According to reports on Saturday, Pieters, who picked up four points out of five on a dazzling debut at Hazeltine in 2016, is set to be announced as a new LIV Golf recruit along with PGA Tour winners Danny Lee and Brendan Steele on Monday.
The possibility of Pieters, the world No 34 and a six-time DP World Tour winner, switching to Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed breakaway circuit, had been strongly rumoured even when he played on a winning Continental Europe team in the inaugural Hero Cup in Abu Dhabi last month.
Speaking the following week as he prepared to defend the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, was asked about comments made by Shane Lowry about DP World Tour players being “sidetracked” by LIV Golf and its riches.
“As a 16, 17-year-old, you've got a dream of winning trophies but you never think about the money. I’ve had a very good life out of golf. I can walk away and have a very nice life right now. That’s not what it’s about,” said Pieters.
Referring to the Soudal Open, a DP World Tour event in Belgium, the 31-year-old added: “I love having a home Open, seeing the kids there, seeing all my friends there. Because I practice at home at different courses, I can see how the kids enjoy that. I never had that growing up, so it’s nice to practice with the kids to give them something to look at.”
It looks as though it will now be left to the likes of Thomas Detry to be the Belgian role model as far as the DP World Tour and PGA Tour concerned, with Pieters’ predicted switch to LIV coming a few days after he expressed disappointment at not being invited to play in this week’s Genesis Invitational on the US circuit.
”Sad to miss my favorite tournament of the year,” he wrote in a post on Twitter. “Because well as #34 in world, I just couldn't get in @PGATOUR #GenesisInvitational.”
The defection of Pieters would undoubtedly be a big blow to Donald in his bid to win back the Ryder Cup after Europe’s heavy loss in 2021, but, on the plus side, the European captain has now seen both Justin Rose and Olesen land impressive victories in the past fortnight.
Hot on the heels of Rose boosting his hopes of a Ryder Cup return at Marco Simone Golf Club by landing the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Olesen did likewise by storming to an impressive four-shot success in the Thailand Classic.
“It’s very special,” said Dane of a seventh DP World Tour triumph and second since being acquitted of sexual assault, assault by beating and being drunk on an aircraft in July 2019.
“The one at the British Masters was incredible, with my family and a long time since the last one. But equally this one, all the hard work, the sacrifice for my wife. It’s really nice."
For the third time in five starts in 2023, Grant Forrest finished as the leading Scot as he tied for 13th on 13-under - ten shots behind Olesen after he closed with weekend rounds of 64-66.