We have seen it all this year and, in the end, will be left with so many unanswered questions.
Exactly what the men’s professional game holds for us, the viewers, will now have to be boxed up and placed under the tree this festive season.
While we wait for Boxing Day, it sounds like a few more PGA Tour superstars are about to be added to Jay’s naughty list. Rahm and Rors have also softened their stance of late, which may or may not be due to a few late-night WhatsApps with Greg, The Grinch, Norman.
I am holding out hope for only one thing this season. That is for both Tours to stop wishing the other away. Because neither is winning this battle right now.
Rather than LIV Tour players turning their backs on the Tour which made them, and PGA Tour players shunning their friends into no man’s land, one of two things should hopefully happen.
Either the two Tours go head-to-head, in a limited series of trash-talking matches throughout the year with players and caddies all mic’d up, or they form another strategic alliance and take their show on the road together – scheduling a stop (or two) on each continent.
I would prefer to watch the former in 2023, as there is so much heat between the players right now, that sorting out their differences ‘between the ropes’ would make for some knockout TV coverage!
With so many winners, who have been raking in millions this year, there were bound to be casualties along the way. One of them I fear is the current generation of young junior players whose dreams may now seem slightly blurrier than those walking the path before them.
Growing up around putting greens with like-minded friends, each imagining what it would be like to win a Major championship on the 72nd hole at Augusta, St Andrews, or Pebble Beach looks to become another tale of old.
Will the top 0.3% of junior-to-college golfers begin feeling pressure from their parents to sign up with LIV Golf, to guarantee their family’s future? With hindsight being 20/20, I know what I would have done, had I ever found myself in that position.
Not to say that winning a Major is not the pinnacle of the sport, but to reach that peak, you would certainly face countless career-threatening challenges in the valleys below. Most of which, have already laid waste to the other 99.7% of talented players, long before you set off from base camp.
Empathising with both sides of this argument might be the only way out of this mess, because at the end of it all, who is anybody to judge the choices made by another person? Especially when they have made that decision purely for the sake of their family’s future.
Here’s hoping for a Christmas miracle and for sanity to prevail, so that we can all enjoy watching the world’s best golfers contend for Major Championships in 2023. However, if they do happen to get mic’d up and scrap it out in a grudge match or two in the meantime, I’ll see you right there in the front row!
– This column first appeared in the December 2022 issue of Compleat Golfer magazine.