Butch Harmon sends a bold message to LIV Golf players prior to the Masters.

April 8, 2024

In just a matter of days, Augusta National will host The Masters tournament with golf stars Joaquin Niemann and Dustin Johnson among the high-profile players from LIV Golf. Fans eagerly anticipate Jon Rahm’s performance as well.

According to renowned coach Butch Harmon, LIV Golf athletes stand an equal chance of winning the Masters compared to their PGA Tour peers – despite taking part in 54-hole tournaments with no cuts.

The golfing season’s first significant tournament will commence on Thursday at Augusta National in Georgia, featuring a LIV Golf star as the reigning champion. Jon Rahm secured his debut green jacket triumph in 2023 before transitioning to LIV following a £450 million contract arrangement later that year.

Throughout this year, he has only participated in four competitive tournaments up to now. One of which is taking place this weekend in Miami, remaining under the LIV banner and strictly abiding by the regulations set forth by Saudi Arabia-sponsored independent league.

Harmon believes that playing in a relaxed atmosphere with blaring music doesn’t constitute inadequate preparation for arguably the most significant major in sports, despite suggestions stating otherwise.

When Mirror Sport inquired if he believed LIV players would face difficulty competing with those of the PGA Tour at prestigious tournaments, the renowned coach replied affirmatively. He expressed confidence that individuals such as Rahm, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson possessed comparable levels of competitiveness to their counterparts on tour.

He clarified, “I cannot deny their level of preparation. Last year Brooks Koepka’s performance has proved that they are fully equipped and competent players.”

He stated that the environment is distinct and unquestionably different. The incentive of substantial remuneration was a key motive behind relocating. He emphasized that several remarkable professionals, including Rahm, DJ, Brooks, among others on the Masters’ participant list shown playing exceptional golf despite these circumstances.

It would be incorrect to state that they won’t be competitive as even though they may play 54 holes in a less intense environment, they are still among the top players globally.

This year, Joaquin Niemann has been remarkably exceptional in his game. I anticipate several LIV players to exhibit similar performance at Augusta and be clear contenders for the victory; among them, Jon Rahm – who happens to be the defending champion.

Joaquin Niemann’s exceptional performance on the LIV circuit this season, with two victories under his belt, can’t be ignored. He has been transparent about how LIV players aren’t awarded Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points – a topic that continues to split opinions in the sport.

Due to the dearth of OWGR points, competitors in the LIV circuit have experienced a decline in their global rankings. Currently occupying an absurdly low 91st spot is Niemann, who was expected to emerge victorious at his inaugural major tournament this week.

Harmon opines that the predicament can be effortlessly resolved if LIV’s CEO, Greg Norman would alter the league’s operational mechanism. He expressed his sentiments saying, “In my opinion, I’d prefer to see them increase their courses to 72 holes and broaden their participation scope; this could earn them global ratings.”