Bubba Watson's huge Jason Day revelation upon Masters return
The two-time Masters winner isn't expecting any animosity upon his return.
LIV Golfer Bubba Watson has hit back at the media and claimed their is no animosity towards the breakaway players and said he wants to team up with Aussie Jason Day upon his Masters return. Cameron Smith, Dustin Johnson and 16 other LIV Golfers will be returning to Augusta next week to take part in the first Masters since the breakaway playing group was banned from PGA events.
However, majors attempted to distance themselves from the LIV Golf and PGA feud and will allow players who are eligible to quality for the events to compete. Having won The Open Championship and The Players Championship, Smith will qualify for the three American majors for the next five years. He also can play the Open Championship until he is 60, unless rules change.
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Other golfers that will be competing this week include Johnson, Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka and Watson. Fans have been waiting to see the fallout from the feud between the two franchises with a bitter war-of-words continuing betweenRory McIlroy and Tiger Woods towards LIV Golf boss Greg Norman.
Last week, Aussie Smith attempted to quell any perceived drama between himself and his fellow players since joining LIV Golf. "No one has told me to piss off or not talk to them ever again," Smith told The Howie Games podcast.
And in a damning response, Watson and Koepka have hit back over similar perceptions and said their was no animosity. Speaking to the media ahead of the LIV Golf event this weekend, Watson - 2012 and 2014 winner at Augusta - said he was going to team up with Aussie Jason Day for the Par 3 contest.
“I’m going to be honest, man: it’s only awkward in the media," Watson said at Orange County National. "I’ve talked to people who are going to be there. I’m going to sign up with Jason Day and Cam Young in the Par 3 (Contest). Some guys have already asked me to play some practice rounds.
"Media is the only one that is pushing it. I have nothing against anybody. If you change jobs, I’m not mad at you. If you start reporting for somebody else, hey, man, it’s a better decision for you and your family. Have at it."
Bubba on relationships with PGA Tour players: "Media is the only one that’s pushing it. I have nothing against anybody. If you change jobs, I'm not mad at you”
This is a constant theme, so why are certain media pushing this and who’s the worst culprits?
— Flushing It (@flushingitgolf) March 29, 2023
Koepka, standing right next to Watson, reiterated his point and said he had recently enjoyed a conversation with Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas before the Masters.
“I think that’s one of the big things. Down in Jupiter, we see each other," Koepka said. “I was just with Rory and J.T. (Justin Thomas) yesterday, and I think Keegan (Bradley) was there. We see each other quite a bit. I mean, there’s a lot of conversations.
“I was talking with Rory for probably about 30 minutes just about the ball (and the proposed rules rollback) and all the other stuff that’s going on. Nobody is angry at anybody from what I’ve seen."
Koepka claimed he has known Thomas for up to 14 years, while knowing McIlroy for 10 years and they still maintained a good relationship.
Reed said many might pit LIV Golf against the PGA players, but Watson said he was going to Augusta to "beat them all" and wasn't worried who they played under.
18 LIV Golfers to return for Masters Tournament
Despite a number of LIV stars not buying into the feud between the franchises, many are still curious to see the fallout if one of them were to win at the Masters. CBS Sport and golf reporter Kyle Porter questioned the form of players such Johnson heading into Augusta.
"One thing I've been thinking about as it relates to the Masters is how sharp players like Dustin Johnson are going to be at the biggest event of the year," he wrote. "DJ has played just 22 rounds since The Open last year and has one top 10 worldwide since last Sept. Will that matter?"
I feel like it's the ultimate bluff/bully hand for LIV Golfers. If they show up and even 2 of them contend (or one wins), it will be seen as a huge triumph. They'll be energized by it.
If they all stumble, it will be a big psychological blow and even bigger issue going forward.
— Kevin Van Valkenburg (@KVanValkenburg) March 27, 2023
However, Porter admitted Smith and Johnson have the quality to still win the tournament on any given day. "It might not. Guys like DJ and Cam Smith can seemingly fall out of bed and shoot 68s anywhere on the planet ... but it's hard to imagine the dearth of golf won't affect them in some way."
The ugly debate on whether LIV golfers have made the right call could be found out next week. No Laying Up director Kevin Van Valkenburg pointed out that if LIV golfers do well, or one wins, then it will once again heighten the tension on tour.
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