Scottie Scheffler doesn’t want LIV golfers returning to the PGA Tour ‘like nothing ever happened’

Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler is in the field this week at the WM Phoenix Open

Scottie Scheffler isn’t holding any grudges toward those in the golf world who have left the PGA Tour for LIV Golf.

But, with the PGA Tour-LIV Golf merger still pending well after missing its self-imposed deadline last year, Scheffler doesn’t think they can just be welcomed back to the Tour with open arms. There has to be some sort of penalty.

“You had some guys that left our Tour and then sued our Tour,” Scheffler told The Golf Channel at the WM Phoenix Open on Wednesday. “That wasn’t really in great taste.

“Then you had some other guys that just left and they wanted to do something different. Everybody made their own decision, and I have no bad blood toward the guys that left. But a path towards coming back, I think it wouldn't be a very popular decision, I think, if they just came back like nothing ever happened."

Scheffler’s comments come shortly after Rory McIlroy, who was once the PGA Tour’s strongest supporter amid its battle with LIV Golf, reversed his decision and said he didn’t think there should be a punishment of any kind if golfers want to return to the Tour.

In his eyes, both golf leagues are significantly diminished now with top golfers in the world spread out and not competing against each other on a regular basis.

“I think it’s hard to punish people. I don’t think there should be a punishment,” McIlroy said before the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am last week. “Obviously I’ve changed my tune on that because I see where golf is and I see that having a diminished PGA Tour and having a diminished LIV Tour or anything else is bad for both parties. It would be much better being together and moving forward together for the good of the game. That’s my opinion of it.”

The PGA Tour, LIV Golf, the DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund were supposed to finalize an agreement for their proposed partnership by the end of 2023, though those negotiations are still ongoing. The PGA Tour reached a $3 billion investment deal with Strategic Sports Group last week, too, which did not include the PIF.

Scheffler enters this week in Arizona ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings. McIlroy is at No. 2, though he’s not competing. Jon Rahm, who is ranked third in the world, recently started his first season with LIV Golf.

Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler is in the field this week at the WM Phoenix Open.
Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler is in the field this week at the WM Phoenix Open. (Al Chang/ISI Photos/Getty Images) (Al Chang/ISI Photos via Getty Images)

If a deal between the Tour and the PIF never gets done, it’s unclear if there would ever be a pathway for reunification in golf. With how contentious things were in the beginning, the two leagues could easily drift apart once again.

But if there comes a time where LIV Golf members start trying to join the PGA Tour once again, Scheffler thinks most Tour members are with him rather than with McIlroy.

"We remained loyal to a Tour, a Tour that was loyal to us," Scheffler said. "I built my entire career here on the PGA Tour and I wasn't willing to leave it. I dreamt of playing on this Tour. Some of the guys that left, maybe that wasn't for them. But I think if they want a pathway back, that there should be one, but it definitely shouldn't just be coming back in the first week they want to come back and play.

"There should be some sort of caveat to them getting back on our Tour."