Men’s world number one Scottie Scheffler says golf fans should direct their frustration at the players who joined LIV Golf if they feel disillusioned with the rivalry between the tours. 

This week, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan admitted fans were “tired of hearing about conflict, money and who is getting what” amid a drawn-out negotiation with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), the backers of rival league LIV Golf.

Ahead of his title defence at The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, Scheffler was asked if PGA Tour players were concerned about golf fans feeling “disenchanted” by the state of the game.

“If the fans are upset, then look at the guys that left,” Scheffler said.

“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 … we’re doing our best to create the best product for the fans, and that’s really where we’re at.”

Scheffler said he and his fellow players have no control over whether their peers want to leave, as Rahm joins LIV Golf.

“If guys want to go take the money and leave, then that’s their decision,” Scheffler said.

“I’m not going to sit here and tell guys not to take hundreds of millions of dollars.

“If that’s what they think is best for their life, then go do it. I’m not going to sit here and force guys to stay on our tour.

“But at the end of the day, this is where I want to be, and we’re continuing to grow what we’re doing, and what they’re doing is not really a concern to me.”

The PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and the PIF announced a surprise “framework agreement” to merge interests on June 6 of last year.

A self-imposed December 31 deadline to finalise the agreement was not met, and Monahan said this week matters were “accelerating” toward a “positive outcome”.

In the meantime, LIV Golf began its third season of existence and dropped its pursuit to be recognised by the Official World Golf Ranking.

Scheffler has held the number-one world ranking since tying for second at the PGA Championship 10 months ago.

His grip on the top spot has been strengthened not only by his win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week, but also LIV players’ inability to earn points except at the majors and Asian Tour events.