Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa attempt to keep focus on Genesis Scottish Open rather than LIV Golf
Genesis Scottish Open co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour and PGA Tour for the first time this week at The Renaissance Club, where 14 of the world's top 15 are scheduled to feature; watch live on Thursday from 8am on Sky Sports Golf
Last Updated: 06/07/22 10:14pm
Justin Thomas says beating LIV rebels to the Genesis Scottish Open title would mean more to him and admits he has been "wrapped up emotionally from time to time" over the controversy surrounding the Saudi-backed tour.
DP World Tour players who contested the first LIV Golf event at Centurion Club last month were fined £100,000 and banned from the Scottish Open, but successfully appealed against the sanctions on Monday.
Ian Poulter, Justin Harding, Adrian Otaegui and Branden Grace were then added to the field at Renaissance Club, with Otaegui and Harding in the first group out on Thursday and Poulter and Grace in the same position on Friday.
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Thomas has spoken out in support of the PGA Tour in its battle against the Saudi-backed rival circuit, with the two-time major winner admitting that victory would be sweeter if it came at the expense of one of the LIV Golf rebels.
"If I know all four of them, then it will be fine," Thomas said about the possibility of playing with them. "It will be easy. But even if I don't, I don't necessarily think we're going to be having any gamesmanship or needling each other out there.
"At the end of the day, they are here for the same reason we are and that's just trying to play well and give yourself an opportunity to win the Scottish Open. If it so happens that it comes to that point and you have an opportunity to beat one of them to win the tournament, it might be a little better, but I'm sure they would say the same thing.
"I'll be the first to say I've gotten wrapped up emotionally from time to time, and I'm allowed to do that. I'm passionate about it and I feel a certain way. But at the end of the day, myself and others, first and foremost, need to focus on playing good golf because that's the No 1 priority.
"But if we can continue to focus on improving our product, getting our product as good as possible, then at the end of the day we have nothing to worry about.
"You never know what's going to happen in terms of other entities or other things being thrown out there but I think we're all very obviously pleased with where we are at and we are just continuing to make strides and progress and changes that are going to benefit everybody."
Morikawa: LIV Golf links 'frustrating'
Collin Morikawa says it was frustrating to be linked with the LIV Golf Investments Series and believes the time has come to "let go" of conversations about the rival tour.
The two-time major winner was rumoured to be joining the Saudi-backed circuit after last month's US Open, with Morikawa quashing speculation in a statement on social media the following week to pledge his allegiance to the PGA Tour.
Morikawa was visibly annoyed to be asked to speak about LIV Golf ahead of the Genesis Scottish Open, live on Sky Sports, with the world No 4 instead wanting to focus on a star-studded field at The Renaissance Club and The 150th Open next week at St Andrews.
"I just woke up [after US Open] to people saying I was going somewhere when I obviously wasn't, so you had to shut it down," Morikawa said. "All I've dreamt about is the PGA Tour, winning majors, playing against the best in the world, being here together, yeah, it's annoying."
"It's funny because we go back to my press conference at the US Open and simply because I reiterated what Brooks [Koepka] had said that it was frustrating, that made it seem as if I was going to LIV.
"Now if someone says it's frustrating and they compare it to Billy Horschel, does that mean they are all staying on the PGA Tour? It's funny because we all have our opinions, right, and we all have what we want to say, but all I want to do is focus on each week and focus on the tournaments. So that's why I said it at the US Open.
"Same thing this week. I have already shut it down. I shouldn't have to worry about it. You guys shouldn't have to worry about it. Let it go. You know, we are here with an amazing field, 14 of the 15 best players in the world; that should be a story line.
"And then for next week, I could say a mouthful of me being defending champion, 150th Open, at St Andrews. Tiger Woods is playing again. I mean, does it get better than that? It's tough. It's tough to beat that."
This week's tournament also offers three places for St Andrews via The Open Qualifying Series, given to the three leading players in the top 10 who are not already exempt. Featured Group coverage begins on Thursday from 8am on Sky Sports Golf, ahead of full coverage from 12:30pm.
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