Come this Sunday, will the PGA Tour officially leave LIV Golf in the dust? Or, will LIV prove to be quality enough entertainment that boomers in mass will figure out how to find the CW on their 75” TVs, while the “next generation of golfers” who will already be binging Gossip Girl on CW stay locked-in when the likes of Poults, Brooksie, and DJ Gump take over their screens.
Despite a collection of major champions competing at LIV Golf Mayakoba, the 54-hole event/exhibition needs a miracle to dethrone the CW’s top shows – The Flash, Supernatural and Gossip Girl. The network’s younger, engaged audience (a key selling point to advertisers when the broadcast deal was announced) may simply flip the channel once the team series kicks off its second season.
Even Brooks Koepka, who received a massive deal from the Saudi-funded league, is reportedly having second thoughts on jumping ship. If you watched the Netflix documentary, Full Swing, the look of regret in his eyes was all too obvious. (Jena however looked more than content – living the DM dream.)
The draw of less obligations for more money has quickly dwindled with responsibilities piling up for the golfers who were looking for a walk in the park, leaving behind the fierce competition of the PGA Tour. With 14 mandatory LIV events and all four majors for some (e.g. Mullet + Stache, Brooks, Bryson, and DJ), along with obligatory LIV PR event days, and any sponsor outings still in play for those who’ve held on to them, the new level of commitment for LIV’rs starts to feel a whole heck-of-a-lot like their old level of commitment while on the PGA circuit.
To add insult to injury, the PGA Tour is coming off an incredible week at the Genesis Invitational which saw Tiger Woods make the cut and put together a delicious 4-under 67 on Saturday. The field was stacked. And many of the best players and biggest names in golf were right at the top of the leaderboard throughout the weekend. Oh, and a guy hotter than any Mayakoba players’ buffet salsa hoisted the Big-A trophy Sunday afternoon. Jon Rahm. Superstar. One of many young guns who passed on the LIV easy-cash opportunity.
Not overly surprising, LIV failed to make a splash of any noteworthy new players ahead of its first event of 2023. Even though Thomas Pieters currently sits at No. 34 in the Official World Golf Rankings, he’s hardly a household name to frequent CW viewers, or even with die-hard fans of golf for that matter. The tall Belgian doesn’t move the needle with either demo.
Only time will tell if LIV has legs. Maybe it does. And maybe that’s a good thing (doubtful, but we’ll see).
We’re just not sure their current roster of players can carry the load, even for just 54-holes. After this season we’ll have a better sense of LIV’s long-term viability. And, fingers crossed, we’re hoping Full Swing II will recap for us how it all plays out.
LIV Golf Teams and Rosters
Torque GC: Captain Joaquin Niemann, Mito Pereira, Sebastian Munoz, David Puig
Majesticks GC: Captains Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood, Sam Horsfield
Smash GC: Captain Brooks Koepka, Chase Koepka, Matt Wolff, Jason Kokrak
4 Aces GC: Captain Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Pat Perez, Peter Uihlein
Fire Balls GC: Captain Sergio Garcia, Abe Ancer, Carlos Ortiz, Eugenio Chacarra
HY Flyers GC: Captain Phil Mickelson, James Piot, Brendan Steele, Cam Tringale
Iron Heads GC: Captain Kevin Na, Scott Vincent, Danny Lee, Sihwan Kim
RangeGoats GC: Captain Bubba Watson, Talor Gooch, Thomas Pieters, Harold Varner III
Ripper GC: Captain Cam Smith, Marc Leishman, Matt Jones, Jed Morgan
Cleeks GC: Captain Martin Kaymer, Bernd Wiesberger, Richard Bland, Graeme McDowell
Crushers GC: Captain Bryson DeChambeau, Paul Casey, Anirban Lahiri, Charles Howell III
Stinger GC: Captain Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, Dean Burmester, Charl Schwartzel