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Hoge starts Pebble Beach defense

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) — Tom Hoge’s maiden PGA Tour title at Pebble Beach last year opened up a wealth of opportunities, but he opted for the events he had long cherished over the high paying LIV Golf series.

Hoge, speaking before launching his title defense at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, said there were “discussions” with the Saudi-backed LIV tour that has split the golf world but that he never received a formal offer.

But the reported sums being offered to golfers who signed up did have him thinking about how he would have responded to one.

“The biggest thing for me is that I had won for the first time. I was making the decision a few months afterwards, and there were so many tournaments I’ve wanted to play in for the first time — tournaments I grew up (watching), Tour Championship, Maui, those sorts of tournaments.”

“And when I went to bed at night, I wasn’t ready to give those up.”

But the 33-year-old acknowledged that had a firm offer come, with millions in guaranteed money that could assure his family’s security, it wouldn’t have been an easy decision.

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