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LIV GOLF: SCHISM AT THE HELM CAN RUIN THE GAME

General
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Posted by Admin 13 Jun 2022

Golf’s so-called rebel tour is gathering pace. Previously, Phil Mickelson was the biggest name to be a vocal proponent of the LIV project, which is the Saudi Arabia-backed tour that has been positioned as an alternative to the PGA and DP World Tour. But others have joined the fray, including former world number one Dustin Johnson.

 

dustin johnson

 

 

Attracting Johnson was a big deal for the LIV project. Despite winning the PGA Championship last year, Mickelson is clearly no longer in his prime. Johnson certainly is. Others who signed up for the inaugural LIV event (a 54-hole tournament played in St Albans, England), include Sergio Garcia, Graham McDowell, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter.

 

Of course, Johnson will return to the main PGA Tour at some point. His name is still listed among the top contenders in the Masters odds for 2023, and many will back him to regain the Green Jacket that he last won in 2020. But it was never a question of whether the big names would not return for the Majors. It is the lesser events that will suffer.

 

 

Smaller events might suffer

 

A case in point is the RBC Canadian Open and DP World Tour Scandanavian Mixed Event, both of which coincide with the LIV Golf Invitational in St Albans. While the list of players at St Albans, Johnson aside, mostly consists of those whose best days are behind them, there is a sense that it will not be the case in the future. If Johnson can go, others will surely follow.

 

Rory McIlroy, who has been one of the most vocal critics of LIV, shrugged his shoulders when asked about the event at St Albans. In effect, the Northern Irishman claimed that it was no big deal, even suggesting that the field for the LIV event was a poor one. He is, to an extent, correct, but it might not be that way the next time, or the time after that. Indeed, McIlroy did concede that he understood the appeal of the LIV events.

And that, perhaps, is the point. The LIV, bankrolled by investors with seemingly unlimited funds, can keep putting the carrot in front of players, whereas the PGA and other tours might only have the stick. Some casual fans might not care if the Canadian Open has a weakened field, but the organisers of an event that goes back over 100 years will care.

 

Schism might be bad for the game

 

But above all, it’s hard not to feel that a schism at the very top of golf will be bad for the game. Of course, the media can sometimes fall into the trap of perpetuating the myth that all of the golf world gravitates towards the PGA Tour – it doesn’t. Moreover, it’s worth remembering that other tours can easily lose their top players to the rebels at LIV.

 

Worse still, there is a sense that there is a lot of bad blood between fellow golfers, and between golf’s authorities and those with an axe to grind. Mickelson certainly has not won over any friends in the last several months. And his strong – that’s an understatement – words about the PGA set the golf world on fire. Mickelson sees the ‘rebel tour’ as a way of reshaping the PGA. In a sense, he sees it as a means of wresting back control of golf from the authorities to players. Whether he is misguided in that opinion seems like a moot point at the moment.

 

In the end, we don’t know what will happen. There is an assumption that some players will follow the money. But it has also been remarkable how many have resisted. Fans should keep an eye on what happens next.

 

 

 

Attracting Johnson was a big deal for the LIV project. Despite winning the PGA Championship last year, Mickelson is clearly no longer in his prime. Johnson certainly is. Others who signed up for the inaugural LIV event (a 54-hole tournament played in St Albans, England), include Sergio Garcia, Graham McDowell, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter. 

 

 

Of course, Johnson will return to the main PGA Tour at some point. His name is still listed among the top contenders in the Masters odds for 2023, and many will back him to regain the Green Jacket that he last won in 2020. But it was never a question of whether the big names would not return for the Majors. It is the lesser events that will suffer. 

 

 

Smaller events might suffer

 

 

phil

 

 

A case in point is the RBC Canadian Open and DP World Tour Scandanavian Mixed Event, both of which coincide with the LIV Golf Invitational in St Albans. While the list of players at St Albans, Johnson aside, mostly consists of those whose best days are behind them, there is a sense that it will not be the case in the future. IfJohnson can go, others will surely follow. 

 

 

 

Rory McIlroy, who has been one of the most vocal critics of LIV, shrugged his shoulders when asked about the event at St Albans. In effect, the Northern Irishman claimed that it was no big deal, even suggesting that the field for the LIV event was a poor one. He is, to an extent, correct, but it might not be that way the next time, or the time after that.

 

Indeed, McIlroy did concede that he understood the appeal of the LIV events. 
And that, perhaps, is the point. The LIV, bankrolled by investors with seemingly unlimited funds, can keep putting the carrot in front of players, whereas the PGA and other tours might only have the stick. Some casual fans might not care if the Canadian Open has a weakened field, but the organisers of an event that goes back over 100 years will care. 

 

Schism might be bad for the game

 

 

But above all, it’s hard not to feel that a schism at the very top of golf will be bad for the game. Of course, the media can sometimes fall into the trap of perpetuating the myth that all of the golf world gravitates towards the PGA Tour – it doesn’t. Moreover, it’s worth remembering that other tours can easily lose their top players to the rebels at LIV. 

 

Worse still, there is a sense that there is a lot of bad blood between fellow golfers, and between golf’s authorities and those with an axe to grind. Mickelson certainly has not won over any friends in the last several months. And his strong – that’s an understatement – words about the PGA set the golf world on fire. Mickelson sees the ‘rebel tour’ as a way of reshaping the PGA. In a sense, he sees it as a means of wresting back control of golf from the authorities to players. Whether he is misguided in that opinion seems like a moot point at the moment. 

 

In the end, we don’t know what will happen. There is an assumption that some players will follow the money. But it has also been remarkable how many have resisted. Fans should keep an eye on what happens next. 
 

GOLF FLICKS

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