Dustin Johnson didn't hold back for one second when he was asked about what PGA tour boss Jay Monaghan might be feeling about the current state of the rival LIV Tour. The 38-year-old has been a fierce advocate for the breakaway series, and didn't mince his words after the series' triumphant debut in Australia last weekend.
Referencing a 'mutual' disdain as various legal actions continue to play out, Johnson's comments were quickly scrubbed from the official LIV transcription of the interview. The removal of the comments has been seen as a small concession amid the ongoing tension between the two associations.
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"We don't give a damn how he feels. We know how he feels about us, so it's mutual," Johnson said. His comments came hot on the heels of the Masters, the first time LIV and PGA players had competed together in a considerable amount of time.
In the lead-up to the tournament, the likes of Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau reiterated their belief expressed during the Masters that the personal feuds between players were largely overblown.
"It was the best thing for the fans to see what happened at the Masters," Koepka told reporters in the leadup to the Adelaide event. "I could run into 15 (PGA) Tour guys if I wanted to in a day and nobody has really had any negative feedback, any negative thing to say - and that would be the time to say it.
"But it was good just for the fans to see that we still communicate, we still play together, we still practice together, do everything the exact same. We're still the same people."
LIV players were subject to speculation prior to the Masters that the shorter format would affect their form - a criticism many dismissed. And there was no denying the buoyant feeling among the players after three sold-out days of play at The Grange in Adelaide.
"I thought this is what it would get to," Johnson said. "Hopefully we will continue this for more events because this was incredible.
"The support we've had from the fans and the city ... awesome. Obviously the crowds were unbelievable this week so it was a lot of fun."
LIV stars thrilled by sold-out Adelaide reception
Fellow American Peter Uihlein said the success should come with context. He was in awe at the total crowd of 90,000 over the three days.
"It's 12 events, that's the reality - we have done 12 events and you get this kind of atmosphere on your 12th one?" he said. "Think about when this is like your 40th or 50th, how much bigger and how much more this will grow.
"People lose sight of that a little bit. This is literally the 12th event. The sky is the limit."
All of this was a source of pride for Australia's Cameron Smith, who lived a LIV week in the star attraction spotlight. "This is part of the reason why we play, we want to play in front of big crowds that get excited," Smith said.
"And put golf clubs in the hands of kids that one day want to be out here. Yeah, it's a massive step in the right direction for us."
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