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As PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan expressed hope a deal could be reached with the Saudi backers of the renegade LIV Golf series, Scottie Scheffler pinned the division in the sport on those who defected.

Scheffler and several others descended on Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, for The Players Championship this week. The field is missing top golfers like Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and others because they decided to leave the PGA Tour for LIV Golf. But the defending TPC champion isn’t exactly here for fan furor because the tournament won’t technically feature the best players in the world.

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Scottie Scheffler at Arnold Palmer

Scottie Scheffler holds the championship trophy after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament Sunday, March 10, 2024, in Orlando, Florida. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

“If the fans are upset, then look at the guys that left,” he told reporters on Tuesday, via ESPN. “We had a tour, we were all together and the people that left are no longer here. At the end of the day, that’s where the splintering comes from.

“As far as our tour goes, like I said, we’re doing our best to create the best product for the fans, and that’s really where we’re at.”

Scheffler added that he’s not going to slight the others for taking the money that LIV offered. But he’s still trying to build the best product he could with the players on the course with him.

ANTHONY KIM, WHO CHOSE LIV GOLF OVER PGA TOUR FOR LONG-AWAITED RETURN, FINISHES LAST IN FIRST EVENT

LIV Golf sign

Signage during the LIV Golf Invitational – Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Country Club on Feb. 10, 2024. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Monahan expressed confidence that a deal with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia would come and that he’s the one to lead the sport forward.

He added that while the negotiations are “accelerating,” the details had to remain private.

“While we have several key issues that we still need to work through, we have a shared vision to quiet the noise and unlock golf’s worldwide potential,” he said.

Still, the four rounds of The Players Championship are expected to go off with a few key names on the list. Justin Thomas, Will Zalatoris, Shane Lowry, Tony Finau, Wyndham Clark, Rickie Fowler, Harris English, Hideki Matsuyama, Matt Fitzpatrick, Keegan Bradley, Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth, Tommy Fleetwood, Xander Schauffele and Rory McIlroy are just some of the bigger names in the field.

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Jay Monahan in 2023

PGA commissioner Jay Monahan on the 18th green after the Tour Championship, Aug. 27, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

The first round begins Thursday at 7:40 a.m. ET.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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