Claude Harmon III has lashed out at what he sees as unfair coverage of LIV Golf and its players by the media.
In a wide-ranging interview with Golfweek, Harmon III, who is new PGA Champion Brooks Koepka’s swing instructor, first hit back at suggestions that those who have joined the circuit did it for an easy ride.
He said: “You guys all think LIVs, maybe you’ve changed your tune, but initially, it was all just b******, a bunch of guys playing who didn’t care, who got the money, who got the bag, and it’s 54 holes and there’s no competition and all that. So it was easy for you guys to just pretend like these guys just weren’t good players anymore. And I think you guys largely did that because you drank the Kool-Aid of everybody else.”
Harmon III then launched a passionate defense of specific LIV Golf players, including Koepka, saying: “You guys pushed this narrative and pretended like LIV was an exhibition, nobody watched it, you guys didn’t report on it, none of you guys came to the tournaments. I mean the golf that I saw Cam [Smith] play last year, the golf that I saw DJ [Dustin Johnson] play last year, the golf that I saw Brooks play at the end of the year is the same golf that is being played on the PGA Tour. You guys just tried to pretend that it wasn’t.”
Harmon III was far from finished there and turned his attention to media perceptions of PGA Tour players over their LIV Golf counterparts. He said: “There are a lot of people that you guys on the Tour side of this, I mean, blow smoke up their asses they’re world beaters. And some of these guys haven’t won tournaments in quite a long time. The fact that Will Zalatoris is top 10 in the world is laughable, and it has nothing to do with him.
“But my point with that is you guys all acted like Brooks was as***** player and Will Zalatoris was great, but the guy has won one golf tournament, yeah, he’s finished second in a bunch of tournaments. So have a lot of players, but you guys are ready to crown him as if he’s the second coming of Christ and you guys are acting like Brooks Koepka was a bum. Seriously, pre-Masters, that is what was happening. And you guys know that.”
Harmon III also singled out one of the most outspoken critics of the circuit, the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee, for his critical stance on LIV Golf. He said: “Brandel is a paid actor by NBC and Golf Channel. All he’s trying to do is get his lines and shows for the Golf Channel. He’s just trying to get lines for Brandel.”
After several LIV Golf players performed admirably in the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club following similar strong displays in The Masters, Harmon III also echoed the sentiments of Phil Mickelson, who claimed LIV Golf is the ‘best way’ to prepare for Majors.
He said: “LIV also allows players to have time off, that you guys have beat everybody up for. They do get time off, they get two weeks stretches off, they got four months off. And so some of these guys used that time. I think Bryson used that time really well. I think Phil used that time really, really well.”
LIV Golf will also be well represented in the third Major of the year, the US Open, which gets under way on June 15 at the Los Angeles Country Club.