The breakaway LIV Golf Series has ignited more ‘range banter’ than anything I have seen in my two decades on the Sunshine Tour.
Yes, the prize-money breakdown is insane but what really blew my mind was watching that Ogletree fella take home close to R2-million for what looked like he had mistakenly entered an IPL powerplay.
Now, I am not in a position to judge, and nor would I, given that a few of our fellow pros from the Sunshine Tour are also over there LIVing the dream. I do, however, have my own thoughts, which I hope can add some perspective and not leave me looking like a ‘Norman-No-Mates’ during the next practice round out here.
I believe there are a couple of key questions to ask yourself before jumping to any conclusions when it comes to the LIV Golf Series and its roster of players to date.
1. ‘Saudi-backed’/‘Rebel players’/‘Scary m***** f******’/‘Sportswashing’ and more sound bites have been shared (repeatedly) when it comes to the LIV Golf Series. But did you know that the same group of Saudis owns Newcastle United Football Club? Why do we not hear any commentators make the same references during the Premier League matchday coverage? The DP World Tour seems to have always enjoyed sanctioning and running the Saudi International tournament.
2. Does the PGA Tour offer free flights, accommodation, food, caddie fees, yardage books, rental cars and monthly salaries to its players? (No)
3. If a player falls outside the top 120 and loses his card for the following season, will the PGA Tour keep him on the payroll until he rediscovers his form? (No)
Professional golfers are registered as ‘sole proprietors’ and compete for prize money at each tournament, at their own expense. The players who joined the LIV Golf Series made a business decision which offered a life-changing financial upside and more time at home with their families.
Maybe they’re right and maybe they’re wrong, depending on your views and opinions. But if your moral compass is the reason for unfollowing Phil on Instagram, there would also be high ground to take when it comes to swiping your card for anything offered by Nestle, Nike, Amazon, Disney and even that Big Mac at the drive-thru window? Just like you, I try to do good every day. I will always stand my ground when it comes to what I believe is right and what I believe is wrong.
But … if any of these companies ever sent me an offer on LinkedIn to work for them for eight weeks a year and receive a $100-million sign-up bonus, let’s just say I would be inviting you to join me for a hit at Augusta National this weekend. Would you accept it?
– This column first appeared in the July 2022 issue of Compleat Golfer magazine. Subscribe here!