DORAL, Fla. — To really perceive LIV Golf requires a while. How a lot do you’ve got?
There’s the side of a steal. Years in the past one thing known as the Premier Golf League started as an thought, with an 18-event schedule for about 50 of one of the best gamers on the planet constructed into 4-player groups. For these new to this circuit — no, the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Investments didn’t create this format on their very own. However they did bankroll it, and so they did it first.
There’s the side of golf’s splintered ecosystem. What was as soon as a simple pyramid seems to be an increasing number of like a Rubik’s dice. LIV and the PGA Tour are suing one another. Augusta Nationwide has produced paperwork for the U.S. Division of Justice and that wouldn’t occur in every other yr. The DP World Tour may want to search out consolation being the little brother. Many toes have been stepped on.
There’s the side of this week alone, the workforce championship that each LIV staffer has been oh, so enthusiastic about all season lengthy. And with fairly good motive, we are able to now perceive. That is, by itself, a golf event in contrast to any we’ve seen the world over. Uniqueness is uncommon nowadays. And Friday’s quarterfinal matches supplied a minimum of one upset. We like that in different sports activities.
Whether or not golf followers take pleasure in LIV Golf past this debut season will rely on further examples like that — the stuff we take pleasure in from different sports activities. Harold Varner III supplied a contact of it Friday afternoon after beating Brooks Koepka 4 and three. The remainder of his workforce misplaced their matches and Varner wasn’t thrilled. His big-money sweepstakes was over.
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“I didn’t actually like how [James] Piot dealt with himself,” Varner stated, his regular pep crushed out of him by defeat. “I feel irrespective of in the event you’re shedding, you retain your head up and simply absorb on the chin.”
It feels like Piot didn’t do this. Internal-team turmoil! We haven’t seen it but at LIV, this band of brothers who left the PGA Tour for bundles of money and began speaking in nearly-scripted unison. It’s turmoil of the tiniest selection, to make certain, however a sliver of the identical sort of disappointment the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are feeling nowadays. That’s one thing we don’t see in golf.
The exaggerated advertising of LIV Golf relentlessly promised simply that: one thing we don’t see in golf. However at its core all of it feels largely the identical. The fewest strokes win right here and on the PGA Tour and in all places else. Throughout LIV’s first seven occasions, the workforce part has hovered within the background merely as a bonus pool of additional dough. If solely a handful of gamers are literally carrying their workforce logos, how robust is their allegiance to those manufacturers? The identical manufacturers that rostered completely different names from week to week. The identical manufacturers that … may get tossed out the window subsequent season. LIV Golf adjusts every little thing, it appears.
The precise golf was completely different Friday, in kind if nothing else. There have been make-it-or-your-season-is-over putts. There have been essential matches received on the ultimate gap. There was a legit battle between Phil Mickelson and Cam Smith that you simply’d tune into each single time had it occurred in the course of the match-play occasions of the previous. However greater than something, there was a minimize. LIV Golf’s first time sending gamers residence earlier than Sunday. And what have you learnt, it produced a little bit of strife.
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Poking holes by LIV’s product has been so simple as scrolling down the leaderboard. Cameron Smith and Dustin Johnson look good up prime, however the backside half has all the time lacked juice. Hudson Swafford has received on the PGA Tour, however has plummeted exterior the highest 300 on the planet, in keeping with DataGolf. LIV mainstays like Piot, Scott Vincent, Phil Mickelson, Jed Morgan — we want not listing all of them — would all be a part of Swafford exterior the highest 300 too. All these boys noticed their season finish Friday.
What LIV has left is the cream of its crop. Johnson and Koepka and DeChambeau and Garcia and the Open Champion of the 12 months and the British Majesticks and the South African Stingers. That’s what the a whole lot of thousands and thousands in assured cash has been for: engineering a provocative dash to the end, with each single shot counting Sunday afternoon. By the point their offseason begins on Monday, we received’t know if it’ll all have been price it. However we could have have much more to speak about.
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