Verify in each week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors as they break down the most well liked subjects within the sport, and be part of the dialog by tweeting us @golf_com. This week, we talk about LIV Golf’s TV deal, LPGA drama, Jon Rahm’s dominant run and extra.
1. LIV Golf introduced it had formally signed a “multi-year settlement” with the CW, granting broadcast and streaming rights to the community for its occasions starting this season. The opening spherical might be accessible solely on the app, with weekend protection broadcast on TV. A supply additionally instructed Patacon.org’s James Colgan that LIV just isn’t paying the CW to broadcast its occasions. Discovering a broadcast companion was paramount for LIV. Now that it’s carried out, what do you consider this deal?
The LIV Golf-CW TV deal is official. Listed below are 9 issues we all know
Josh Sens, senior author (@joshsens): This may’t be the deal LIV was dreaming of from the beginning. Removed from it. However components of it do sq. with LIV’s present gross sales pitch. The league is pushing the group and franchise angle exhausting, with messaging that tilts towards a youthful demographic. Throw within the group names (Crushers, Fireballs, Hy Flyers, and many others.), and all of it has a form of a Ninja Turtles teen sheen to it that matches CW’s historically teeny bopper viewers. One disconnect is that apart from Smith and Niemann, LIV’s largest names skew older. And the general golf market is in fact a lot older, too. But it surely does seem to be LIV is making a protracted play for a youthful crowd, seeking to construct these group allegiances that it might promote down the street. How will all of it play out? Anybody claiming to know the reply is filled with it, I’d say. Numerous Brooks Koepka/Buffy the Vampire jokes floating round. However the different issue is that CW has new homeowners with a unique imaginative and prescient of what they need the community to be. To precisely forecast, you’d need to understand how profitable they’re going to be in attracting a brand new viewers, after which how/the place LIV would slot in with that. The one factor I can predict for positive is that my very own private happiness won’t hinge on how the Hy Flyers carry out. However then, I assumed Holey Moley was unwatchable, and I by no means understood why individuals purchased pet rocks, so don’t go by me.
Jessica Marksbury, multimedia editor (@jess_marksbury): Whether or not LIV paid for the TV time or not, it undoubtedly looks like a step in the precise course. Perhaps I’m turning into a little bit of a dinosaur, however watching issues on TV nonetheless looks like an improve from streaming-only, even when the viewers is smaller than YouTube’s. On the finish of the day, although, when it comes to being a professional competitor to the PGA Tour, I really feel just like the TV residence issues a lot lower than the world-ranking factors concern.
Dylan Dethier, senior author (@dylan_dethier): Like all the things in our unusual, divisive world, the CW deal has sufficient positives in it to provide the pro-LIV faction one thing to rejoice — and the anti-LIV crowd loads to make enjoyable of. To Sens’ level, I feel it’s exhausting to understand how this can look till we all know the way forward for the CW and the extent of dedication to reinvention from father or mother firm Nexstar. Total, it looks like a win for LIV to be in so many households — particularly given so many different broadcast alternatives have been by no means going to occur. However the entire thing continues to be a bit surreal. A PGA Tour rival on the CW! Get your One Tree Hill jokes off whereas we determine what’s occurring.
2. How a lot will TV rankings inform us in Yr 1? How a lot inventory ought to we put in them?
Sens: I predict poor rankings this 12 months, however that’s clearly not a deal-breaker to a circuit with bottomless funding. What I’d watch extra carefully is whether or not LIV can proceed to draw large names, which in flip would drive curiosity. Which in flip offers them an opportunity at drawing TV sponsors. And so forth. Meantime, offered the Saudis keep , there might be a 12 months 2, and a 12 months 3 and …
Marksbury: I’ll be shocked if rankings aren’t greater than what we noticed from YouTube’s numbers. However I don’t suppose it should matter all that a lot both manner. As Josh mentioned, LIV appears decided to plug alongside for the foreseeable future.
Dethier: If we’re in a position to get actual rankings, I’d anticipate LIV to do wonderful. I’d be shocked if it was an in a single day sensation — however there’s a big contingent of people that get the CW and there’s additionally a big contingent of people that like watching golf on weekend afternoons. I’m guessing they’ll discover a couple of cash between the sofa cushions to spend on advertising and marketing, too. What’s fascinating to me is that by going from YouTube to broadcast TV, LIV appears to be taking part in on the PGA Tour’s turf. It’s, as Jay Monahan mentioned a pair weeks in the past, “product vs. product.”
3. Brooke Henderson received the LPGA’s season-opening Hilton Grand Holidays Event of Champions on Sunday, however the occasion’s locker room state of affairs — or lack thereof — made headlines earlier within the week. Some gamers, nevertheless, have been miffed the controversy took away from the primary occasion of the 12 months. The place do you stand with all of this? Was it an enormous deal? Blown out of proportion? One thing in-between?
‘Foolish factor to speak about’: LPGA gamers pissed off by locker drama
Sens: Subpar locker room storage is what is called a really privileged drawback. So in that sense, overblown. However not overblown within the sense that this may by no means occur to the lads, and if it did, are you able to think about the whining?
Marksbury: One thing in between. The belated locker supply appeared a bit clunky. It wasn’t the dearth of the bodily lockers themselves that was the principle drawback, however reasonably the dearth of onsite personal house for the feminine rivals. However the occasion is a novel one on the LPGA schedule — a pro-am with each female and male rivals, and the venue merely didn’t have the lodging that the gamers are accustomed to week-in and week-out. So I discover myself agreeing extra with the gamers who shrugged it off as a blip on an in any other case cool match week.
Dethier: I feel the locker speak was merited, however I feel everybody concerned would have most popular it stayed in-house — and that that power have been redirected to the competitors, which featured a head-to-head showdown between a few the sport’s most compelling gamers (Brooke Henderson and Nelly Korda) plus an look from rising star Maja Stark. Hopefully this will get the LPGA to double down its deal with its gamers and we chase compelling golf-related storylines.
4. On the PGA Tour, Jon Rahm continued his sensational run, holding off Davis Thompson to win the American Specific match by a shot. With Rahm proudly owning two wins already in 2023, we’ll set his win-total quantity at 4.5, and ask you if he goes over it, or underneath.
Jon Rahm will get a fortunate bounce, wins once more on the American Specific
Sens: We’re seeing the Rahm we noticed in 2021, within the runup to his U.S. Open win, when the one factor that slowed him was a bout of Covid at Muirfield Village. He’ll win 5 – 6 this 12 months. You possibly can at the moment get him at 11-1 at Augusta. The betting favourite. Which appears about proper.
Marksbury: When Rahm completed the primary spherical trailing by two in La Quinta, he mentioned that he was crammed with confidence as a result of he was scoring properly even when he didn’t have his A-game. Jogged my memory of Tiger. When a participant of Rahm’s expertise will get in that zone, the sky is the restrict. Given the beginning he’s had this 12 months, I feel 5 is his quantity, so I’m undoubtedly betting the over.
Dethier: We’ve seen a bunch of gamers hit scorching streaks in recent times. However discovering a second peak is rarified air, and now Rahm looks like he’s doing precisely that. I nonetheless suppose 4 wins might be extra probably than 5 — in golf, “underneath” is all the time the good cash — however I positive wouldn’t be shocked if he completed the 12 months with seven wins, both. He’s at the moment one of many three finest golfers on the earth — and he’s not third.
5. Max Homa graced the quilt of the newest concern of GOLF Journal, and in Dylan Dethier’s profile (which you’ll learn right here) we discovered about Homa’s battle with self-belief, his rise to the highest, Presidents Cup stardom and extra. Homa additionally mentioned, “For some time, with the social media stuff, individuals have been all like, ‘Man, I’d like to have a beer with that man.’ Effectively, I don’t know for those who actually would.” Which brings us to this uber-important query: Which professional (or two) would you most need to have a beer with?
Max Homa isn’t regular. He’s much more fascinating than that
Sens: One of many older guys with tales to inform and no hesitation telling them. I all the time discovered Craig Stadler to be a enjoyable interview. Calcavecchia for those who might get him going? Or perhaps one of many Europeans. Sam Torrance. Monty. The youthful guys can be much less fascinating, I feel, until you may slip fact serum into their beer.
Marksbury: Completely agree, Josh! You need somebody with a minimal filter for positive, and a down-to-earth mentality. I’ll select from the PGA Tour for selection’s sake: Harry Higgs, Viktor Hovland, Shane Lowry. All three seem to be straight shooters and a number of enjoyable.
Dethier: You couldn’t go incorrect choosing Joel Dahmen, so long as you’re keen to have one beer flip into seven. A pint at Lowry’s native pub would even be a thrill. And it will be an honor to be there for 20-year-old Tom Kim’s first-ever beer.
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