Is Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama on his way to LIV Golf?

ZOZO Championship - Previews
ZOZO Championship - Previews (Image via Getty)

Amid the raging LIV Golf-PGA Tour debate, more players have been defecting to the newly introduced controversial series. The fight between the two series will only get messier if more golfers choose the Saudi-backed league and its hefty paychecks over the American circuit.

Since the inception of LIV Golf, several big-name players like Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka have jumped ship. Australian Cameron Smith became the latest when he joined the Saudi-backed series for a reported $150 million. Despite the PGA’s suspension of LIV golfers, more players have made the move.

As per the latest rumors, Hideki Matsyumana is the latest name considering a move to LIV Golf.

The speculataions of the Japanese golfer’s possible defection intensified when he pulled out of the FedEx St. Jude Championship. He cited a neck injury for his non-participation. However, the rumors were soon quashed, with multiple reports claiming that Matsyumana is wholly committed to the PGA Tour.

Hideki Matsuyama says he is 'fully committed' to PGA

Hideki Matsuyama recently said that he's "fully committed" to the PGA Tour. As per reports, the former Masters champion received a lucrative package to join the controversial LIV Series. However, Matsuyama turned that down.

Speaking ahead of the Zozo Championship title, which he is defending at home, he said that he had 'never been prouder' of being a member of the PGA Tour. It's pertinent to note that reports of Matsuyama joining LIV was a major talking point at last month's Presidents Cup. However, the player has quashed those reports.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday about his allegiance to the PGA Tour, Hideki Matsuyama said:

"Yeah, I'm a member of the PGA Tour. Never been prouder, especially at the Presidents Cup … Yeah, I'm fully committed to the PGA Tour, I'm a member."

However, he was considerate of his fellow golfers at LIV while addressing the new series’ fight with the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR). Commenting on whether the Saudi Arabia-backed circuit should be awarded ranking points, he said:

"Personally, I think they should be able to. However, there's a procedure that they have to follow, too, with the ranking points."

Matsuyama is currently at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Japan where he will look to defend his Zozo Championship title, The competition will run from Thursday to Sunday.

Who else is rumored to take part in LIV Golf?

As the Saudi-backed league nears the end of its debut season, more golfers have been getting linked. As per reports, Patrick Cantlay, Cameron Young, Adam Scott, and Jordan Spieth stand out. All the mentioned names have been rumored to defect to LIV, despite some disapproving the series.

While Hideki Matsyumana, Jon Rahm, and Jordan Spieth have openly quashed the rumors, players like Patrick Cantlay and Cameron Young are yet to speak out. It's important to note that Cantlay has previously said that the offer LIV made was 'tempting'.

Meanwhile, despite taking to social media to clarify that he has no intention of leaving the PGA Tour, Rahm is still linked with the controversial series. Golf fans will have to wait and see which other golfers will make the defection to LIV Golf in the coming weeks.

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Edited by Bhargav