2022 PGA Tour

Senator Donut

post-Domer
SoSH Member
Apr 21, 2010
4,784
02148
Or on Holey Moly
More people watched Holey Moley on ABC than the US Open on NBC when they aired at the same time last year.

So, LIV has made a big deal of the shotgun start. That would seem to imply that the max field for a LIV event is 72. If there's a sudden rush of players going that pushes them past that number, what happens?
I think 54 is the more realistic limit as a packed course of foursomes would makes the rounds too long and defeat some of the purpose for the shotgun start, which was to condense a full day's worth of golf into a short television-friendly window. That being said, the Asian Tour players are clearly fodder until they can recruit a full permanent roster of about 36-48 players. My best guess is the team format will be persistent instead of the weekly draft, once they sign enough top golfers.

LIV Golf likely believes that having a tour of 150 members is the biggest liability for the established PGA Tour because the money is spread too thin. Only the biggest names drive interest in their tournaments, so it doesn't make sense to split the money among a sprawling membership. The Player Impact Program is a method the PGA Tour uses to distribute more money to their stars, but has been a huge failure as four of the ten PIP recipients have already bolted.
 

cshea

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
31,457
306, row 14
With Bryson now locked up, LIV is working on an inside straight draw - all they need now is Bubba Watson to complete their list of golfing villains. It's almost too perfect, really.
Bubba's going. Already been featured in a LIV promo video.

Reed, Bubba, Pat Perez, Matt Wolff and Rickie Fowler are among the next wave of guys that have been mentioned but not made official.

Rickie would really grind my gears if I was a Tour official. They've promoted the shit out of him, made him millions more than his golf game is probably worth.
 
Rickie would really grind my gears if I was a Tour official. They've promoted the shit out of him, made him millions more than his golf game is probably worth.
Eh, how marketable is Rickie these days? The bloom is definitely off his rose in golfing terms, and him leaving for LIV definitely continues the "Has-Beens Tour" theme. I'd be far more worried about the departures of players who are either playing their best golf now and/or whose best golf is likely to be in the future. And there are basically no names who have departed for whom what is likely to be true, unless you think that DJ or Bryson might be capable of reaching their best form again (which I think is pretty doubtful in both cases), or if any of the young amateurs or possibly Talor Gooch have what it takes to become borderline stars.

(And yeah, I knew Bubba was on his way to LIV, not that you'd know I knew from the way I wrote my previous post.)
 

Comfortably Lomb

Koko the Monkey
SoSH Member
Feb 22, 2004
11,930
The Paris of the 80s
LIV Golf likely believes that having a tour of 150 members is the biggest liability for the established PGA Tour because the money is spread too thin. Only the biggest names drive interest in their tournaments, so it doesn't make sense to split the money among a sprawling membership. The Player Impact Program is a method the PGA Tour uses to distribute more money to their stars, but has been a huge failure as four of the ten PIP recipients have already bolted.
I think this is exactly right. As well as whoever earlier in the thread said one of the PGA Tour's problems is a chunk of the (lesser) players aren't going to want to vote against their own interests going forward.

Assuming the oil money won't stop anytime soon there's a chance to really make the Tour bleed before a critical mass of players realize they need to shift to a model where the best players get far more money.

The Tour has mostly done a good job promoting depth and strength of field (e.g., the Players Championship) but personally I think the Masters model is better: harder to get in, easier to win.
 

cshea

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
31,457
306, row 14
I don't think the Tour will ever be able to compete financially with LIV. I think the Tour's best hope is somehow banning these guys from majors.
 

Senator Donut

post-Domer
SoSH Member
Apr 21, 2010
4,784
02148
I think this is exactly right. As well as whoever earlier in the thread said one of the PGA Tour's problems is a chunk of the (lesser) players aren't going to want to vote against their own interests going forward.

Assuming the oil money won't stop anytime soon there's a chance to really make the Tour bleed before a critical mass of players realize they need to shift to a model where the best players get far more money.

The Tour has mostly done a good job promoting depth and strength of field (e.g., the Players Championship) but personally I think the Masters model is better: harder to get in, easier to win.
The Masters is the perfect model for any aspiring golf tour. The field is so small that they don't need to start players on the tenth hole, even with limited April daylight. The upside is that the top of the leaderboard is almost all big names because there are very few nobodies in the field to begin with. The lifetime exemption for champions ensures that the famous but washed up even get to make an appearance.

Large fields work well for national opens or majors, but there's no need to have 14 hours of golf on Thursday and Friday at a regular event. The PGA tried to do this with WGCs, but those no-cut events made the field too small (except the match play, which is still a pretty cool event). As a consequence, the Tour has completely neutered its television product before the weekend. If you want to three of your favorite golfers, you would have to tune it for five hours or so in the morning and again the the evening, provided they are even covered as a featured group, whereas for a LIV golf event, you know everyone is going to be on the course for the entirety of its television window.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
21,902
The 718
As a casual golf fan, and a committed footy fan who has long accepted that KSA, USE, Russia etc have tried to buy legitimacy by sportswashing,

is it still ok for me to be completely disgusted by LIV?
 
I don't think the Tour will ever be able to compete financially with LIV. I think the Tour's best hope is somehow banning these guys from majors.
You're definitely right on both of these points in the short term, but over the long term, I think a) simply sticking its head in the sand isn't going to work for the Tour forever, even if the majors are for now on their side, and b) a PGA Tour partnership with a more benevolent force like the Premier Golf League - an organization that wants to work with the Tour, rather than against it - could conceivably up the prize money for stars to at least vaguely competitive levels, *if* the Tour is willing to fundamentally change its business model.

You might be interested to read up about World Series Cricket, because there are some very interesting parallels between the changes cricket experienced in the late 1970s to what could be happening with golf right now. Kerry Packer, the Australian media tycoon who provided the funding for this rebel enterprise, enticed a bunch of the sport's most established stars to sign contracts for a new league which basically invented the limited overs (one day) format of cricket, in contrast to the staid four-day or five-day format (“Test Matches” when played between countries, or “first class cricket” more generally), and totally revolutionized the game. I'm not sure the LIV team golf idea is that revolution we're waiting for; while I'm all in favor of team golf and particularly match play golf - or at least medal-match play golf - in principle, I don't think that has to be an integral part of any new model. Rather, I think @Senator Donut is onto something with his points about the Masters. Maybe the way forward is to create maybe a dozen marquee events on Tour which look like the Masters - fields of +/- 80 players with a fairly generous cut, qualification criteria based on a combination of current rankings/recent performance and star power/past performance, everyone off of #1 tee, more compressed viewing windows - and gear the Tour around them. The idea would be to get all of the best players from around the world to play in all of these events - making them basically the equivalent of the ATP/WTA 1000 events in tennis - and perhaps also to partner with the European Tour* during these weeks to create "opposite field" events open to the best of the rest from both tours.

Another decent parallel might be the foundation of the English Premier League in 1992, followed latterly by the establishment of what is now called The Championship beneath it. Before 1992, the English Football League encompassed the top four divisions of soccer in England, and the income earned by First Division teams wasn't *that* much greater than the clubs below them. But then the Premier League split off and formed its own governing body, independent of the EFL, and for better or worse its revenues have skyrocketed since then. (And latterly, the division below the Premier League, now the "Championship", did something similar to gain a bigger share of the revenue that was left, which is why "League One" and "League Two" in England are now actually the third and fourth tiers.) The PGA Tour's biggest problem is that you have the equivalent of three or four divisions all on the same revenue earning plan; what you really need is one marquee "league" which is smaller and has a higher concentration of top talent, and a way to promote and relegate players to and from that league. And the more I think about it, the PGA Tour and the European Tour* are going to have to join forces here and create a worldwide structure - or for the McIlroys and Spieths and Thomases to do it themselves, creating a modern-day equivalent of the Premier League under new ownership/leadership - and stop living separate lives. Going back to tennis, I'm struck by how second-tier American golfers can make a great living without ever leaving the USA, in a way that American tennis players simply can't. Maybe the way forward is to tell these guys unable to break into the 80-player fields that they won't necessarily be losing their current levels of income; they'll just have to travel to Europe and elsewhere more often to try and earn it? Both normal and opposite field events in Europe would benefit from a stronger American presence, and ultimately you'd have something that does look like tennis more generally: majors with big fields that everyone wants to win; ATP 1000-level events that every star around the world will always play in; 500-level and 250-level events around the world (akin to the current PGA Tour and European Tour* structures) that stars will sometimes enter but where the rank and file grind out their tour cards; and then a global Challenger Tour structure beneath the main Tour (i.e., a globalized Korn Ferry Tour). I know I've mentioned cricket and soccer, but maybe the best parallel really is tennis and the men's player mutiny in 1988 which led to the dramatic restructuring of what became the ATP Tour in 1990.

* I know it's now called the DP World Tour. But really.

I mean, all of that is just me spitballing ideas on what a realistic endgame to all of this might look like. Thoughts?
 

Bob Montgomerys Helmet Hat

has big, douchey shoulders
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
The Masters is the hardest to gain entry, easiest to win.

I think ANGC is an interesting lynchpin in this LIV stuff. They have a lot of power. The tournament is an invitational so ANGC can really do whatever they want. Would ANGC banning otherwise qualified LIV players be enough for guys on the fence to side with the PGA Tour? On the flip side, removing DJ, Bryson and any other top players diminishes the prestige of the tournament. I'm not sure what ANGC will do, but it's definitely something to keep an eye on.
I was just talking to a college buddy of mine who plays Augusta fairly often(Big law, very high up). He thinks it more likely that ANGC will tell these guys not to show up than to just ignore what's going on. His quote, on behalf of ANGC was "this is why you're not allowed to take your green jacket off premises."
FWIW
 

jercra

No longer respects DeChambeau
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
2,931
Arvada, Co
You're definitely right on both of these points in the short term, but over the long term, I think a) simply sticking its head in the sand isn't going to work for the Tour forever, even if the majors are for now on their side, and b) a PGA Tour partnership with a more benevolent force like the Premier Golf League - an organization that wants to work with the Tour, rather than against it - could conceivably up the prize money for stars to at least vaguely competitive levels, *if* the Tour is willing to fundamentally change its business model.

You might be interested to read up about World Series Cricket, because there are some very interesting parallels between the changes cricket experienced in the late 1970s to what could be happening with golf right now. Kerry Packer, the Australian media tycoon who provided the funding for this rebel enterprise, enticed a bunch of the sport's most established stars to sign contracts for a new league which basically invented the limited overs (one day) format of cricket, in contrast to the staid four-day or five-day format (“Test Matches” when played between countries, or “first class cricket” more generally), and totally revolutionized the game. I'm not sure the LIV team golf idea is that revolution we're waiting for; while I'm all in favor of team golf and particularly match play golf - or at least medal-match play golf - in principle, I don't think that has to be an integral part of any new model. Rather, I think @Senator Donut is onto something with his points about the Masters. Maybe the way forward is to create maybe a dozen marquee events on Tour which look like the Masters - fields of +/- 80 players with a fairly generous cut, qualification criteria based on a combination of current rankings/recent performance and star power/past performance, everyone off of #1 tee, more compressed viewing windows - and gear the Tour around them. The idea would be to get all of the best players from around the world to play in all of these events - making them basically the equivalent of the ATP/WTA 1000 events in tennis - and perhaps also to partner with the European Tour* during these weeks to create "opposite field" events open to the best of the rest from both tours.

Another decent parallel might be the foundation of the English Premier League in 1992, followed latterly by the establishment of what is now called The Championship beneath it. Before 1992, the English Football League encompassed the top four divisions of soccer in England, and the income earned by First Division teams wasn't *that* much greater than the clubs below them. But then the Premier League split off and formed its own governing body, independent of the EFL, and for better or worse its revenues have skyrocketed since then. (And latterly, the division below the Premier League, now the "Championship", did something similar to gain a bigger share of the revenue that was left, which is why "League One" and "League Two" in England are now actually the third and fourth tiers.) The PGA Tour's biggest problem is that you have the equivalent of three or four divisions all on the same revenue earning plan; what you really need is one marquee "league" which is smaller and has a higher concentration of top talent, and a way to promote and relegate players to and from that league. And the more I think about it, the PGA Tour and the European Tour* are going to have to join forces here and create a worldwide structure - or for the McIlroys and Spieths and Thomases to do it themselves, creating a modern-day equivalent of the Premier League under new ownership/leadership - and stop living separate lives. Going back to tennis, I'm struck by how second-tier American golfers can make a great living without ever leaving the USA, in a way that American tennis players simply can't. Maybe the way forward is to tell these guys unable to break into the 80-player fields that they won't necessarily be losing their current levels of income; they'll just have to travel to Europe and elsewhere more often to try and earn it? Both normal and opposite field events in Europe would benefit from a stronger American presence, and ultimately you'd have something that does look like tennis more generally: majors with big fields that everyone wants to win; ATP 1000-level events that every star around the world will always play in; 500-level and 250-level events around the world (akin to the current PGA Tour and European Tour* structures) that stars will sometimes enter but where the rank and file grind out their tour cards; and then a global Challenger Tour structure beneath the main Tour (i.e., a globalized Korn Ferry Tour). I know I've mentioned cricket and soccer, but maybe the best parallel really is tennis and the men's player mutiny in 1988 which led to the dramatic restructuring of what became the ATP Tour in 1990.

* I know it's now called the DP World Tour. But really.

I mean, all of that is just me spitballing ideas on what a realistic endgame to all of this might look like. Thoughts?
I have lots of thoughts on all of this that I can't really get into here, but there are a whole lot of reasons the things suggested don't happen. Firstly, and it can't be said enough, the TOUR is not really like any other sports league. The players, all of them together, are the league. There are no owners. There are no billionaires who can just decide to spend a bunch of money now for future growth like an NBA, MLB, NFL, etc. Think of it this way, what would any of the players unions do if there were no owners and everyone got an equal vote? You want the PGL? That requires the PGA TOUR no longer be a non-profit and that will cost a LOT of money up front. That money will come directly at the expense of player prizes and the lowest guys would have to agree to that (hint, they never will). It would also require renegotiating all of the tournament deals. Not just the title sponsors, but the people who actually put the tournaments on. Only a very few are actually run by the TOUR. It would also require renegotiating all of the TV deals. 4 hours of golf is great if it's always on CBS/NBC in prime slots, but there's a lot of time to fill on Golf Channel, ESPN+ and internationally that would just evaporate. That's a LOT of money to throw away in the hopes that people care about some teams. 4 hours of TV also means that you have to really be able to cover a LOT more things going on the course at once. I can promise very, very few people have any idea of just how insanely difficult it is to be able to capture not just the TV footage but all of the data needed for that footage and to actually score the events at all on the course. So, you're now asking to spend a lot more money to show a lot less golf with a lot fewer entities involved in the bidding to cover those events. And all for what? So there can actually be owners of teams that the players are beholden to?

Additionally, the TOUR is really serious and really proud of the amount of money they raise for charities, almost all of it locally. There isn't a TOUR event in Detroit every year because it's the place they could make the most money. Same with Hartford. They have really good partners who do a ton of good for those cities.

Finally, none of what LIV is doing is a reflection on the state of golf or the PGA TOUR. Are any of the players who have gone to LIV done so because they really, really want shotgun starts and 4 person teams? Doesn't the fact that they had to pay Patrick Fucking Reed $100M tell you everything you need to know? I am 100% confident that if the Saudis decide to start a basketball league with silly rules that there will be many, many fringe players and general assholes who take their money and leave the NBA. Even more so the NFL. Imagine if the USFL was funded by the Saudis and Gronk could make $80M before playing a game? He and a lot of others would be right behind him.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
21,902
The 718
I was just talking to a college buddy of mine who plays Augusta fairly often(Big law, very high up). He thinks it more likely that ANGC will tell these guys not to show up than to just ignore what's going on. His quote, on behalf of ANGC was "this is why you're not allowed to take your green jacket off premises."
FWIW
The corrosive aspect of good ole boy institutions like Augusta is that they look down their nose at anyone who poses a threat to (old white monied) society, and use their clout to squash them.

The commendable aspect of good ole boy institutions like Augusta is that they look down their nose at anyone who poses a threat to (old white monied) society, and use their clout to squash them.

in other words, thurston howell iii, we need you on that wall.
 
I have lots of thoughts on all of this that I can't really get into here, but there are a whole lot of reasons the things suggested don't happen.
I totally understand where your (very good) post is coming from, and why the PGA Tour operates as it does. And I don't underestimate the logistical difficulties you've mentioned - although I do find it interesting that LIV was able to pull together all of the logistics for the London event as impressively as it seems to have in such a short space of time, both in terms of television and all of the grandstands and other onsite stuff. More on that in a moment, but let me first pick apart this point:
Finally, none of what LIV is doing is a reflection on the state of golf or the PGA TOUR. Are any of the players who have gone to LIV done so because they really, really want shotgun starts and 4 person teams?
It's not about shotgun starts and four-person teams...but certainly Phil's initial comments (that got him exiled months ago) suggested that he *is* unhappy with the state of the PGA Tour and was viewing LIV ultimately as a negotiating tool toward changing the status quo. I think the tennis-style tour I've outlined is probably at least within hailing distance of the sort of end solution he had in mind, something that concentrates more money in the pockets of the star players while at the same time allowing them to play fewer events across the course of the season. (Do you know how many official events a guy like Novak Djokovic plays over the course of a 12-month season? In 2019, the last fully pre-COVID season, Djokovic played in the 4 slams, 8 ATP 100 events, the ATP Finals and the Davis Cup Finals...and only two other events, the ATP 250 in Doha to warm up for the Australian Open, and the ATP 500 in Tokyo, the week before the Shanghai Masters. That's it, not counting a number of lucrative exhibitions.) And I do think that if the PGA Tour remains complacent in the face of the existential threat posed by LIV, the players who have remained loyal might not stay loyal forever. That doesn't necessarily mean defecting to LIV. But it might mean a sort of ATP/Premier League-style rebellion against the status quo - either under the PGA Tour's leadership if it is willing to concede to the rebels' demands, or as a new and separate entity if it isn't. The rank-and-file PGA Tour player isn't going to vote himself out of existence. But hypothetically, what if instead of one man = one vote, each Tour pro got to cast one vote for every FedEx Cup point or every dollar in prize money he earned in the previous season? What would the players vote to make the Tour look like then? And if the Rorys and Spieths and Thomases and Rahms decide that the PGA Tour does need to change course, LIV's existence does give them enormous negotiating leverage. If they wanted to reshape the PGA Tour, and the Tour won't play ball, how difficult would it be for them to line up adequate financing - through the PGL or otherwise - and effectively render the existing PGA Tour inoperable? To my previous point, as LIV has shown, it is actually possible to get the logistics of a new tour sorted out.

It's easy to laugh at LIV because of the types of players it has attracted *so far*, and the amount of money it has taken to entice them. But something really important is happening in golf right now, and it hasn't happened in a vacuum.
 

johnmd20

mad dog
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 30, 2003
54,288
New York City
Charl has played for 20 years and he's earned 20 million.

In one weekend, he made 20% of that total in earnings. Remarkable stuff. He's also made 1 million LESS over the last four years than he won today.
 

cshea

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
31,457
306, row 14
One thing going well for the Tour this week is the leaderboard at the RBC Canadian Open

Finau
JT
Sam Burns
Fitzpatrick
Rory
Lowry
Scheffler

Hell of a top 5
 
One thing going well for the Tour this week is the leaderboard at the RBC Canadian Open

Finau
JT
Sam Burns
Fitzpatrick
Rory
Lowry
Scheffler

Hell of a top 5
Scheffler has faded, but yeah, I was just coming here to post this - this is great fun for a Saturday at a relatively non-descript Tour event. (This is certainly a much better golf course than some of the other Canadian Open venues **cough** Glen Abbey **cough**.)
 

Ale Xander

killed off Vin Scully
SoSH Member
Oct 31, 2013
50,426
How many people are they expecting for the US Open? Especially for the practice rounds? Hotel prices are insane for a M-Wed, especially those under 25 miles to the CC/lots
 

tmracht

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 19, 2009
2,779
This is amazing I keep waking up from naps to them hitting another unreal shot.
 

gtg807y

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 31, 2006
3,038
Atlanta, GA
So glad LIV ended yesterday to clear the field for a terrific day of golf. Start the day with the US romp in the Curtis Cup, end it with an awesome national open.

Watching the ANWA in years past and going to it this year has really sparked my interest in the women's amateur game, and this was the first time I'd watched the Curtis Cup and loved it. The 2030 one is at NGLA and my daughters will be 13 and 10 then - already putting that one on my calendar.