LIV turns up the heat on the PGA Tour

Massive cash. Massive names. Nice locations.

And he has a big impact on the world {of professional} golf.

If yr one was intriguing, anticipate yr two to be larger and bolder.

On the similar time, the second version of LIV Golf comes with questions of its personal:

What has modified?

LIV Golf’s second yr is, in some ways, its first actual season, full with a full 14-event schedule, enhanced deal with group play and the inspiration laid final yr.

Contemplating all the things that occurred across the launch of LIV — the entire thing was nearly scuttled by Phil Mickelson’s controversial feedback in regards to the Saudis sponsoring the tour being simply as “creepy” as LIV was able to announce their gamers and occasions — enjoying eight occasions in 2022 was an achievement.

There was discuss of not enjoying final yr, letting issues cool down and persevering with all this yr, however the determination was made to maneuver on. It wasn’t straightforward and it wasn’t at all times fairly, however LIV made it this yr, which was the primary purpose.

When play begins in February in Mexico, anticipate curiosity to be on 12 four-player groups, every with their very own captain, their very own brand, their very own merchandise, and if the LIV mannequin works, their very own buyers.

In addition to the cash being thrown at gamers, LIV Golf has offered itself as transformative. That is why it begins with the gun, the 54-hole, no-cut format, and the need to make golf nightclub cool.

With the success of the Components One mannequin, LIV’s concept is to get followers into group play, not only for one week however by way of the 14-event schedule. Particular person competitors will proceed. However the purpose is to make multiplayer central to LIV’s story.

The group has performed within the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup however it’s unsure if that power will carry over into LIV Golf.

The opposite query is whether or not any group can get Dustin Johnson’s 4 aces out of his manner. Together with Patrick Reed, Tallor Gotch, and Pat Perez, Johnson’s group gained 5 instances final yr, together with the general championship.

What in regards to the broadcast deal?

These numbers are an important subsequent step for LIV Golf, and it’s nonetheless not clear what is going to occur. LIV insiders recommend the deal will likely be introduced earlier than the primary occasion in February.

Raised eyebrows late final yr when COO Atul Khosla resigned from his put up simply weeks after saying his major purpose was to safe a broadcasting deal for the organisation. No substitute has been introduced for Khosla.

There have been rumors of shopping for time on different networks and talks with numerous streaming providers, however it seems that promoting LIV Golf to a broadcast accomplice has been harder than regulators anticipated.

Since its inception, LIV’s leaders have mentioned they’ve been in discussions with a number of potential broadcast companions, however no deal has been disclosed. NBC, CBS, ESPN and Golf Channel can not take part as a result of contracts with the PGA Tour.

There have been rumors of shopping for time on different networks and talks with numerous streaming providers, however it seems that promoting LIV Golf to a broadcast accomplice has been harder than regulators anticipated.

LIV has been profitable previously yr through YouTube and its web site, however this isn’t a authentic long-term technique. To know how vital it’s to develop availability, anticipate LIV to discover a deal sooner moderately than later even when it is not all the things the organizers hope will probably be.

Will gamers nonetheless be a part of LIV?

Gamers leaving the PGA Tour has been the dominant story, however this yr will probably be totally different. The concept is to have the 48-player area scheduled for the season previous to the primary occasion.

There are extra participant bulletins coming, but it surely will not be a wave. LIV has seven places out there, a few of which is able to doubtless be stuffed by gamers who managed them eventually yr’s LIV occasions.

Rumors nonetheless swirl about others who could be – Patrick Cantlay-Xander Schavelli chatter was essentially the most urgent – however LIV is not searching avid gamers so laborious proper now. Signing gamers now depends upon how a lot industrial enchantment they will add to the gamers already there.

Picture by Chris Trotman, LIV Golf through Getty Photographs

Will Greg Norman proceed as CEO and Commissioner?

Norman managed to get consideration at LIV Golf final yr, not at all times in a great way, however the group wanted a high-profile and aggressive chief, and he did his job.

Is Norman polarized?


Is he the long-term chief?

He says he needs to be, no matter whether or not Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and others say he must step apart to make any attainable progress towards ending the continuing turf conflict.

Norman carries the bags of his previous fights with the PGA Tour, which is not serving to him, however he insists that is all in regards to the future, not the previous. He has efficiently disrupted the game, and now he takes on the problem of creating LIV Golf a hit.

LIV would in all probability rent somebody to tackle the CEO function and let Norman focus solely on the competitors. However Norman’s transfer away from LIV Golf does not appear to be a part of the plan for now.

Is there a decision on the horizon?

Till LIV Golf drops its lawsuit in opposition to the PGA Tour — and each side have gone backwards and forwards with lawsuits now — there is not any motive to consider any discussions will occur between the teams.

“They sued us” is a standard chorus amongst PGA Tour officers and gamers and it is true.

Though LIV’s federal antitrust swimsuit in opposition to the PGA Tour just isn’t as a result of be heard till January 2024, the LIV case in opposition to DP World Tour is on the agenda within the UK for subsequent month, and will have a profound impression on potential subsequent steps.

The case includes two gamers suspended from the DP World Tour for his or her involvement with LIV who’re searching for the correct to proceed enjoying on their earlier tour. It’s much like the case over the PGA Tour, though a number of former tour gamers have had their names faraway from the lawsuit.

How the key tournaments reply to the LIV predicament and whether or not World Golf Rating factors will finally be awarded for LIV occasions can even issue into the equation.

Do not anticipate a breakthrough anytime quickly.

Prime picture: Michelle Yves Sandberg, Icon Sportswire
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