LIV GOLF: Players will have to choose… Justin Thomas has no hard feelings for defectors… Greg Norman has plenty

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Professional sports and money have always had a complicated relationship, and the absurd dollars thrown around by LIV Golf certainly shine a light on this issue.

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Nobody chooses a sport in their childhood to become rich. As a kid, you play because it’s fun, or because you like competition, or maybe just because you’re good and it’s fun to be good at things. Once you start getting paid for what you love, however, it feels like a job, at least once in a while.

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Over the next year, professional golfers will all have to ask themselves why they are playing this game. Players in their 20s, players in their 30s, 40s and even 50s. For many of them, no one will ever know the answer but them. But even players who don’t have Greg Norman and his Saudi pals knocking on their door will surely be wondering, “Would I take the money to join Sergio Garcia’s Fireballs?”

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For this discussion, let’s leave the moral dilemma aside. Don’t worry, there are 14,736 articles you can read about it. Let’s talk sports. Wednesday’s news that Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed are set to join LIV Golf is the first truly remarkable defection. They are the first players not looking to slide comfortably into pre-fatigue on a money slide. They are the first to say that, even in their prime, money trumps their competitive desire to play against the best players in the world every week. Or maybe they just don’t have any friends on tour and it sucks, which, frankly, I would understand better. The two men have probably reconciled it by persuading themselves that there are always the majors and that it is there (more than ever) that careers are made. That’s largely true, but if they think they can play three days a week against Martin Kaymer’s Kleeks and then show up ready to face Cam Smith and Scottie Scheffler at a US Open, they’re confusing themselves with Tiger. Woods.

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Speaking of Scheffler, the world No. 1 had exactly the right answer on Wednesday when asked about the situation rocking the world of golf: seemingly genuine indifference.

“I haven’t really noticed any guys missing, maybe outside of Dustin being an RBC guy for so long, I think he’s really the only one I haven’t noticed here” , Scheffler said. “The best players in the world are here to play golf and I can’t wait to play them this week. I don’t really know what’s going on there, so I don’t have much to say.

It’s hard to imagine the mulleted Smith, as brave and fierce of a competitor as golf has today, being satisfied playing three-day tournaments against 47 golfers. And good luck he even feigns interest in teaming up with anyone if the Aussie flag isn’t involved.

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You can’t take sport out of sport, and in the end it will be the downfall of LIV Golf.

HISTORY OF EVERYTHING
Justin Thomas has a live and let live philosophy towards players who leave for LIV Golf.

“I mean I’ve thought about it a lot and it’s like, look, people have the right to choose whatever they want,” Thomas said. “I don’t hate DJ now. I don’t think he’s a bad guy. I’m not going to treat it any differently. He has the right to choose as he wishes.

The PGA champion offered an even broader societal view of the animosity and hot takes he’s seen or heard of lately.

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“I think the day and the age that we live in now, it’s so negative that you see it in everything: sports, politics, whatever it is, it’s like you’re not a agree with someone you just feel you have the right to love hate them and talk badly about them and belittle their decision, when everyone is entitled to their own opinion, you know what i mean? he said. “Like I said, that doesn’t make him a bad person. Now I’m disappointed and I wish he and others hadn’t, but that’s their decision.

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CHIP SHOTS
Greg Norman is trying to make LIV Golf a freedom for golfers, a world where everyone is a free agent and can finally get paid what they are worth. It is obviously full. LIV Golf is not the free market that works as it should, it is market manipulation. Every one of these golfers knows they’re not worth the money they’re being offered, and they know the league isn’t viable without being in the Saudis’ good graces… If someone offers me a 2000 raise % to do less work, I’d wonder exactly what I’m being paid for. Some people would care, some wouldn’t… Adam Hadwin took to the court at next week’s US Open on Wednesday after Paul Casey forfeited. That’s six Canadians on the court at Brookline Country Club. I will be there from Monday.

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Michael C. Ford