Nick Faldo announced this week that he is retiring from full-time broadcasting after decades at CBS and the Golf Channel.
Faldo addressed the news at the top of Saturday’s show at the Travelers Championship, but those remarks actually followed a bit of talk about LIV Golf and the PGA Tour’s response this week. The Tour announced increased purses and new big-budget events in the face of the continued threat from LIV, the Saudi-backed sportswashing effort that poached Brooks Koepka this week ahead of their second event in Portland.
This site has never been kind to Nick Faldo, whose sleepy analysis and penchant for gaffes have done little to help the presentation over the years. Today, however, Faldo was all on point, first snooping Sergio Garcia and then wondering why Koepka, who has in the past professed a disinterest in everything outside of real competition, would switch to a new league that is anything but competitive.
— Geoff Shackleford (@GeoffShack) June 25, 2022
Thanks to Geoff Shackelford for this clip, which actually cuts seconds before the money quote.
“The other really important thing is enjoyment. You have to enjoy what you do for a living. You can’t stand on the golf course and think, ‘I don’t know why I’m here.’ can’t pretend. It’s an important thing in life to know why you’re there, and you think ‘I like it. I really like it.’ And I don’t see how these guys now think that’s a serious challenge.
Faldo’s point is great (and he also gets bonus points for singling out Sergio Garcia.) LIV, in its current state, really isn’t a legitimate competition. It’s money laundering but for human rights.
Watching part of the inaugural event in London a few weeks ago, it was abundantly clear that the look of the golf competition was tertiary at best, with fans literally asleep in the stands, no TV cast and a team element that is so randomly put together we’ve seen rosters and captains change without explanation.
always reminds me of a bar’s calendar of upcoming events/promotions
— DJ Piehowski (@DJPie) June 22, 2022
It’s been fascinating to see how various PGA Tour shows are handling the LIV incursion. For a while they didn’t really touch it at all, but now that some of the biggest names on the Tour are giving up (Koepka was originally supposed to be in the traveler realm this week, for example), they’ve been forced to remediate. more often.
Faldo critically coming out on air here is also fascinating, as he himself was forced to address speculation that he was leaving CBS for LIV. It shouldn’t be a big surprise that he isn’t, given that his longtime nemesis, Greg Norman, is the CEO of LIV.
CBS is also obviously a partner of the PGA Tour on a new rights deal that began this year, which the Tour is certainly keen to protect against potential talent defections. There are a lot of moving parts here.
Ultimately, however, Faldo’s main point is solid. Top players take a lot of money to end their careers as relevant stars, unless LIV somehow becomes the dominant force in men’s golf. It seems, at best, years away; they have the endless money to do it, but in a world where LIV is bleeding the PGA Tour dry, it’s hard to see golf surviving as a relevant sport anyway. That’s what sucks so much about all of this for golf fans.
Kudos to Faldo for calling it out in a way that really hits the points that matter.
[h/t Geoff Shackelford]