US Open champion Wyndham Clark has insisted he is “fully committed” to the PGA Tour after admitting he considered an offer to join the LIV Golf League ahead of the new season.
Clark was among the players widely linked with a move to the Saudi-backed circuit ahead of the 2024 campaign, having claimed a breakthrough victory at the Wells Fargo Championship last May before holding off Rory McIlroy to win a maiden major title the following month.
The 30-year-old added a third win in nine months by claiming a one-shot victory at a weather-affected AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where he fired a 12-under 60 in the third round before storms saw Sunday’s play cancelled at Pebble Beach.
Clark moved to world No 6, with the American revealing after his victory details surrounding his conversations with LIV Golf and why he rejected their advances.
“I definitely met with LIV and went through those discussions,” Clark said after his victory. “I wanted to see what they could bring to the table. I ultimately declined going to LIV because I felt like I still have a lot of things left in the tank on the PGA Tour and I wanted to chase records, I wanted to chase world ranking.
“My dream is to try to be one of the top players in the world, if not the top player. I just grew up always imagining winning PGA Tour events. So ultimately, I chose my legacy over LIV…that’s really what it came down to.
“I don’t know what the future holds with my career and what the PGA Tour and LIV is going to do, but at least for this season I am 100 per cent set on the PGA Tour and I want to try to get to as high in the world as I possibly can.”
Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton were among the high-profile players to switch to LIV Golf over the off-season, while Clark revealed he spoke to players from both circuits – as talks continue to finalise the Framework Agreement put in place last June – before committing to the PGA Tour.
“I did my due diligence,” Clark explained. “I felt like if I was going to make a life-changing decision, I wanted to make sure I did all the right things and call the right people, get the right information, understand what both tours are doing, what I should do.
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“I honestly have to give a huge hat’s off to Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods, because they put so much effort in making sure that the PGA Tour is going to make the right moves to continue to try to be the best tour.
“They also really gave me some great advice and some counsel. I didn’t want them to sway me in a certain way, but I definitely wanted their counsel. I just wanted to honour them and the amount of time and work and effort they have put into this agreement now with SSG [Strategic Sports Group, investing in the PGA Tour] and where the Tour is going.
“I asked guys on both sides. I feel like that’s the right thing to do. Ultimately it came down to talking with close people in my camp and my team of what we should do and we decided to stay on the PGA Tour.”
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Niemann sets major target after LIV Golf League win
Clark moved up four places in the world rankings after his victory in California, which was a no-cut event that was eventually reduced to 54 holes because of bad weather, whereas Joaquin Niemann dropped eight places to 74th after his win in the LIV Golf League season opener with a similar format.
Niemann fired a ’59 round’ on the opening day before defeating Sergio Garcia in a play-off on Sunday to claim his second victory in just over two months, having also won on the DP World Tour at the ISPS Handa Australian Open, with the Chilean frustrated at his current major status for the forthcoming season.
LIV Golf events still do not have world ranking points on offer, having been unanimously rejected by the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) last year, making it harder for players from the circuit to qualify for the majors.
“I’m not in the majors,” was Niemann’s first comment after winning on the fourth extra hole. “I want to win majors, but I’ve got to get in them first!”
He added in his victory press conference: “I think I have a different mindset for this year. It kind of hurt me a little bit not being in the majors and I think also helped me to get motivation to kind of earn my spot back into the majors, into the elite players.
“I think it helped me a little bit to get focused back, to start working harder, to start working with a purpose. I think it’s paying off, and I just want to keep telling myself that I’m capable of doing this, of winning tournaments, and this is a good way to prove that, and I don’t want to stop working the way I’m doing it.”
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