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Golf Monthly
Golf Monthly
Ben Fleming

Sepp Straka On Why He Thinks Current State Of Men's Professional Golf Is ‘Sad For The Fans’

Sepp Straka of Austria plays his second shot on the third hole during the first round on Day One of the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Sepp Straka says he empathises with fans of professional men's golf, claiming that the current divide is "sad for the fans."

The Austrian has enjoyed another great year on the PGA Tour, claiming his second title at the John Deere Classic and making his Ryder Cup debut as part of the winning European team in Italy in September.

However, his successes come at a time when men's professional golf continues to splinter.

Reports continue to point towards Masters Champion Jon Rahm making a big-money move to LIV Golf, while any deal between Saudia Arabia's Public Investment Fund - which bankrolls LIV - and the PGA Tour looks unlikely to be agreed upon by the sefl-imposed December 31st deadline.

And when asked about it from a fan's perspective, Straka could sympathise with their current predicament. 

"Everywhere you go, it's never 'how great is it playing on the PGA Tour', it's always 'well, what do you think about LIV?', the 30-year-old said speaking on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio.

"I never thought that there would be a rival Tour when I was growing up. It was always the dream to be on the PGA Tour growing up and I'm living out that dream and it's incredible. 

"But I think it's a little bit sad for golf right now in general. You've got a lot of the greatest players on the planet playing different tournaments and you don't get to see them together except for four times at the Majors. That part is a little bit sad for the fans."

From a personal perspective, though, Straka hasn't been left short-changed. The PGA Tour's desire to retain the majority of their premier talent has seen prize purses shoot up, with signature events offering a $4m check for the winner alone starting next year. 

His recent second-place finish at the Hero World Challenge saw the Austrian pocket a tidy $450,000 and brought his season-long earnings to a personal best of $5,287,574.

"For the players, in terms of money it's been great for everybody involved because the PGA purses have gone up," Straka admitted. "I don't know how sustainable that is but we'll see what happens."

With the future of any PIF-PGA Tour merger still hanging in the balance, the possibility of LIV and the PGA Tour coming together remains uncertain. If not, though, Straka is optimistic that fans will eventually adapt to the new environment they face. 

"Hopefully over the next few months or years it will settle in and become a new normal but right now it's sad for the fans to see all the greatest players split on two different circuits," he ended.

One player who is optimistic about a reunion between the two tours is former US Open champion and LIV star Bryson DeChambeau. 

Speaking on the Rich Shields Golf Show, he said: “I think the game eventually needs to come back together and I’ve said it from day one when I went over and there’s numerous times where I talked to Jay [Monahan] about it too, I was like, 'This all has to work out in the end for the good of the game, this can’t just be for the PGA Tour or for LIV. The fans have got to win here’.

"What I could see is LIV integrating into the signature series on the PGA Tour in some capacity and having two championships in one, where you have the individual component in the signature series, and you have the team side of it.

“So you have the teams you’re playing for, so no matter what on that final day, that guy that’s playing really bad still matters, it’s still a big deal on the team championship aspect of the tournament. And then you guys have the individual side that’s still competing for that individual title the way it is currently."

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