NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
Sunday marks the final round of the third LIV Golf Tournament, in Bedminster, New Jersey, and a field of 12 international teams totaling 48 golfers are vying for a whopping $25 million prize – much to the chagrin of the PGA Tour, Tiger Woods, and most instinctual liberal sports media.
The controversial new tour has attracted dozens of big-name golfers, from Phil Mickelson to Sergio Garcia, Charles Howell III, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau, as well as golf announcer David Feherty. To hear the impassioned cries of the golf establishment, these men are sellouts, cashing in at the expense of human rights and all that is decent in the world.
Are you kidding me?
CHARLES BARKLEY COMPLETES LYRICS WITH LIV GOLF, STAYING WITH TURNER
The PGA Tour has long enjoyed such a monopoly on top-level American golf that there has never been any real challenge to its hegemony. As a result, golfers who aren’t nicknamed Tiger or Lefty go from event to event hoping to make the cut, annually earning about as much as a decent second stringer in the National Hockey League. And until recently, the PGA Tour, not the golfers, retained the rights to NFTs and other means by which players could be paid.
Fans lose when there’s a monopoly on golf because most televised events only have a sprinkling of big names, so you rarely have the best in the sport competing one-on-one. The competition is low, the courses are mostly boring, the winners are guys you’ve never heard of, and the overall PGA Tour product seems outdated.
Now comes LIV Golf with its parade of top golfers that appear in every LIV Golf event, with cash prizes worth competing for, teams organized primarily by nationality to increase rooting interest, a shotgun start so there’s tons of action all the time, uncut so everyone plays on the weekends, 54 holes (hence the roman numeral LIV) and no guys with the lead hanging around the clubhouse waiting to see if he won or not. (So boring.)
In short, LIV Golf is a disruptive force. It’s Uber to the PGA Tour’s fleet of aging taxis with sneaky drivers and broken springs.
Based on the media outrage, you’d think LIV Golf punched the PGA Tour in the face and said her baby was ugly. But here’s the real reason why everyone claims to be so upset with LIV Golf – the money is coming (shhh! Not so hard!) from the Saudis.
OK, let’s all take a deep breath here. According to a recent ESPN report, the NBA and its owners do more than $10 billion in business with China, which itself isn’t a bastion of civil rights, but no one is booing about it. When Houston Rockets leader Daryl Morey tweeted about Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong protests, China cut NBA preseason games from TV and canceled NBA Cares events in Shanghai . Recognized experts on LeBron James’s civil liberties all did the same thing – they fell silent. So it’s not like the sports world really cares about human rights.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE AVIS NEWSLETTER
The PGA Tour is hardly the right organization to complain about indecency. Within living memory, the Blacks could not participate in PGA Tour events, and could not belong to or compete in Augusta National, the revered home of the Masters. The 1990 PGA Championship was scheduled for Shoal Creek, a private golf course in Alabama that had always strongly and publicly resisted black members. And more than a handful of PGA Tour sponsors do business with…wait…Saudi Arabia, which has been a force in golf for five years. So, it’s good to see the PGA Tour finally developing an interest in human rights.
The sports media, deep in the pocket of the PGA Tour, is making no secret of its contempt for golfers who have made the leap to LIV Golf. At the press conference preceding Wednesday’s pro-am (featuring former President Donald Trump, owner of the course), the questions were mostly sarcastic: what do you think about leaving your Ryder Cup team to a team called The Crushers? Well, you could ask a question about golf, since they’re golfers, but that would be too boring.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The liberal media calls this new golf entity “sportswashing”, I call their protests brainwashing. That’s because, from a fan perspective, LIV Golf is a much better experience. Gone is the feeling of heavy smugness that marks PGA Tour events. LIV Golf is so new that there is a sense of freshness, fun and inventing things as you go. The overwhelming majority of LIV golfers are golf’s creme de la creme – no frail Q-school survivors here – and when you hang around them, like I did on pro-am day, they exuded a sense of freedom.
Yes, they are well paid, but all top athletes are too. And you can sense that the team concept, despite the sarcastic questions from the media, is something they appreciate. One of the players noted approvingly that it was like being on a varsity golf team again. If the golfers are having fun, the product will be so much better, for them and for the fans. It’s a new day in professional golf, perhaps the first such day since Old Tom Morris first played at St. Andrews over 150 years ago.
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MICHAEL LEVIN