With the PGA Tour’s season now over following Rory McIlroy’s win at the Tour Championship, the focus now turns to which players will leave the Tour to join the upstart LIV Golf Invitational Series.
The departures began before the Tour Championship even concluded, with Cameron Tringale announcing he would be leaving the Tour, effective immediately.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Tringale expressed gratitude to the PGA Tour, along with multiple other golf entities, and indicated he would not be renewing his PGA Tour membership for the upcoming season.
After 338 starts on the PGA Tour, Tringale ranks as the highest career earner who has not won a tournament. Since turning pro in 2009, Tringale has won $17,426,908 on Tour.
Tringale is the first of many expected defections coming later this week. Defending British Open Champion Cam Smith is widely rumored to be jumping to LIV, and has done nothing to dissuade those rumors in recent interviews. As many as five other players, both international and U.S.-based, could be making the leap as well.
Earlier this week, the PGA Tour unveiled a number of changes designed to fight the rapid growth of LIV Golf. Those changes would primarily benefit the top players on Tour; Tringale likely would not have qualified for those “elite player” benefits and tournaments had he remained.
He was joined on Monday by Chile’s Joaquin Niemann, his manager confirmed to The Associated Press. Though Niemann has yet to sign a deal with LIV Golf, he was on his way to Boston for this weekend’s tournament.
Niemann, who has two Tour wins in his career and jumped to No. 19 in the world rankings this season, finished T11 at the Tour Championship on Sunday. Though he will now be one of the highest-ranked golfers on the LIV Golf series, Niemann’s move isn’t too surprising considering his mentor Sergio Garcia and longtime friend Carlos Ortiz have already made the jump.
The Tour’s 2022-23 season begins in two weeks.
Cam Young, Hideki Matsuyama sticking with PGA Tour
Both Cam Young and Hideki Matsuyama announced on Sunday that they won’t be making the jump to LIV Golf after all.
Young, who is a Rookie of the Year favorite, opted to remain on Tour after having discussions with LIV. While he liked their “fresh ideas,” it was the Tour’s latest improvements that got him to stay.
“Frankly, I have decided to stay,” Young said after his 19th-place finish at the Tour Championship, via ESPN. “It’s a really difficult situation because it’s not anything that anyone really wanted to happen. I think it wasn’t meant to be this kind of hostile between the two.”
Young, 25, had 12 top-25 finishes on Tour this season and finished in second five times — including at the British Open and the Genesis Invitational. He also finished T3 at the PGA Championship, and jumped to No. 17 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
“Frankly, throughout the whole process with them [LIV Golf], I was very interested,” Young said, via The Athletic’s Brendan Quinn. “I think they have a bunch of god ideas and are doing some cool stuff. With the changes coming [to the PGA Tour], that’s kind of what really helped me decide to kind of stay and pursue those goals that I have for myself, like making a Presidents Cup team and a Ryder Cup team and winning a major, when all of that is just uncertain if you go.
“That’s a tough place for me because, you know, I’m very young and there are a lot of factors.”
Matsuyama also confirmed to The Associated Press’ Doug Ferguson that he will stay on Tour.
Matsuyama, who finished T11 at the Tour Championship, had long been linked to LIV Golf, but apparently was leaning against leaving within the last week before making his decision on Sunday. The eight-time Tour winner, who won the Masters last year, won Twice on Tour this season and had 10 top-25 finishes — including a fourth-place finish at the U.S. Open.