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Graeme McDowell Admits Regret Over Comments He Made After LIV Golf Switch

Graeme McDowell Admits Regret Over Comments He Made After LIV Golf Switch
By Gary Connaughton Updated
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Graeme McDowell was one of the most outspoken LIV Golf defectors after the initial breakaway from the PGA and DP World Tours.

Whereas many golfers batted away questions about the morality of joining the Saudi-backed venture, the Antrim native had no problem trying to tackle the big issues during interviews and press conferences. While his intentions may have been good, he often ended up sounding rather pompous as a result.

One example came last June, when McDowell attempted to justify his decision to go into business with his new employers. On that occasion, he said he was happy to contribute to the Saudis and their attempts to 'grow the game'. During that answer, he also brushed aside the question about journalist Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi, who was killed by the Saudi regime.

The Khashoggi situation, we all agree that was reprehensible. No-one’s going to argue that fact, but we’re golfers.

I really feel golf is a force of good in the world and I love using the game of golf as something to help grow around the world and be role models to kids. We’re not politicians.

If Saudi Arabia want to use the game of golf as a way for them to get to where they want to be, I think we’re proud to help them on that journey, using the game of golf and the abilities we have to help grow the sport.

A couple of weeks later, he suggested that the criticisms of LIV Golf amounted to a 'smear campaign'.

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It appears as though he now regrets some of those comments.

Graeme McDowell admits regret over LIV Golf comments

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For Graeme McDowell, a move to LIV Golf made sense. He was hanging onto his PGA Tour status by a thread and was likely to lose his tour card for a second time in the near future. As a result, it is understandable why he took the payday on offer.

What annoyed many people were his claimed reasons for doing so, spouting sanctimonious nonsense about 'growing the game' as opposed to admitting that this was a final opportunity for him to earn huge amounts of money.

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Speaking on the Five Clubs podcast, he said this was a move that was difficult to turn down due to the stage he was at in his career. As well as that, he also regrets some of the comments he made soon after confirming his switch to LIV Golf.

You know, I think I think most players understand why a player in my position would have taken the LIV opportunity...

I spent a long time weighing this opportunity up, calling the people I respect in the game of golf, speaking to my partner, speaking to my friends, to my family, understanding the things that would be potentially walking away from, you know, weighing that all up with the pros and cons...

I guess I've learned about myself that I'm sensitive, because I care about what people think and I think that's made it very difficult the last year.

There's players on both sides… players who are less sensitive and they can get on with their job and not really care what people think.

But, you know, like I say, unfortunately, I found out about myself that I do care. And I do think I take things personally. You know, I've said some things that I'd like to take back. Did I say them because they were the wrong things to say?

No, I said them because I was trying to answer your questions that, when I look back, were incredibly difficult to answer, you know, impossible to answer, in fact, to the point where I shouldn't even have tried.

LIV Golf has yet to soar in terms of personality, with some members of the tour reportedly having second thoughts about their decision in recent times.

As for McDowell, he has no issue with those who have spoken out against the new player in professional golf. He singled out Rory McIlroy as an example, saying he admired the stance the 33-year old has taken over the last 12 months or so.

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Take Rory, for example, the way he's played the last 12 months, I can hardly fathom it because he has done an incredible job protecting what he believes in.

He has been out there front and centre, taking things personally. I find out about myself that I am sensitive, I feel like Rory is also sensitive and takes things personally. So to be able to take that energy and roll it up and focus on his golf has just been incredible. I have huge amounts of respect for him.

I don't care what side guys are on; I really don't. If LIV's not for them, I totally respect that. All I ask is that they respect why I made the decision; I can only take care of me.

But I totally have huge respect for guys making their decisions playing where they want to play, believing what they believe in. I single Rory out because it's impossible not to miss an incredible 12 months for him.

And, you know, we'll hopefully sit down over a glass of wine someday, somewhere, and look back at all this and hopefully, as he said before, if PIF wants to spend money on golf, let's let the world of golf benefit from it.

With lawsuits currently ongoing, you'd imagine that tensions between LIV Golf and the other powers in the sport will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

As for Graeme McDowell, he seems comfortable with the decision that he has made.

SEE ALSO: Brooks Koepka Reportedly Has 'Buyer's Remorse' Over LIV Golf Move

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