All is quiet on the LIV Golf front. You are allowed to feel uncomfortable about it.
After six months of chest-banging and splashing on the pro golf scene, where not a day went by without fresh commentary on the junior tour, we found ourselves in 2023 in slightly on hold, waiting for information. LIV has completely calmed down, for now at least. And for PGA Tour loyalists, it’s a welcome reprieve. For LIV believers, it pays to wonder what exactly is on the way.
We know the The LIV season will start on February 24th in Mexico, just south of Cancun, on a resort course designed by Greg Norman. this comfortable. But in reality, LIV Golf 2023 will kick off in just three and a half weeks, at Saudi International. 72 holes – gasp! The event is hosted by the Asian Tour, which has received massive funding from LIV Golf Investments. Presenting Sponsor is the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, the main supporter of LIV Golf.
The Saudi International is, in essence, the preparatory stage for LIV Golf, so we’re a lot closer to LIV news than anyone thinks. Cam Smith just committed this week, joining last year’s champ, Harold Varner – another Leaf golfer. Take a look at the Saudi international field last year and you’ll find dozens of LIV’s final commitments. Dustin Johnson, Bryson Dechambeau, Matthew Wolfe, Phil Mickelson. These are familiar names. Then there’s the world of Laurie Canters, Wade Ormsbys, Justin Hardings, and Siwhan Kims. They were all in the field, too. Down to Shergo Kurdi, a 19-year-old who has been a golf alternate all season.
So, if you’ve taken the PGA Tour side in this Civil War, grab the moment! It won’t be quiet for long. But when LIV Golf returns to the headlines, it will be fascinating to see how much noise it can actually make. The past year has seen a slow burn of statements, events, pre-championship press conferences, world ranking requests and messages starting with “Sure, you joked”. Even when LIV was stagnant, I could feel it developing.
Part of the reason for the league’s silence is one of its core characteristics: the off-season. Phil Mickelson had been out of action for three months by the time he inevitably got to compete in the Saudi International. If he skips this event, he’s three months and three weeks away. LIV-ers have highlighted this as one of their favorite aspects of the Tour, and have promised the golf world that they want to play less. Joaquín Neman spent much of his break back home in Chile, where he did his best recruiting compatriot Mito Pereira.
The other interesting reason for the silence of LIV is turbulence in the c-wing. Atul Khosla, who is widely regarded as one of the key minds behind the LIV business, Resigned from his position as Chief Operating Officer In the month following LIV’s first season. Just weeks after he shared LIV’s business model with reporters. When The New York Times Reporting on Khosla’s exit, Greg Norman submitted a statement for publication, but no further public announcement has been made by LIV. Khosla’s bio was still on LIV’s driving page at the time, but has since been removed. His management has been replaced by a group of senior staff from Performance54, a golf marketing company that has worked with LIV since its inception. (Meanwhile, LIV’s attorneys have argued in court that Performance54 is Not LIV Golf Agent.) Moreover, this week Sports Business Journal I mentioned that Matt Goodmanhead of franchise at LIV, is no longer part of its management.
So LIV may have had a reason to stay out of the news lately. Perhaps the slow release of 2023 information just before the holidays didn’t make sense. At the LIV Team Competition in October, reporters were told to expect a final schedule to be released in November. When that didn’t happen, December was the next obvious opportunity. Instead, LIV only released half of its events, scattered in batches.
This exercise serves as a reminder of where the circuit was located last spring. In April and May, LIV announced its executive appointments, schedule, and accompanying musical acts. Every few days there was another piece of news, but the audience was waiting for a real field. Norman has been making promises throughout the month of May. And then, on the last day of the month, splash. Dustin Johnson joined. Nine days later, it was Bryson’s turn. What followed was four months of flopping rumors, bringing LIV to the fore. Which brings us to this week, where that didn’t happen.
The PGA Tour is in court right now, its season starting in Hawaii, and its relationship with the Golf Channel providing a reminder of what LIV is up against. the New(ish) golf promotions have dominated TV this week Show seven of the 17 best players in the world. There’s Scotty Scheffler, Colin Morikawa, and Max Homma. 14 wins between the group. There’s also Tony Finau and Adam Scott. And Justin Thomas, John Rahm, and Xander Schavelli did the speech, promising millions of viewers in an off-kilter way:
I played here.”
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