Viktor Hovland says the LIV Golf League format is not for him. But the Norwegian golfer also says he understands why players such as Jon Rahm have left for LIV and that they are not to blame for the division in the game.
Speaking to Discovery’s golf podcast “Fore” in Norway—his quotes were translated into English—Hovland said that “I doubt that” you will see him go to LIV Golf, as he recently committed to six PGA Tour events. But he was also highly critical of the PGA Tour.
“If I had gone to LIV, I don’t think I would have become a better golfer,” said Hovland, 26, the reigning FedEx Cup champion after winning three times in 2023. “And then it is, in a way, the end of discussion.
“But I can’t blame people who make that decision and go over there. Then we have to try to find an arrangement in the end. We’ll see.”
Hovland had been heavily linked to LIV Golf in the wake of Rahm’s decision to join the league but has at least for now to put that to rest. He has committed to the season-opening Sentry in two weeks as well as the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, WM Phoenix Open and Genesis Invitational.
But Hovland said he “really wasn’t that shocked” to see Rahm leave and blames PGA Tour management for the divide that continues as the entities try to work out a “framework agreement” that would unite the game.
“It would be a bit silly to criticize the players for leaving,” he said. “After all, you only hear one angle in the media, and there are quite a few different parts happening at the same time here. I totally understand why he left. That’s a lot, a lot of money. And at least when the management of the PGA Tour has done such a bad job.
“Just to be clear: I’m not complaining about the position I’m in, and I’m very grateful for everything. But the management has not done a good job. They almost see the players as labor, and not as part of the members. After all, we are the PGA Tour. Without the players, there is nothing.
“When you get to see what happens behind closed doors, how the management actually makes decisions, which are not in the players’ best interest, but best for themselves and what they think is best … they are businessmen who say that, ‘No, it should look like this and that.’ There is a great deal of arrogance behind it all.”
Although three of the first six events Hovland will play on the PGA Tour will not have a cut due to the signature event format, he said LIV’s format was a detriment.
“You need the competition with 150 players and a cut,” he said. “If you don’t play well enough, you’re out. There is something about it that makes your game a little sharper. If I had gone to LIV, I don’t think I would have become a better golfer.”
Hovland won the BMW Championship as well as the season-ending Tour Championship to capture the FedEx Cup. Earlier in the year, he won the Memorial Tournament.
The former Oklahoma State golfer who is from Oslo has won six times on the PGA Tour and twice on the DP World Tour. He is ranked fourth in the world.