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LIV winner Branden Grace had an `easy decision’ to join Genesis Scottish Open at the 11th hour

Branden Grace won $4m on the LIV Golf Tour last week.
Branden Grace won $4m on the LIV Golf Tour last week.

Branden Grace didn’t take part in the legal action that allowed LIV Golf players into the Genesis Scottish Open – but took advantage of it anyway.

Fresh from winning the $4 million first prize at the second LIV event in Oregon last week, the South African leapt on a plane to Edinburgh as soon as he realised his ban and fine had been stayed.

‘I didn’t have to think twice’

“For me it was an easy decision,” said the nine-time DP World Tour winner. “I only heard yesterday that I could play here, so I flew last night and got in this morning.

“I was having a few weeks off at home. Obviously I knew what the situation was, with Ian and the guys attempting to open it up.

“I didn’t have to think twice, didn’t feel any trepidation. When they got the go-ahead, when I saw the news the next morning, we reached out.

“And we were told I could play because we’re in the same boat. What happened to them would happen to us, they would treat us the same way.”

Grace was beaten in a play-off by Phil Mickelson in this event in 2013, and he’s always enjoyed the tournament. He sees nothing wrong with playing LIV, and wants to play wherever and whenever he wishes.

“Listen, we’re all doing it for our personal reasons,” he said. “I’ve got a young family, I’ve played on a ‘foreign’ tour my whole life.

“Being from South Africa, whether I come and play in Europe, go to play in Asia, America or the LIV league, it doesn’t feel like there’s any difference.

“I obviously understand what the guys are saying but, for me, there was an opportunity I felt I couldn’t let slip. And so far I’ve played really good golf as well.”

‘We’re all very good mates’

He got a big hug from former Presidents’ Cup team mate Cam Smith of Australia when he arrived on the range, so it’s not all tensions between players.

“You know, we’re all very good mates,” he said. “I’ve played golf with these guys for a very long time now.

“You would hope that nothing really changes overnight, especially in such a short while. So far it’s been really good.”

Even being given a first-thing tee-time with fellow LIV player Ian Poulter doesn’t worry him.

“I must say I had a big giggle when I saw that!,” he said. “But the same happened to the guys who played the BMW in Munich a few weeks ago; all the guys were paired together.

“I’m sure Ian and I are going to have a little talk about it on the golf course tomorrow. We get the best of the greens early on Friday– so we can’t complain!”

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