I want to begin today talking about LIV golf. For the record, I do not play golf; I only watch golf on TV on the final day of some of the major tournaments; I am not a consumer of information about golfers. So, what follows are the reactions of “Just A Guy.” And the first thing this guy wants to do is to tell everyone to read Sally Jenkins’ column from yesterday’s Washington Post about the LIV Golf tour. If there were a Pulitzer Prize for sarcasm, this column would be on the short list to win the prize for 2022; here is the link; take a moment to read it and enjoy it.
I do not intend to try to justify the LIV Golf tour nor am I going to rant and rave about it. I want to focus on the PGA’s reaction to all of this. It has “banished” anyone who plays in any LIV Golf event from playing in any of the PGA’s events. Presumably, that is a lifetime ban because if it is not, then it is a feckless move indeed. I think that is a dangerous road for the PGA to go down. Even if the signing bonuses handed out by the LIV Golf tour are smaller in the future as compared to the ones handed out at the beginning, there could well be a serious temptation for top-shelf golfers in the future to take the money and run.
- [Aside: Please spare me the handwringing over golfers choosing to “take the money and run.” They are professional golfers meaning they play golf to earn money; that is the whole point; take the money and run. If you want altruism, go follow your local high school golf team.]
And the money difference(s) do not end with those signing bonuses. Don’t peek; tell me what golf event the PGA players competed in last weekend. It was the Canadian Open. Seventy players made the cut; of those 70 players only 20 earned more than $100K for the weekend. [Aside: Remember, everyone who missed the cut also earned less than $100K for the weekend.] Now, compare that to the fate of Andy Ogletree who played in the LIV Golf tour event and finished the tournament 24 strokes over par. He was dead last in the field and 31 strokes behind the winner.
- Andy Ogletree earned $120K for the weekend.
For now, the PGA banishment lacks real bite. The big events for the PGA are the four major tournaments. Three of those four tournaments are open to LIV Tour golfers as of today. The USGA says if you can qualify for the US Open, you can play; the R&A has not shut its doors to LIV Tour players for the British Open; I have not heard the official declaration from the folks who run the Masters but given their reverence for the history of the tournament, I doubt they are going to ban previous winners from the grounds. So that banishment applies only to one of the four majors and to other such gripping events as the John Deere Classic, the Charles Schwab Challenge and the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
My brother-in-law is an avid golfer and someone who follows the sport on TV far more than I do. He sent me a link last week to an article in Golf Digest that was less than laudatory in its view of LIV golf. My response was that Golf Digest is guilty of the same financial survival motive that LIV golfers are derided for following. Golf Digest is not owned by the PGA, but Golf Digest is totally dependent on the PGA for its existence. The magazine is owned by the same folks who own The Golf Channel on TV and if the magazine were to piss off the PGA to the point where the magazine was banned from PGA events and stories, Golf Digest would be out of business within two issues.
I really do not care if the LIV Tour succeeds or fails. I think rooting against it because it might teach a lesson to the “repressive Saudi regime” is worse than virtue-signaling because it clearly will not teach those folks any lessons. I think rooting for the LIV Tour is pointless for now because no one has any idea what it might become if it is sufficiently successful to be in existence five or ten years from now. Here is a metric for you to consider regarding the viability and the growth of the LIV Tour over time:
- In addition to individual play, there are teams of players on the tour; as of last weekend, there were 12 of these teams.
- I have no idea how the teams were chosen/formed.
- I have no idea why there are teams.
- I have no inkling as to the scoring system for the teams
- I have no clue what the team standings represent nor what reward there might be for the best team sometime down the road.
- LIV Tour golf will take a step forward in relevance when and if I care enough to dig in and find out more about any of those topics listed above.
Enough golf… Another big story of the weekend was Jack Del Rio – – defensive coordinator of the Washington Commanders – – being fined $100K by the Commanders’ head coach for expressing his view(s) on the events of January 6, 2021. That fine leads me to wonder why any athlete or coach would ever try to answer any question about politics or social issues. No matter what the answer is, you can be sure some segment of the audience will be pissed off by the answer. Were I in such a situation, my response would be along the lines of, “Next question…”?
Jonathan Allen is the Commanders’ best defensive player and a leader on the defense. His remarks about the fine for Del Rio tell me that he is also an intelligent man:
“Me personally, I don’t care about his opinion as long as he shows up every day and he works hard; that’s what I want from my defensive coordinator.
“In my opinion, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. Some guys decide to share it on Twitter; some guys don’t. It doesn’t make one person better than the other. At the end of the day, you can have a difference in opinion and still respect one another. I feel like that’s what our country is about. That’s what our team is about.”
Can I get an AMEN! for Jonathan Allen’s remarks…
Finally, since much of today’s rant was focused on golf, let me close with these two views of golf as a sport:
“Although golf was originally restricted to wealthy, overweight Protestants, today it is open to anybody who owns hideous clothing.” [Dave Barry]
“It’s good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling.” [Mark Twain]
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………