on the PGA Tour, as it stands.

It has sparked debate among the game’s elite, with Scottie Scheffler, Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas suggesting a route back should not be straightforward.

Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy completed his U-turn on the future of the Saudi-backed league, saying: “let them back” without punishment.

One thing is clear, though. It would cause a stir.

And in an interview with Golfweek, former U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson confirmed that players would be ‘mad’ if the prospect was hinted.

“I think as board members, player directors, we have to get on the ground a little bit and talk to players and see how they feel,” he said.

“Sure, they’re gonna be mad at first if we even hint that we need those guys to come back.”

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However, if Greg Norman’s startup is to continue for another two years, most LIV golfers would be without any form of exemptions.

Simpson claimed that only around six players would be eligible to compete in certain events. Two of them would be Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, who are lifetime members.

“What we’re really talking about is probably six players,” Simpson added. “The rest will have to go to Q-school or if they want to do something on the DP World Tour.

“I imagine a lot of the guys if LIV didn’t continue would not want to go to Q-school. They would be done playing golf, as you know, for their career. That’s kind of where my head is.”

Meanwhile, Simpson – a Player Director on the tour’s Player Advisory Council – outlined a main issue with integrating a new crop of players.

He argued that despite players potentially losing opportunities, it could be a necessary step to ensure what is ‘best for the tour’.

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“Somebody’s gonna have to lose for us to solve this problem,” Simpson said.

“Either there’s less spots, but we create a more competitive product, right? Like field sizes, for example of 156, in my opinion, are just a terrible thing.

“Overall, it does give guys more playing opportunities, but it dilutes our product… And it’s easy for me to say, because I’ve never been in a position where I’m struggling to get starts, so I’m sympathetic in the sense that, like, I will admit, that will rub people the wrong way.

“But at the end of the day, as a board member, I need to do what I think is best for the product of the PGA Tour both what’s best for the players, and both what’s best for the tour.”

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John Turnbull A graduate of the University of Stirling, John joined the bunkered team in 2023 as a Content Producer, with a responsibility for covering all breaking news, tour news, grassroots content and much more besides. A keen golfer, he plays the majority of his golf at Falkirk Golf Club. Top of his 'bucket list' is a round of Pebble Beach... ideally in the company of Gareth Bale.

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