Hideki Matsuyama confirms commitment to PGA Tour but backs LIV golfers in rankings fight

Former Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama has confirmed he will remain a member of the PGA Tour but said he was not opposed to LIV Golf events being awarded world rankings points.

Matsuyama was speaking ahead of this week's Zozo Championship, the PGA Tour's annual stop in his native Japan.

While there were reports linking the Japanese star with a switch to LIV Golf a couple of months ago, Matsuyama confirmed on Tuesday he has no intention of abandoning the PGA Tour - although he refused to criticise players who did decide to make the move.

"I'm a member of the PGA Tour - the players who left did so because they thought it was the right thing to do, so I can't say anything about them," said the 30-year-old.

"I am playing on the PGA Tour and I want to continue doing my best here."

Matsuyama was also asked about LIV Golf's ongoing efforts to secure world rankings points for its golfers.

LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman thought he had found the solution the tour needed after a co-sanctioning agreement with the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Tour, but the OWGR (Official World Golf Rankings) said it had been given insufficient notice and needed to conduct a review of the matter.

Matsuyama said he was sympathetic to the LIV players' plight, as it would not reflect well on the world rankings to exclude them considering some of the talent involved.

"I think it's fine to award them, but I think it's difficult considering how it would be viewed by the other tours," he said.

"If you want to get world ranking points, you have to follow the process.

"At the same time, they have some really good players over there and if some of those players drop outside the top 100 players in the world, that's not good for the world rankings either."

Looking ahead to this week's Zozo Championship, Matsuyama admitted he was looking forward to playing in front of packed galleries in his home country again.

The tournament was held in California in 2020 because of the Covid pandemic and returned to Japan last year in front of limited spectators.

This time around, there are no attendance restrictions, and Matsuyama is sure to have plenty of support as he looks to defend his title.

"It's great to be back as the defending champion," he said.

"I've really been impressed the last couple of days, they were practice days but still lots of people came out and cheered us on, and I know there are going to be even more come Thursday and over the weekend.

"Hopefully I can play my best and give everyone something to root for."

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