Sure is a lot of talk in the golf world, as money talks, and LOTS of money!
LIV Golf League
LIV 54 stands for the Roman numeral and is played of 54 holes instead of the 72 played in the PGA league. This condenses the time from perhaps ten hours to about four hours. Then it's played in a shotgun style where all players begin to play simultaneously but on different tees. There are also no cuts, but this could lessen a player's competitive sharpness on the course. And, of course, why try to sharpen their skill when they've already been paid? Did they sell their soul for thirty pieces of silver?
The LIV league is an upstart league financed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman(MBS) with billions to lure players to sign with the company. They might be able to buy players but will never purchase competitive golf.
LIV is accused of sports washing to avoid many human rights violations, including 9/11 World Trade Center bombing and the loss of 3000 lives, and the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
PGA Players Who Signed With LIV
Greg Norman, CEO of the new LIV league, has spearheaded enlisting PGA players to join and has been paid an estimated three billion dollars by Saudi Arabia!! Here's a list of alleged monies paid for the defectors from the PGA:
- 200 million Phil Milkeson
- 100 million Dustin Johnson
- 100 million Bryson DeChambeau
- 125 million Sergio Garcia
- 70 million Brooks Koepka
- 50 million Bubba Watson
- 40 million Patrick Reed
And that's just for signing, but they can also win millions at each game played. Norman says he has no explanation for the negative criticism of the LIV league. By joining LIV, the possibility of impacting their legacies is possible. Next, players must ask themselves, "can I keep playing in the majors, and if so, will I be sharp enough to contend?" And lastly, "do I even care?" Whatever happened to integrity, morals, or ethics? Appears to ONLY be about money and blood money at that.
Some players are electing to stay with the PGA. They are; Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, Patrick Cantalay, Scottie Schefler, and Justin Thomas, to name a few.
The phrase Sports Washing is the practice of laundering one's reputation through sports, either through ownership, hosting major sports events, or sponsorship. As an example, Saudi Arabia has bought the England Premier League, Newcastle in 2021, China has hosted the Winter Olympics in February 2022, and Qatar is hosting the World Cup in November 2022. It is unlikely LIV will run out of money they so freely spend.
Blowback For LIV Players
There's bound to be blowback from spectators and sponsors. Already, some sponsors have severed ties with the following:
- Phil Mickelson, Amsted, KPMG, Workday
- Bryson DeChambeau, Rocket Mortage
- Dustin Johnson, Royal Bank of Canada
- Graeme McDowell, Royal Bank of Canada
- Lee Westwood, UPS
Many more sponsors are debating their next steps regarding sponsorship.
Currently, no TV coverage can be streamed on YouTube or MEGA. And what TV is willing to contract with such a controversial league, and what companies would buy commercials?
Last week the league played at Trump International Golf Club, Bedminster, NJ. Crowds were sparse, tickets as low as one dollar, and the music blaring. Trump was hogging the limelight as the ringmaster of the three-ring circus.
One wonders how much Trump was paid for his club and his supposed loyalty to Saudi Arabia. This is what Trump loves; it feeds his ego to be the center of criticism. Is this what LIV wanted, a glorified MAGA rally?.
Will LIV Survive As A Golf League?
With so many variables, will LIV survive as a viable golf league? Will there be challenges among players and leagues? Will there be court challenges? Is it possible the two leagues will merge? Will spectators support LIV or stay with the PGA? Will PGA players boycott if LIV wins at challenge.
No one can predict what can happen but did the money from Saudi buy the souls, morals, and ethics of the players? Do the LIV players realize they are being used as political props?