LIV turns up the heat on the PGA Tour

Massive cash. Massive 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 larger and bolder.

On the identical 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 give attention to staff play and the muse laid final 12 months.

Contemplating the whole lot that occurred across the launch of LIV — the entire thing was virtually 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 — enjoying eight occasions in 2022 was an achievement.

There was discuss of not enjoying final 12 months, letting issues calm down and persevering with all this 12 months, however the choice was made to maneuver on. It wasn’t simple and it wasn’t at all times fairly, however LIV made it this 12 months, which was the primary 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 brand, their very own merchandise, and if the LIV mannequin works, their very own buyers.

In addition to the cash being thrown at gamers, LIV Golf has offered 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 Components One mannequin, LIV’s concept is to get followers into staff play, not only for one week however via the 14-event schedule. Particular person competitors will proceed. However the purpose is to make multiplayer central to LIV’s story.

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

What in regards to the broadcast deal?

These numbers are a very powerful subsequent step for LIV Golf, and it’s nonetheless not clear what’s going to occur. LIV insiders counsel the deal will probably be introduced earlier than the primary occasion in February.

Raised eyebrows late final 12 months when COO Atul Khosla resigned from his submit simply weeks after saying his major 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 varied streaming companies, however it seems that promoting LIV Golf to a broadcast companion has been tougher than regulators anticipated.

Since its inception, LIV’s leaders have stated 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’t take part attributable to contracts with the PGA Tour.

There have been rumors of shopping for time on different networks and talks with varied streaming companies, however it seems that promoting LIV Golf to a broadcast companion has been tougher than regulators anticipated.

LIV has been profitable prior to now 12 months by way of YouTube and its web site, however this isn’t a reputable long-term technique. To grasp how vital it’s to increase availability, anticipate LIV to discover a deal sooner relatively than later even when it is not the whole lot the organizers hope it is going to be.

Will gamers nonetheless be a part of LIV?

Gamers leaving the PGA Tour has been the dominant story, however this 12 months it is going to be totally different. The concept is to have the 48-player area scheduled for the season previous to the primary occasion.

There are extra participant bulletins coming, nevertheless it will not be a wave. LIV has seven places out there, a few of which is able to doubtless be crammed by gamers who managed them eventually 12 months’s LIV occasions.

Rumors nonetheless swirl about others who may be – Patrick Cantlay-Xander Schavelli chatter was essentially the most urgent – however LIV is not looking avid gamers so onerous proper now. Signing gamers now is determined by how a lot business enchantment they’ll add to the gamers already there.

Picture by Chris Trotman, LIV Golf by way of Getty Photographs

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 desires 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 continuing turf conflict.

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’s taking on the problem of creating LIV Golf successful.

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 is not any purpose 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 attributable to 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 influence 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 best to proceed enjoying 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 key tournaments reply to the LIV predicament and whether or not World Golf Rating factors will finally be awarded for LIV occasions may even issue into the equation.

Do not anticipate a breakthrough anytime quickly.

Prime photograph: Michelle Yves Sandberg, Icon Sportswire
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