LIV Golf should not be underestimated | Golf News and Tour Information

The 2017 film “The Disaster Artist” is the true story of an independently wealthy and eccentric aspiring actor who, in response to his rejection by Hollywood on all levels, finances and stars in his own film. His inexperience is illustrated by bizarre decisions, such as buying instead of renting all the camera gear. Despite a highly problematic storyline and a distressed atmosphere on set, a cast and crew of respected professionals remain because their outsized paychecks keep rolling in. The result is the worst movie ever made.

For people who love professional golf as it is, it’s only natural to dismiss LIV Golf as doomed as well. Just a convergence of ego and money, it will only be a matter of time before its proponents realize you can’t start at the top and move on. What if they managed to air low-attended events with 40-somethings and a few bad boys. Fifty-four holes and no cut, isn’t that the senior circuit?

But LIV should not be so underestimated. They hired McKinsey & Co. and other top consultants to check out their business model, liked the reports, so they’re willing to wait. They say the secret sauce is increased revenue from a fully commercialized league selling team sponsorship, rather than hundreds of logos scattered about individuals who may or may not play a particular event, weekend or get airtime. Because the PGA Tour is a nonprofit that benefits its members and charities, it cannot legally serve such sauce. As for moral objections to association with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, a year of heated debate over the role of sport in promoting human rights has mostly dissipated in brutal sentiment: ” We buy oil from them, so why can’t we buy golf from them?

And therein lies a question: are birdies a commodity whose entertainment revenue can be reliably predicted and scaled, or is there an intangible element to the game that these men of the game are missing? business?

Many would say that the intangible is an open and meritocratic competition, preferably on large courses. While early LIV events certainly lacked that first perk — a starry-eyed Pat Perez wearing a money-print shirt and sipping red wine on the eve of the game doesn’t exactly scream athletic drama — it’s possible to predict one day. where the mega-contracts cease and golfers compete to qualify for these 48-player courses, with the underperformers being eliminated. It would take time to materialize, if ever, but the architects of LIV have always maintained their long-term vision of charting paths from major world tours with fairness for all. At one point they offered to call it PGA Tour Super League, which landed like a lead balloon in Ponte Vedra. If there was this initial spirit of cooperation offered, one wonders why the controversial Greg Norman was hired as CEO.

The most recent defection is that of Henrik Stenson, a great champion who was also due to be Europe’s captain for the 2023 Ryder Cup until he was stripped of the title on Wednesday. Other players will follow after the FedEx Cup. For now, the pressing issues are the US Department of Justice’s investigation into whether the PGA Tour violated antitrust law by banning players, and how the official World Golf Ranking Board decides to handle LIV tournaments. . These represent LIV Golf’s best winning odds.

Yet the most important decision lies outside the realm of the law. Will the US golf market, the largest in the world, support LIV with companies buying space on golfers’ sleeves and media covering its tournaments?

A source close to LIV is surprised at all the obstacles encountered. Jay Monahan does not respond to their letters, the majors do not give them accreditation, the vendors who rent tents and furniture for tournaments do not fulfill their orders. From their point of view, they have worked hard to convince men like Yasir Al-Rumayyan and Majed Al Sorour to invest more than a billion dollars in the game which will spread widely. They tell how Yasir Al-Rumayan”s son fell from a horse aged 10 and broke his arm, and how that injury led to a love of golf and the revelation that the game could be enjoyed by the whole family. Fast forward to now, and these men are driven by the return on investment as well as the exciting prospect of changing the course of a sport’s history.

Another disaster artist? With each new big name signing, that seems less the case.

Michael C. Ford