Each week check out the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors as they break down the hottest topics in sport, and join the conversation by tweeting us Tweet embed. This week we discuss LIV Golf Team Championship format, TV deals, lawsuits, Bryson DeChambeau, and more.
1. LIV golf at last Reveal the team championship format, with a combination of hit play, match play and swing play, for a $50 million stake. What are your thoughts on the format, and would it be enough to help draw attention to the startup consortium?
Josh Sens, senior writer (Tweet embed): The matching game and, especially, the alt-shot are great breaks of the same age, and LIV is clever in its adoption. But at the end of the day, the league faces the same challenge as all professional golfers – there are relatively small numbers of players who really move the needle. If these players are not in the mix and the event itself has no real weight of its own, competitors may play blindfolded while doing a handstand and the audience will respond mostly with collective disregard. This is my way of saying that Pat Perez and Charles Howell play a much more interesting alternate shot than Pat Perez and Charles Howell play in the stroke play. But it is still not interesting. As for the big wallets, I think so; ldakfsj… sorry. He shook his head at the keyboard.
James Colgan, Assistant Editor (Lord save her): Lol, Senator, I think it was a clever and brilliant move by LIV to embrace some of the untapped traditions of golf in team play. However, I don’t think these traditions of multiplayer would make me (or anyone, really) interested in a competition where the only thing at stake is a boatload of money. It appears that the event’s far-reaching political fallout will only further erode the widespread interest.
Sean Zack, Senior Editor (Tweet embed): I think the competition will be full of fun. That’s at least until Charles Schwarzl and Branden Grace face Cameron Triangle and Bernd Weisberger in the deciding match. This doesn’t do much of anything for me. Can we get 4 Aces DJ against Cam Smith and Mark Leishman? Probably! I will adjust it.
2. According to a report from Golf Week, LIV Golf is close to an unorthodox deal to pay Fox Sports to broadcast its tournaments on FS1. However, LIV Golf refuted the report, saying it was “incomplete and inaccurate” and added that LIV was already well ahead of schedule in its quest to secure broadcasting rights. Given everything, what are the chances that golf fans will see LIV Golf outside YouTube for the 2023 schedule?
Sense: My goldfish could get a 2023 TV deal if it had enough money to get rid of it. I’d be willing to bet big on LIV getting one. The question is what kind of deal. It would be interesting to learn more about calculus in the back room – if you get a deal, but it’s the kind of hard deal that gives off a whiff of desperation, is it worse than getting no deal at all?
Colgan: 100 percent chance. But if LIV can’t find someone willing to pay for its TV rights in *this* market, it should be a massive warning sign about its long-term prospects. Networks/Banners have spent about $50 billion (with B!) on sports rights in the past five years. If LIV couldn’t get hold of anything, how could he seriously expect to breathe in five years?
Zack: James has covered this beat well for GOLF.com. I can’t add any experience beyond his!
3. Perhaps the biggest lawsuit in the history of the PGA Tour will be filed Without the intervention of Phil Mickelson. Mickelson and three others asked to be dismissed as plaintiffs in a LIV Golf lawsuit against the PGA Tour. What does he say or mean that Mickelson is no longer a part of it?
Sense: Like my former law school colleague, Saul Goodman of the University of American Samoa, I am not a specialist in this field of jurisprudence. But the trusted lawyers I spoke to tell me that this would protect Mickelson from a great deal of discovery. It can still be taken off, but the scrutiny won’t be as severe – if there were skeletons in that closet, they would be less likely to be exposed. But I also consider this a measure of Mickelson’s confidence in the same issue. How can a man who received several million salaries to join the LIV argue that he has suffered “irreparable damage” – the legal standard that plaintiffs will have to meet? It is a difficult issue. Not great PR for him to be a part of this either.
Colgan: I think the crumbling lawsuit–along with Phil’s letter Why We Can’t Be Friends–show that LIV’s attorneys have serious doubts about their case against the PGA Tour. If these suspensions continue, it makes the LIV case even more difficult.
Zack: I found the sequence particularly interesting. The week that the two parties come up with the details of the discovery, Mickelson (who undoubtedly has the most to lose) is on bail. Was he just an honorary claimant for the name’s sake? I think so. What remains is strange. Bryson’s team refused to answer my question about whether he intended to stay. I could see that she had strictly become LIV Golf as the remaining claimant, kind of how this whole thing had been going about this entire time.
4. Bryson DeShampoo He finished second in the long-running PDA World Championship, finishing second only to Martin Bohrmayer. Did DeChambeau get enough credit for the success he has had dipping his toes in long-range competitions while not playing on regular rounds?
Sense: DeChambeau has been an absolute nail in the long drive. It was amazing and fun to watch. But a quick Google search also shows that he has drawn a lot of attention for what he did. Like most famous athletes/artists, he has not been completely ignored. What is worth more than that? Ribbon bar parade? What hasn’t gotten a great deal of attention is whether/how long driving affected his body and/or the rest of his game.
Colgan: I was in a mesquite at Bryson’s long-distance attempt last year and came away surprised by the sport’s long-term prospects, especially if Bryson continues on his path. Now, a year later, I’ve been amazed by the number of fans who attended the event compared to last year, and how little of an impact the event has had in public. I think a lot of that has to do with Bryson’s past 12 months and how little we’ve heard from him during those months.
Zack: Bryson can’t win in popular golf circuits. On YouTube-landia it was appreciated, but that’s basically it. On Twitter, no love. On Instagram, there is no love. It’s not a direct answer to the question, but it kind of: Bryson should get more love than he does on long drives, but he never will. He dug a very deep hole in his other crowd-facing yards.
5 – Landmand, New Course in Nebraska, Offers a friendly suggestion On how to arrange the holes in handicap matches based on wind conditions. What other player friendly innovation would you like to incorporate into your training sessions?
Sense: I’ve always wished that the stammering public course somewhere with nothing to lose would recast itself as the ‘Rhythm of Play’ track. Charging a maximum of 4 hours per round. Maybe a little faster. Offer incentives (discounts on tee times / free drinks on the turn) to players who finish on time. If you can’t play on time, play somewhere else. It may alienate a small number of golfers. But a great many golfers will see this as a very player-friendly innovation.
Colgan: In a similar vein to Sens, I’m going to steal one from my Uncle Norm, who wants golf courses to use GPS to charge greens like an Amazon Go store. Those who play faster than the suggested time earn a cheaper price, while those who play slower pay a steeper price.
Zack: Get rid of 90 percent of golf carts. This is a professional golfer, I swear! The game was supposed to go in full swing. If you want to bring your own beer, get a wheeled cooler. American golfers will benefit from the exercise.