2023 has been quite a year in professional golf, here are a few takes of the season looking at the mens game as it stands and some insights into what could happen in 2024.
As I write this it is the final round of the LIV Promotions event. I have had opinions on the merits of the LIV Golf League and how it fails to capture the imagination, have they changed – where does LIV go next?
This week, there were team changes with trade announcements – some of the changes made sense, some did not but I am still not bought into the “teams”. This may be something that takes time. Time to build an allegiance to a specific team – for now I just follow players.
That said, watching LIV players performing on the DP World Tour over the past month, it is obvious that the players are still “good” and The Stingers team are right up there with regards to being right at the top of their “grade” – how they compare to the USPGA is open to debate and the question of how much better the USGPA is compared to other tours is always questionable. The Ryder Cup perhaps showed that the gap between the tours is not that great after all.
LIV, despite players comments to the contrary, (HV3 being the real exception) is all about the money. So you can deduct that the teams transfers have to be linked with team equity: it is the only way you can justify swapping the #1 player on LIV with someone ranked in the high twenties.
The main news of the week was Jon Rahm’s arrival on the LIV tour. This is massive with regards to the name. He’s the number 3 golfer in the world and arguably the top golfer over that past five or six years.
But will he move the needle? Will Rahmbo’s move mean more people tune in to watch LIV every tournament? Time will tell, of course, but I would suggest not. There are more prominent names that would make a difference, Rory or Spieth for example, but does it matter – can’t the “two” tours not just co-exist?
LIV Promotions event
This tournament has been interesting, although I have, until the final day, been following the post round coverage. I am watching eagerly now as the final 18 holes take place.
Again, this follows a shot gun start, with all 20 players fighting for 3 spots on the LIV golf league for 2024. My interest is specifically geared to a couple of players though, the majority of the players I do not know or particularly care about. I hope that Kalle Samooja and Laurie Canter can make it into the top 3 places and get their cards.
Interest and anticipation
I have to admit that I don’t watch most of the LIV tournaments. This is partially because of timezone challenges, partially due to knowing the tournaments are even taking place, and partially due to general apathy.
They have some great players, the format is actually quite entertaining and I think that the TV coverage is decent.
A lot of the complaints about TV coverage of the PGA is due to commercial presentation, something as a DP World tour viewer I don’t particularly suffer from.
The promotions event was nail-biting stuff. It helps when you are routing for someone, hyvää Kalle but from the start of the coverage it was gripping. The ebbs and flows of the leaderboard (or pylon as LIV call it) was fascinating to watch. Kalle was the leader after the morning round but could not buy a putt… until the 17th. Then a great two putt from over 70 feet guaranteed the first Finn on the LIV golf league.
Congratulations to Vincent and Kozuma for clinching the other top spots. As money has been mentioned, a million times before, it was apparent that this is more than that. Of course, they are guaranteed $2 million next year, but they have secured a future for themselves that perhaps seems unattainable previously.
Does LIV move the needle?
Parts of LIV are good. I find the “TV” presentation good, although I find the commentators overtly smug. The shots come thick and fast but so many of them seem almost out of context. Excitement levels reach meh at best, LIV promotions event aside.
Would I switch to watch Rahm and LIV top players? I will not go out of my way to watch, but will watch when I can (be bothered).
Will it stop me watching other tours? Absolutely not.
What about you?