Woodard: Middling veteran pro calling out PGA Tour after entering LIV Golf event sure seems out of touch

Chris Stroud voiced his displeasure with the PGA Tour this week after the veteran player entered the field for the upcoming LIV Golf Promotions event in Abu Dhabi, Dec. 8-10, that will grant three players access to the upstart circuit in 2024.

“I’ve been frustrated with what the Tour’s done for years, since I was on the (Player Advisory Council). The Tour doesn’t care about you if you’re not in the top 30 and I learned quickly that I needed to take care of myself,” Stroud told Golf Channel on Thursday. “The Tour has built this bad culture. I love (commissioner Jay Monahan), but the Tour has never tried to give back to the players, we’ve never had a voice. So, Jay has had a free hand to do whatever he wants.”

“I believe (Monahan) and a lot of people at the Tour genuinely care about us,” Stroud continued by contradicting himself, “but the system has never been set up to help the players. The Tour has taken all this extra money and not spread it out properly. I’ve talked to so many players about this and the answer is always, we need to be unionized.”

“Never been set up to help the players?

Never tried to give back to the players?”

Stroud played the 2022-23 PGA Tour season on a major medical extension and missed 14 cuts, made just eight and still took home $449,238 in prize money. He’s finished inside the top 100 in FedEx Cup standings just four times (most recently in 2017) and over 402 starts and 15 seasons has missed 44 percent of hits cuts (175).

In the process, he has earned $13,360,657.

Even before an ailing back hampered his last few seasons, Stroud has been, by the numbers, an average-at-best PGA Tour player and still was given a chance to compete for millions of dollars year in and year out against the game’s best. Sure, some expenses must be paid, but to make that kind of money for those kinds of performances, and then to turn and call foul on the Tour is quite the bold move.

Stroud is also unhappy with the Tour’s 2024 schedule and signature-event format that will reward the game’s best players from the previous season, as the top 50 from 2023’s FedEx Cup standings are all guaranteed spots in the big-money events. It’s worth noting Stroud’s lone win on Tour came at the 2017 Barracuda Championship, an opposite-field event for players who didn’t qualify for that week’s World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. And he still doesn’t think the Tour helps players.

Maybe Stroud is right and the Tour has dropped the ball over the last few years with regard to elevated events and how they handled the challenge posed by LIV Golf and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. Maybe Nate Lashley was also right for recently calling out the Player Impact Program payments.

Or maybe they can meet in the middle and realize being a professional golfer is an earned privilege, not a right, and if they want to reap the rewards the game provides, they just need to play better.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek