LIV turns up the heat on the PGA Tour

Large cash. Large names. Nice locations.

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

If 12 months one was intriguing, anticipate 12 months two to be greater 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 12 months is, in some ways, its first actual season, full with a full 14-event schedule, enhanced deal with workforce play and the muse laid final 12 months.

Contemplating all the pieces 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 — taking part in eight occasions in 2022 was an achievement.

There was discuss of not taking part in final 12 months, letting issues cool down and persevering with all this 12 months, however the choice was made to maneuver on. It wasn’t straightforward and it wasn’t at all times fairly, however LIV made it this 12 months, which was the principle 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 emblem, their very own merchandise, and if the LIV mannequin works, their very own traders.

Moreover the cash being thrown at gamers, LIV Golf has bought 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 Formulation One mannequin, LIV’s thought is to get followers into workforce play, not only for one week however by the 14-event schedule. Particular person competitors will proceed. However the purpose is to make multiplayer central to LIV’s story.

The workforce 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 workforce can get Dustin Johnson’s 4 aces out of his method. Together with Patrick Reed, Tallor Gotch, and Pat Perez, Johnson’s workforce received 5 instances final 12 months, together with the general championship.

What in regards to the broadcast deal?

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

Raised eyebrows late final 12 months when COO Atul Khosla resigned from his put up simply weeks after saying his principal 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 consequence 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 up to now 12 months through YouTube and its web site, however this isn’t a respectable long-term technique. To grasp how essential it’s to develop availability, anticipate LIV to discover a deal sooner relatively than later even when it is not all the pieces 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 12 months it will likely be totally different. The concept is to have the 48-player subject 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 obtainable, a few of which can possible be crammed by gamers who managed them finally 12 months’s LIV occasions.

Rumors nonetheless swirl about others who is likely to be – Patrick Cantlay-Xander Schavelli chatter was probably the most urgent – however LIV is not searching players so exhausting proper now. Signing gamers now is dependent upon how a lot business attraction they will add to the gamers already there.

Picture by Chris Trotman, LIV Golf through Getty Pictures

Will Greg Norman proceed as CEO and Commissioner?

Norman managed to get consideration at LIV Golf final 12 months, 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 doable progress towards ending the continued turf warfare.

Norman carries the luggage 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 most likely 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 either side have gone backwards and forwards with lawsuits now — there isn’t 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 go well with in opposition to the PGA Tour isn’t as a consequence 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 affect 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 proper to proceed taking part in 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 foremost 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 photograph: Michelle Yves Sandberg, Icon Sportswire
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