LIV Golf is a blessing. It is an entertaining game and players can play anywhere they want. It was a necessary challenge for the PGA Tour which had a monopoly on the game and was run by a dictator.
LIV Golf is nothing more than a fair of laundered players and those who will never make it in the round, all looking to make money and no longer want to compete against the best. Not to mention its use by Saudi Arabia as a form of “sportswashing” of its horrific human rights history.
We’re three events in this new venture headed by Greg Norman and one thing we know: LIV Golf is as polarizing as anything we’ve seen in the sport.
Either love or hate. There is no middle. Not unlike the direction this country has taken in the past decade. We have become American: right and left. red and blue; Conspiracy theorists and realists.
Who’s next to jump?:Speculation centers on Cameron Smith, three former Masters champions who have jumped into LIV Golf; What about Ricky Fowler?
Exclusive Q&A:Greg Norman’s vision for LIV Golf and PGA Tour players creates a ‘firestorm of controversy’ and more
LIV took the opportunity to jump into the political divide. Just take a look at her latest event, which took place at the Donald Trump Club in Bedminster, NJ, and turned the week into a small Republican convention with Trump leading the circus and making the whole week revolve around him.
Looks like LIV is here to stay – Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund isn’t going to go bankrupt. They have five events left this year, culminating with a $50 million portfolio at Trump’s Doral property in October.
Norman told The Palm Beach Post that the field of 48 – which will be divided into 12 teams – was set for next year, when LIV rebranded itself as the LIV Golf League. LIV’s plan is to sell the teams while operating each as a separate business.
And more splits to come. Rumors are still swirling about Open Champion Cameron Smith as well as Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Scott. Some can join before the next LIV event that will be played outside Boston this Labor Day weekend.
Here is a sample of the reaction The Post received from its coverage of The Startup League (the messages have been edited for content):
LIV does not deserve coverage
Samuel Ray Henry doesn’t think LIV is worthy of the space in the sports pages and thinks the league will be over soon. Wonder about The Post covering the LIV event outside of Portland, Oregon, at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.
“Not sure why you put LIV golf on the front page of your sports page,” he wrote. “I haven’t seen anything or nobody interested in the article on Pumpkin Patch. Most loyal golf enthusiasts don’t care much about LIV golf. They’ve sold good traditional golf competition for a ‘dirty profit.’ They don’t care what happens next to themselves or the PGA Tour.
“I can see no good reason for a professional golfer to deviate from this league or any journalist writing about them or their tournaments. I see LIV fading out completely in a couple of years.”
Henry agrees with the decision by Martin Slumbers, CEO of R&A Golf in St Andrews, to remove Norman from the events leading up to the Open. And Slippers’ view is that LIV “is not in the best long-term interests of the sport as a whole and is entirely driven by money. We believe it undermines the merit-based culture and spirit of open competition that makes golf so special.”
Kevin Biddle wants to ask Norman tougher questions like, “What business model allows you to spend more than half a billion dollars to get employees? Where is the return on investment? And what are his ideas for living with the tour?”
Mike Baker would like to ask Norman: “After watching the open game and watching golfers drive a 6 or 7 par 4, do you think the LIV golf round will finally go up and start limiting the golf ball? The PGA Tour obviously doesn’t have the backbone to do that” .
John McCauley of Jupiter predicted the lawsuit brought by players not allowed on the PGA Tour. Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau are among 11 LIV golfers who have sued to challenge the suspension of their PGA Tour.
“Once you get the Department of Justice involved, that doesn’t bode well,” he wrote. “But even if the courts say these players cannot be barred from PGA tournaments, it is likely that these players will not be welcomed by those who remain with the PGA and will be treated as outcasts.”
Robert Shea is not interested in reading anything about LIV. Instead, he wants more coverage of the Honda Classic, which takes place in February at the PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens.
“The story should support the local PGA championship and not grab the soulless dirty money,” he wrote.
Fans will benefit from LIV
Meanwhile, Napoli’s Sam Chester disagrees with the term “cash snatch” to describe players who defected to Liv.
“They are not round employees and independent contractors have made their choice. If you were offered the position of press director for LIV for $4,000,000 per year plus all expenses paid, you would probably accept that in no time. Would that be a ‘grab money from your side? …Golf is a game, a sport, not a matter of life or death. There is a lot of bucks for everyone and millions of golf enthusiasts, like me, can only benefit from increased competition. “
Peter Degen believes that “PGA and LPGA will evaporate. Money will rule and players will have Saudi money.” He believes that the emergence of LIV is linked to “the disintegration of the United States as an outstanding leader of the world.”
Mike Boyd is not happy that players like Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy have spoken out against LIV Golf. Thomas said that any lawsuit by LIV players against the PGA Tour is an attack against every player currently participating in the Tour.
“Why can’t players play in multiple rounds? Does anyone wonder when JT will drop out of the tournament or when Rory will take a month off from the tour?” Boyd Books. “I mean if the PGA and the players are going to get their boxes out, let’s hold these players accountable and demand that they play all the PGA events and if that’s too hard maybe the PGA should have fewer events! Oh yeah that would never happen because it would cost them a lot of money!!!”
Frederick Moore agrees with Trump, who is urging Tour players to defect and anticipating an upcoming merger between the LIV and PGA Tour.
“Trump right away when he said there would be an eventual merger. LIV recently added Howell, Kokrak and broadcaster D., it is only a matter of time before the merger.”
Gary Weiss believes that every golfer has the right to play anywhere he wants, but he must accept the consequences.
He wrote, “I have no ill will for those struggling professionals who, otherwise, are unable to make a living in any of the ‘traditional’ rounds.” And for those who are already millionaires and know they are no longer competitive, theirs too. The right to sell their souls to the devil for some huge ‘appearance fee’ and hope they can beat some ‘wannabe’ and get a check for $4,000,000 or two.
“But, in turn, they should all be stripped of their PGA/USGA/DP memberships. Give up any accumulated pensions…they will have chosen their lot in life, and many, if not all, of them will do well. I wish them nothing but heartache. Heart as a result of their decisions, I hope the checks bounce…although it’s unlikely.”
Tom D’Angelo is a journalist for the Palm Beach Post. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.