LIV Golf is a blessing. It’s entertaining and players have the right to play wherever they want. He was a necessary challenger for a PGA Tour that has monopolized the game and is run by a dictator.
LIV Golf is nothing more than an exhibition with failed players and those who will never succeed on the Tour, all of whom are looking for a cash grab and no longer want to compete with the best. Not to mention it is being used by Saudi Arabia as a form of “sportswashing” of its horrific human rights history.
We are three events in this new venture led by Greg Norman and one thing we know: LIV Golf is as polarizing as anything we have ever seen in the sport.
Love it or hate it. There is no middle ground. Kind of like the direction this country has taken over the past decade. We have become two Americas: the right and the left. Red and blue. Conspiracy theorists and realists.
Who’s next to jump? :Speculation centers on Cameron Smith, three former Masters champions jumping at LIV Golf; What about Rickie Fowler?
Exclusive Q&A:Greg Norman’s vision for LIV Golf, PGA Tour players creating a “storm of controversy”, and more
And LIV seized the opportunity to throw herself into the political divide. Just look at his latest event, held at Donald Trump’s club in Bedminster, NJ. The week turned into a Republican mini-convention with Trump leading the circus and making the week all about him.
LIV appears to be here to stay – Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is not bankrupt. They have five events left this year, culminating in a $50 million purse at Trump’s property in Doral in October.
Norman told the Palm Beach Post that the field of 48 — which will be split into 12 teams — is slated for next year, when LIV rebrands as LIV Golf League. LIV’s plan is to sell the teams, with each being run as an independent business.
And more defections are coming. Rumors continue to swirl around Open Champion Cameron Smith as well as Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Scott. Some may join ahead of the next LIV event to be played outside of Boston on Labor Day weekend.
Here’s a sampling of the reaction The Post received from its coverage of this league of startups (letters edited for content):
LIV doesn’t deserve to be covered
Samuel Ray Henry doesn’t think LIV deserves to be in the sports pages and thinks the league will soon meet its demise. He interviewed The Post covering the LIV event outside of Portland, Oregon at the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.
“I don’t know why you put golf LIV on the front page of your sports page,” he wrote. “I didn’t see anything or anyone interesting in the Pumpkin Patch article. Most sincere golf fans really don’t care about LIV golf. They sold good traditional golf competition for a ‘dirty profit’. They don’t care what happens next to themselves or the PGA Tour.
“I really don’t see any good reason for any professional golfer to defect to this league or for any journalist to write about them or their tournaments. I see the whole LIV falling apart in two years.”
Henry agrees with the decision by Martin Slumbers, general manager of R&A golf at St. Andrews, to exclude Norman from events leading up to the Open. Additionally, Slumbers’ view that LIV “is not in the best long-term interest of the sport as a whole and is driven entirely by money. We believe this undermines the merit-based culture and the open competitive spirit that makes golf so special.”
Kevin Biddle wants to ask Norman harder questions like: “What business model allows you to spend more than half a billion dollars to acquire employees? Where is the return on investment? What are his ideas for coexisting with the Tour ?”
Mike Baker would like to ask Norman, “After watching the Open and seeing the golfers drive 6 or 7 par 4’s, do you think the LIV golf circuit is finally going to step up and start limiting the golf ball? Obviously, the PGA Tour doesn’t have the backbone to do that.”
Jupiter’s John McAuley predicted the lawsuit filed by unauthorized players on the PGA Tour. Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau are among 11 LIV golfers who are suing to challenge their PGA Tour suspensions.
“Once you get the Department of Justice involved, it doesn’t bode well,” he wrote. “But even if the courts say these players cannot be banned from PGA tournaments, these players are unlikely to be welcomed by those who have remained with the PGA and will be treated as outcasts.”
Robert Shea is not interested in reading anything on LIV. Instead, he wants more coverage of the Honda Classic, which is held in February at the PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens.
“History should support the local PGA Tour and not the grabbing of dirty, soulless cash,” he wrote.
Fans will benefit from LIV
Meanwhile, Napoli’s Sam Chester disagrees with the term ‘money grab’ to describe players who have defected to LIV.
“These are not Tour employees and independent contractors have made their choice. If you were offered a position as Press Director for LIV for $4,000,000 a year plus all expenses paid, you could probably take it in a wink. Could it be a ‘money from you?… Golf is a game, a sport, not a matter of life and death. There are plenty of dollars for everyone and the millions of golf fans, like me, can only benefit from increased competition.”
Peter Degen thinks “the PGA and LPGA will evaporate. Money will rule and the players will all grab the Saudi money.” He believes that the rise of LIV is linked to “the disintegration of the United States as a prominent 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 any lawsuit brought by LIV players against the PGA Tour is an attack on all players currently on the Tour.
“Why can’t players play on multiple tours? Anyone wonder when JT pulls out of a tournament or Rory takes a month off from touring?” Boyd wrote. “I mean if the PGA and the players are going to get the torso out let’s hold those players accountable and demand that they play ALL the PGA events and if that’s too difficult then maybe the PGA should have less events!! Oh yeah that will never happen because it will cost them way too much money!!!”
Frederick Moore agrees with Trump, who is urging Tour players to defect and predicting a merger is coming between LIV and the PGA Tour.
“Trump is right when he said there will be a possible merger. LIV recently added Howell, Kokrak and announcer D. Feherty, who has a huge golf following. Even Henrik Stenson has given up his captaincy of the Ryder Cup to join! As Trump said, it’s only a matter of time before the merger.”
Gary Weiss believes that every golfer has the right to play wherever they want, but must accept the consequences.
“I harbor no grudges for these struggling professionals who are otherwise unable to make a living on any of the ‘conventional’ tours,” he wrote. ‘And, for those who are already multi-millionaires and know they can’t compete anymore, they also have the right to sell their souls to the devil for hefty ‘appearance fees’ and the hope that they can beat an amateur’ wannabe’ and pick up a check for $4,000,000 or two.
“But, in return, they must all be stripped of their PGA/USGA/DP membership. Lose any accrued retirement income. … They will have chosen their fate in life and many, if not all, will benefit generously. I wish nothing but heartache from their decisions, hopefully the checks will bounce…although unlikely.”
Tom D’Angelo is a reporter for the Palm Beach Post. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.