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An example of how fractured the relationship between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour has come as details from an antitrust hearing case were reported on Friday.

“We’ve learned that the [PGA] Tour has orchestrated a grassroots campaign against LIV Golf,” John Quinn, the LIV Golf attorney, said.

“They chartered a private jet to fly protestors — including, shockingly, members of [9/11 Justice] and victims of 9/11 — to conduct these protests in effect to actually create this Saudi taint.”

For now, it is a conflict which shows no signs of abating and amid the ongoing slanging match between LIV and the PGA, The Masters became something of a bellwether for the respective state of the two tours.

There have been plenty of attempts to pour scorn on LIV Golf and how it might stifle the appetite of the big guns who now ply their trade in what appears to be a less competitive environment.

Yet, those claims were debunked by the showings of Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka at Augusta, even if some wags were suggesting in the aftermath of the latter's final round – a 75-over par 72 – that his relative collapse was understandable since he only plays 54-hole tournaments now – a nod to the truncated format in LIV Golf.

Of course, it takes little reminding that the logic behind the reasons for doing so could be seen in the prize money Mickelson and Koepka took home for their week's efforts in Georgia.

The two men pocketed $1.59 million, some way off the $4m that Koepka earned for winning the most recent LIV event in Orlando. Meanwhile, Mickelson became the oldest player in Masters history to have a top-five finish and his final round of 65 was the lowest Masters round ever for a player over the age of 50 – so, in all, it turned out to be a respectable showing for LIV Golf. 


But the main takeaway from a memorable weekend – aside from the conclusion that Jon Rahm is a relentless, ice-cool golfer – was the sense of golf's loss.

Here was a glimpse of what we have been missing ever since the defectors left for the LIV Tour last year. Certainly, it was hard to escape the conclusion that it is a great shame that punters are denied the opportunity to watch the best in the game going toe-to-toe each week.

Perhaps the counter argument is that the scarcity of these such occasions in the golfing calendar has given them a new-found lustre to them but that wasn't Koepka's view when asked about it on the second day of play.

Quizzed on whether he might have had a different outlook on joining the LIV Tour when he was battling a career-threatening knee injury last year he expressed remarkable candour. 

“Honestly, yeah, probably, if I’m being completely honest,” he said. “I think it would have been.”

It was the first time any of the participants on LIV had given anything approaching a dissenting voice about their presence there and it raised a wider question about how long the whole enterprise might last.

There is, of course, the small matter of lucrative, watertight contracts standing in the way and the belief that the open warfare that the game has experienced in the past 12 months or so has created fissures that might take some time to heal should some form of rapprochement ever materialise.

However, Koepka admitted that he missed pitting his skills against Rahm, the eventual winner at Augusta, and those such as Rory McIlroy.

It quickly became clear that he's not the only one.