The Calamity That is LIV Golf

There's not much I can say about the LIV Golf/PGA/European Tour partnership that hasn't been said. I'm with players like Rory McIlroy and former pro/Golf Channel commentator Brandel Chamblee in being, to put it mildly, tremendously disappointed.

Not much I can say, but not nothin', either.

Since this bit of news re-triggered the conversation about LIV Golf in general, and the players and commentators who made the leap to them, I've heard at least three pundits defend them by saying, "Everyone has their price."

No, they don't. When someone says, "Everyone has their price," they mean, "I have my price for anything/everything, and I recognize the moral dubiousness of that stance, so I convince myself that everyone else is like that, too."

The funny thing is, I probably do have a price when it comes to LIV golf. If they want to make me a multimillionaire, I can provide a great deal of money to organizations that fight the very human rights violations the Saudis behind LIV golf are well-known to commit, and assist their victims.

But no, I don't have a price on everything. For example, I would not agree to be sponsored by the KKK for all the money in the world.

So the people who condemn LIV and refuse to take their money are, by my lights, people with integrity. They fight the good fight. If you want to bash them as a bunch of high-horse tut-tutters, you are saying more about yourself than you are about them.

Also of note: One of the things PGA tour commissioner Jay Monahan said about the merger was this "This transformational partnership recognizes the immeasurable strength of the PGA Tour's history, legacy and pro-competitive model and combines with it the DP World Tour and LIV — including the team golf concept — to create an organization that will benefit golf's players, commercial and charitable partners and fans. "

Emphasis mine. Why the hell are we singling out LIV's team golf format as a thing the PGA tour needs to even look at, let alone adopt?

Blood money aside, there isn't a single "innovation" LIV golf made that improved upon anything anyone was complaining about. Where is this clamor for team golf? How much merch are the Ironheads golf team selling? Is there a huge rivalry between Range Goats and Majesticks that are boiling over into fanbases, forums, and diss tracks gone viral?

No, there is not. This is because there is no need or niche to fill with team golf.

That's just one thing, though. There's also never been a groundswell of support to reduce tournament lengths from 72 holes to 54, because people recognize that they can just not watch the first round of tournaments if they are not interested. I would be really shocked if Golf Channel's second round/Friday coverage of tournaments is significantly better than first round/Thursday.

Tournaments limited to 54 golfers — again, who exactly was asking for this? When someone like Michael Block or Sam Bennett makes a surprise run at a major that they would not have gotten into if they were limited to 54 participants, are more people saying, "What a cool Cinderella story!" or "Get that piker off the screen! I want to watch Phil Mickelson at +20."

Finally, the shotgun start. What the hell? Shotgun starts are for local tournaments to allow the golf course to run the tournament more quickly and allow regular, revenue-producing play to resume quickly. It is not a TV-friendly format, at all. If six players are in contention, it is bad if they are all finishing at the same time — it means the producers have to bring us some key putts not live, not almost-live, but many minutes after it happened. They also take away the time-tested and often gripping narrative of trying to catch the leader in the clubhouse.

Every time I think about or write about LIV golf, I gradually go from measured to frothing. Everything about LIV golf is bad. Everything. Shame on the other big tours for jumping in bed with it rather than continuing to try to snuff it out of existence. That would be fighting the good fight.

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