LIV turns up the heat on the PGA Tour

Huge cash. Huge names. Nice locations.

And he has a huge effect on the world {of professional} golf.

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

On the identical 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 concentrate on staff play and the muse laid final yr.

Contemplating the whole lot that occurred across the launch of LIV — the entire thing was nearly scuttled by Phil Mickelson’s controversial feedback concerning 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 quiet down and persevering with all this yr, however the determination was made to maneuver on. It wasn’t simple and it wasn’t all the time fairly, however LIV made it this yr, which was the primary aim.

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 traders.

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 will to make golf nightclub cool.

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

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

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

What concerning the broadcast deal?

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

Raised eyebrows late final yr when COO Atul Khosla resigned from his publish simply weeks after saying his predominant aim was to safe a broadcasting deal for the organisation. No alternative 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 associate has been tougher 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 attributable to 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 associate has been tougher than regulators anticipated.

LIV has been profitable prior to now yr by way of YouTube and its web site, however this isn’t a professional long-term technique. To grasp how essential it’s to develop availability, anticipate LIV to discover a deal sooner slightly than later even when it is not the whole lot the organizers hope it will likely be.

Will gamers nonetheless be part of LIV?

Gamers leaving the PGA Tour has been the dominant story, however this yr it will likely be completely different. The thought 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 can doubtless be crammed by gamers who managed them ultimately 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 exhausting proper now. Signing gamers now will depend on how a lot business enchantment they will add to the gamers already there.

Picture by Chris Trotman, LIV Golf by way of Getty Pictures

Will Greg Norman proceed as CEO and Commissioner?

Norman managed to get consideration at LIV Golf final yr, not all the time 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 potential progress towards ending the continuing turf struggle.

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

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 would 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 isn’t any cause to imagine any discussions will occur between the teams.

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

Though LIV’s federal antitrust swimsuit in opposition to the PGA Tour shouldn’t be attributable to 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 entails 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.

High photograph: Michelle Yves Sandberg, Icon Sportswire
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