Death to the LIV

There's an article in ESPN this week that is headlined "LIV stars echo Rory: 'People are losing interest.'" that underlines some of the struggles the fledgling tour finds themselves up against.

To which I say, good. And this is coming from someone who values quantity over quality in sports. I was born too late to enjoy NBA vs. ABA or NHL vs. WHL battles for players, and was pretty young when college stars would often pick the USFL over the NFL, but yes, I want multiple leagues for the sports I love, which is most sports. And I love golf.

But, even if we put aside the blood money that finances LIV (and we will pretty much have to put that aside if we are to continue to enjoy men's pro golf, since the PGA is jumping in bed with the Saudi royal family, too), LIV is fixing something that's not broken.

As I've written here before, who the hell was crying out for team golf? Or shotgun starts? It's okay for golf to be an individual sport. People have long tried to make tennis a team sport, as well, most recently with World Team Tennis, which folded two years ago and who absolutely no one cared about despite having some of the biggest stars of the game.

Speaking of LIV golf teams, a couple weeks ago I caught the final round of the Asian Tour's "International Series Macau." The Asian tour, in particular, has a close relationship with LIV, but at least they run their tournaments the tried-and-true way.

In the final round, American John Catlin was trying to hold off Spaniard David Puig, who had a fired a 60 and had finished hours before Catlin. In the end, Puig and Catlin faced of in a playoff. So Puig, who is a LIV golfer for "Fireballs GC," emerges from the clubhouse and he is bedecked in full Fireballs gear — Fireballs shirt, Fireballs cap. It was jarring and stupid-looking.

Can you imagine if, say, Stephen Curry decided he wanted some run on an off day so he goes to the YMCA to play some pickup ball, and he wore his full Golden State Warriors uniform? That would be weird, right?

So anyway, Catlin, and therefore humanity, won. Hooray!

Another setback suffered by the LIV recently is that the Official World Rankings folks, after deliberating about for over a year, decided no, LIV events and LIV golfers were not eligible for OWGR ranking points. Part of the reason for that is LIV's events are not "open." It's just the same 54 golfers every event. There are no cuts. There is no qualifying.

This is precisely what "open" means in the context of golf events — it's open to everyone. Sure, if you or I wanted to play in the U.S. Open, we would have to go through several rounds of qualifying and it would not be cheap, but we could do it. The event is open. No LIV event is open. They might as well put "closed" in the name of all LIV events (to be fair, plenty of PGA tour events are also not "open" and instead are invitationals, but even those will have many avenues for automatically securing an invitation).

Again I say, who wants to see the same 54 golfers every week? Even if the Cinderella story of a Monday qualifier or a sectional champion holds no appeal to you, 54 is a very small number of golfers for a pro event.

If even one innovation, quirk, or difference in the way LIV does golf appealed to me, I could muster some sympathy (and believe me when I say, I'm no purist) — but not a single one does. They're all bad. The fact that they are funded by champions of ignoring human rights is the icing on the cake. When they start to back the PGA tour, as well, I would recommend donating money to human rights groups for every event you watch. That's what I'll do.

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