Adam Hadwin on LIV Golf, the revamped PGA Tour and the Toronto Maple Leafs

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ROCHESTER, NY – As PGA Tour players and LIV golfers meet for only the second time this year at the PGA Championship, many questions about the future of professional golf are on the table here at Oak Hill.

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How long will Saudi LIV bosses give Greg Norman’s breakaway league a chance if it doesn’t find mainstream appeal? Can the PGA Tour still ask their sponsors for $20 million in prize money for their upcoming events? Will a de facto two-tier tour hurt lower-tier events like the RBC Canadian Open?

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The PGA Tour’s regular spokesman on such matters, Rory McIlroy, did not comment on the matter in Rochester this week, but we spent some time with Abbotsford, BC native Adam Hadwin on the driving range and he shared his thoughts to the hot button of golf with topics:

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About watching and playing against LIV golfers at Majors:

“I wouldn’t say I have any really good friends out there on LIV. I have some good friends who I played with a lot and it’s nice to see them again. I don’t feel weird seeing them or saying hello, but basically it’s weird that we don’t play each other anymore. You’d never realize there was anything different between the players, but it’s a bit strange that we don’t see them anymore.”

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This year’s RBC Canadian Open sits between the US Open and two specific events:

“That puts it in a very difficult position, especially this year because they’ve only given a few events a higher profile.”

Regarding the upcoming RBC Canadian Open:

“We’ll see. I could imagine a world where, depending on where they are on the schedule, they might have a deeper field than they have in previous years. Obviously, RBC are doing a great job of getting people there and playing some of the best players but I don’t think anyone would deny that the field is very big, there are a lot of the top 125 players who don’t come and there could be potential if they were the first If the event is after a few set events, then that could be an opportunity for them to gain some more people, they might lose some top players, but they could still end up with a stronger and deeper field because more players were down and want to go out and play. You might end up with more of the top 125 players.”

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On the future viability of LIV Golf and the redesigned PGA Tour design event system:

“I hate making absolute statements because I think that just gets people in trouble, but I’m not sure what the future holds. I’m very interested to see it. I don’t know if either model is sustainable or not. I hesitate to say that the LIV model will not work simply because we don’t know it yet. I think our tour has been doing very well financially and getting stronger, but I wonder what it will do for us in the long run if we try to keep the sponsors in check to get an extra 50% from them. I do think golf is a game that’s still in demand and people want to be associated with, so we’ll see. I’m currently an interested observer who wants to see what the future holds. The tour had to do what it did in the short term, but what about five to seven years from now? I think we’ll find out.”

On the Maple Leafs conversation with Ontario natives Corey Conners, Mackenzie Hughes and Taylor Pendrith:

“We avoid that topic and don’t want to put them down too much. And I don’t have a lot of foothold as a Canucks fan, but sometimes not trying might have been better than trying.”

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