Defending champion Billy Horschel and former world number one Jon Rahm have criticized LIV golfers attending the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
Seventeen players who competed in the Saudi Arabia-sponsored Breakaway Tour are taking part in the DP World Tour event, which begins this Thursday on the West Course.
Horschel called several LIV players “hypocrites” and said the group, which includes European Ryder Cup heroes Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia, should not attend the event.
The American echoed Rahm’s views on attacking other LIV players, whom he assumed were opportunistic in showing up and denying more deserving golfers from Europe places.
“Even though Westwood and Poulter have been steadfast for the European Tour, I don’t think those guys should really be here,” Horschel said.
But the defending champions reserved their strongest vitriol for the likes of Mexico’s Abraham Ancer and Talor Gooch. “You never played this tournament, you never supported the DP World Tour,” Horschel said.
“Why are you here? You’re only here for one reason and that is to try and get world ranking points because you don’t have any.” LIV Golf has applied for world ranking status but their events are not yet earning points.
“It’s hypocritical because some of these guys said they wanted to play less golf,” added Horschel.
“It’s pretty hypocritical to come here and play outside of LIV when your big thing was wanting to spend more time with family and play less golf.”
Rahm is amused that some LIV players were allowed to play at Wentworth this week.
“What I don’t understand is that some players who have never shown any interest in the European Tour, who have never shown any interest in playing this event, are being given a chance just because they can accumulate world ranking points and hopefully make majors in the next year,” said the Spaniard.
Rahm cited the plight of close friend and Spanish pro Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, who missed the Wentworth tournament because LIV players who are not DP World Tour members used their top 60 status in the global rankings to win on to participate in the tournament.
“It doesn’t hurt me, but it bugs me that someone who played 20 DP World events this year – I checked – can’t get the opportunity to play a flagship event,” Rahm said.
“Because some people, who deserve it to some extent, are given an opportunity when they couldn’t care less about the event.
“They do not know. They do not care. You do not know the history of this event.
“They’re only here because they’re trying to get world ranking points and trying to get in the top 50 and that’s clear as day.”
But Rahm isn’t closing the Ryder Cup door on LIV players, some of whom are facing legal action to avoid being suspended from the Europe-based DP World Tour.
“There is only one problem in life that has no solution and that is death. For everything else there is a solution,” said the 27-year-old, who has played the last two Ryder Cups.
“If the European Tour really wants them to play and we as a team want them to play, I think a solution can be found.”
Garcia, Europe’s top Ryder Cup points-scorer, reiterated his desire to remain part of the continent’s line-up for next year’s biennial game against the United States.
He also responded to comments from teammate Rory McIlroy, who recently said he is finding it difficult to compete with LIV players at Wentworth this week.
“Everyone can have their opinion as long as they don’t make it personal, I think it’s fine,” Garcia said.
“You have to be respectful and I’ve been a member of the European Tour for more years than he has, so I think that has to be respected as well.
“In the past I’ve played the European Tour and the PGA Tour and it’s been fine. Now I don’t play the PGA Tour anymore, I’m not a member. I’m a member of another tour so I don’t know why it’s so different.
“But I’m trying to support the European Tour and keep my membership and hopefully have my chances of getting on the Ryder Cup team and we’ll see how that develops as we move on.”
Europe captain Luke Donald refused to be asked if he would like to pick Garcia for next year’s game in Rome.
“It’s hard for me to comment on that because I don’t know if he will be eligible or not but of course Sergio’s record speaks for itself,” the skipper told BBC Sport.