Jack Nicklaus held the press conference ahead of this week’s Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Among a number of topics discussed, he was asked if he was disappointed not having a couple of the reigning major champions in the field (Brooks Koepka and Cam Smith) because of the LIV Golf division.
His answer was both blunt and candid, per Golfweek.
“I don’t even consider those guys part of the game anymore. I don’t mean that in a nasty way. This is a PGA Tour event and we have the best field we can possibly have for a PGA Tour event for those who are eligible to be here. The other guys made a choice of what they did and where they’ve gone and we don’t even talk about it.”
Nicklaus has, for the most part, stayed away from the pink elephant in the golf world that is LIV Golf. But this press conference made it pretty clear playing for that tour is not something he would have done.
“There were certain players that it was probably the right thing for,” Nicklaus said. “But it wasn’t for me, it wasn’t for what my legacy was. Obviously, I pretty much started what the Tour is out here.”
The legendary golfer did previously acknowledge he sent a congratulatory text to Koepka after he won the PGA Championship earlier this month. It was Koepka’s fifth career major title, moving him into elite company.
Despite some great golfers not being in the field, Nicklaus is still satisfied with who will be playing, stating that this is probably the best field at the Memorial they’ve ever had. One has to wonder if he actually believes that.