There’s little sign, at least personally, of how mind-numbingly polarizing the LIV Golf Invitational Series has become than the fact that I’m on a lazy summer vacation, lounging by a serene pool, and I still can’t help it. keeping a close eye on recent events. This led me to tweet about those developments, which in turn led me to write the column you’re reading right now.
Hey, at least the view is nice.
Maybe that says more about me than the current cyclonic state of the game, but let’s ignore my inherent character flaws in favor of digging into the latest upstart league puzzles.
The most common question I’ve heard about the LIV Golf Invitational Series in these dizzying past few months is not about anything inside the ropes, but rather about its long-term impact at the highest level of professional golf.
Think about it for a second: This is a course of golf for which all the talk has been about potentiality, not golf itself, and if you don’t believe it, try naming the 36-hole leader at Pumpkin Ridge. in the end. week or the final winning score or even what event is coming up next on the calendar.
It’s impossible to look five years into the future of LIV Golf when the news around it changes every five minutes. Instead, let’s focus on the here and now, as three players – Ian Poulter, Justin Harding and Adrian Otaegui – have been granted temporary stays.
This allows them to compete in this week’s Scottish Open, an event co-sanctioned by the PGA and DP World tours, having previously been dropped from the entry list while being joined by others before the schedules were released. departure Tuesday.
It should be a bit teasing that for a group of players who have largely explained how playing fewer tournaments was a massive selling point, some are taking legal action to add events to their schedule. Sure, as many have pointed out, it’s about the ability to play when and where they want, not simply wanting to play more golf, but these two points are not mutually exclusive.
The truth is, the “play fewer events” refrain is superficial, at best. While there are only eight tournaments on this year’s LIV schedule, they are compacted into a five-month period. The consensus is that the calendar will expand to 12 events next year and 14 in subsequent years. Add in potential qualification for all four majors, and these players are eventually required to compete in more tournaments than the 15-event minimum for PGA TOUR members.
“It’s ridiculous to hear some of these comments that some of these guys made, saying, well, ‘This allows me to play fewer tournaments, I’ve played 30-35 weeks a year,’” said Billy Horschel, one of the mainstays of the PGA TOUR. who also referred to some LIV players as hypocrites.
“No one has forced you to play so many events. The PGA TOUR says minimum 15 events. If you keep your card in those 15 events, then that’s fine. Do you want to play better or do you want to play more for a chance to win the FedExCup? So be it. So be it. No one has made you play that first playoff event to lose family obligations. Nobody has.”
With LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman aptly stating that this is the first free agency in professional golf history, there has been a lot of discussion about freedom lately. Again, though, this feels a bit contradictory to the move, as LIV players under contract are presumably required to compete in every LIV event, unlike other tours, of course, where independent contractor status gives them allows you to choose your appearances.
Therein lies another contradiction.
Many of LIV’s current players — not all, but many — have signed contracts with the new league, essentially relinquishing this position as an independent contractor. And yet now, ironically, they have begun to take legal action to regain the same status they previously possessed. This will undoubtedly be a long legal process with many twists and turns and these players fighting for a right that has always been granted to them.
Wanting your cake and eating it is also a universal human desire. Wanting your cake, eating it, and cleaning up the crumbs with mounds of cash left over from these massive LIV contracts isn’t inhumane.
We shouldn’t begrudge these players the opportunity to pursue the ability to compete anywhere and anytime they want, but we can at least take note of the paradox.
It’s all part of the appeal right now, perhaps not for the golf itself, but for the theme. Questions, debates and legal action will continue to permeate professional golf and consume those who follow it. Speculation of long-term impact keeps those fires burning, even on a lazy summer vacation by the pool.