‘If you go, you go but you shut up’ - Mike Lorenzo-Vera hits out at LIV Golf defectors

French golfer says about 50 other players are angry with the behaviour of the breakaway Saudi-backed tour

DP World Tour player Mike Lorenzo-Vera has urged more players to speak out against the LIV Golf Tour, saying that the players joining the breakaway Saudi-backed Tour are “laughing in the face of people”.

The French golfer says about 50 other players he’s spoken to are angry with the behaviour of the breakaway Saudi-backed tour and its players and has called for the players to stand up and shows golfers are “not just little brats”.

“I’m very surprised about the silence. Use your social network. What are you doing? Go ahead. Speak,” Lorenzo-Vera told The Irish Times.

“The [DP World Tour] players are totally against the way the players go there and come back and particularly the way they go to the law to try to avoid the fines. There are a lot of people who are on the same page.

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“They are taking the money and they are just laughing in the face of people.”

The LIV Golf defectors from the DP World Tour, which include Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, threatened legal action with a letter sent to chief executive Keith Pelley and board members. Poulter, Justin Harding and Adrian Otageui then won a case against the DP World Tour to be allowed to play at the Scottish Open earlier in July, after the golfers had appealed against their suspension by the tour.

“The players are against the way LIV Golf is doing it. They are just scared that negative comments could come back to them. It’s time to stand up and show the European Tour has history and the players are not just little brats.

“All the guys on the letter, who do you think you are? Turning your back on the European team. The South Africans shouldn’t forget that but for the European Tour for the past 30 years, it would be harder to get into Majors, they have special access compared to a Chinese player, for example. Then they just go and attack the tour by legal means. They are just brainwashed.

“If you go, you go but you shut up, but don’t start to hammer the tours. Because those guys gave you opportunity to get rich.”

The French golfer says the way LIV Golf has gone about the Tour, particularly by Greg Norman is “uneducated” and “unacceptable”.

“They are throwing huge money to steal players because Norman is angry at the tours. It’s his last shot, how old is he 70 something? [Norman is 67 years old].”

Lorenzo-Vera praised how Rory McIlroy has handled the situation and his decision to play at Wentworth in September to help the DP World Tour, but said McIlroy and Tiger Woods are still a bit “too soft”, even if he acknowledged it’s more difficult to speak from a position of higher profile.

“If Tiger and Rory really wanted to take it down, they could. If they really want to, they could talk like myself, Robert MacIntyre or Billy Horschel for example. If they start to show their anger, I think they can do a great job by limiting what’s going on.”

Lorenzo-Vera says that it would be complicated as a player to understand the difficult situation of Pelley and his PGA Tour counterpart Jay Monahan, but if he was in charge he would ban all the LIV Golf players for “two to three years”.

“The DP World Tour need stars, but do we need greedy stars?”

Lorenzo-Vera has had to deal with Twitter trolls and abusive comments for his outspoken views on defending the DP World Tour and his outspoken views on LIV Golf.

“I have no pressure, I just don’t care. I’ll just speak my heart. I get bad comments like ‘who are you, what have you won, you’re 600 in the world ranking’. But I’m a pro for the last 15 years. I’ve been around a little bit. I’ve played a few Majors. I was pretty good in my time. I’m allowed to speak, everyone is allowed to speak and give their opinion. I’m just defending my tour.

“Some players took $20 to $40 million and said it was because they have a family. Really? Just respect the people. People are bothered by politics … not telling the truth. They just want honesty. Just say you’re taking the money, that’s it.”

Lorenzo-Vera says he has not been asked to go on the LIV Tour but would have no interest, even if he was asked.

“People don’t just understand that we can say no. People need to understand that we are making a great living already. Some are super rich already. We have nothing to complain about, financially.

“The tours had to let people go during Covid, plenty of people lost their jobs so that we could have our job. It’s time to be thankful and to prove to the main sponsors that the players care.”

David Gorman

David Gorman

David Gorman is a sports journalist with The Irish Times