After a week in which the U.S. Open overshadowed the growing fight with the upstart LIV Golf Invitational Series, professional golf’s struggle for a new world order is expected to ramp up again.
Much of the chatter at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, concerned another anticipated wave of defections from the PGA Tour to the Saudi-funded, Greg Norman-run LIV Golf. Seventeen players, including Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, were banned by the PGA Tour for having violated tour regulations after they teed it up one week earlier at LIV Golf’s inaugural event in England. The USGA did not bar the defectors from playing in the U.S. Open, citing entry standards that already were in place. The DP World Tour, in a departure from the U.S. tour’s action, has allowed the rebel golfers, notably former major champions Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer, to compete in this week’s BMW International Open in Munich, Germany.
But the next shot on behalf of LIV Golf, which features $25 million tournaments that pay $4 million to the winner – more than double all but the four majors and the Players Championship – is anticipated as soon as today, and the PGA and DP World tours are preparing to respond to it, sources told Global Golf Post.
“I’m hopeful that vision is going to evolve and maybe even be accelerated, as happenings with the emergence of LIV Golf over the past month may well have forced the potential of that alliance to become something bigger.”
In a statement released last week, the DP World Tour sought to quiet rumors that its leader had attended LIV Golf’s inaugural event in England amid reports that European players were pressuring their home tour to negotiate in response to the threat.
“We are aware of some reports in the media that DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley attended the event at Centurion Club last week,” the DP World Tour said in a statement. “This is categorically untrue as Keith was in Sweden attending the Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed tournament.”
Regardless of where Pelley might or might not have been that week, a source with knowledge of LIV Golf operations told GGP that DP World officials are in serious talks with the upstart tour. What that might mean for the PGA Tour, which entered into a “strategic alliance” with the former European Tour in late 2020, remains unknown.
Paul McGinley, a former European Ryder Cup captain and member of the DP World Tour’s board of directors, said in an interview with the U.K.’s Sky Sports that his tour’s accord with the PGA Tour could be pushed forward as LIV Golf initiates change in the world order.
“I’m hopeful that vision is going to evolve and maybe even be accelerated, as happenings with the emergence of LIV Golf over the past month may well have forced the potential of that alliance to become something bigger,” McGinley said.
Over the weekend, Norman disclosed on Fox News’ “One Nation with Brian Kilmeade” that LIV Golf is in the process of applying for points on the Official World Golf Ranking, which establishes qualifying criteria for the four major championships. LIV Golf could face stern opposition by the OWGR, which includes PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, USGA CEO Mike Whan and other leaders of golf’s establishment on its governing board.
One player who reportedly won’t be leaving the PGA Tour is Harold Varner III. He won the Saudi International in January but will shun what he called a “nuts” offer from LIV Golf and remain with his home tour, according to a Sports Illustrated report. Varner, who was ranked No. 35 in the world but has yet to win on the PGA Tour, reportedly was advised by retired basketball icon Michael Jordan not to defect.
Had Varner consulted with another former member of basketball’s 1992 Olympic “Dream Team,” he would have gotten different guidance.
Speaking on the “Pat McAfee Show” on SiriusXM Radio, Charles Barkley, an avid-but-awkward golfer, addressed the Saudis’ oil-fueled millions being thrown at elite players by saying jokingly, “If somebody gave me $200 million, I’d kill a relative … even one I like.”
A PGA Tour players meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut, and an announcement is expected within the next week or two, likely about a revamped schedule, sources have told Global Golf Post.
The Indonesia Open will return to the Asian Tour schedule this summer after the last two editions were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The $500,000 tournament will be played Aug. 4-7 at Jakarta’s Pondok Indah Golf Course (READ MORE).
Eighty-one grassroots golf organizations will receive a total of $750,000 to advance equity and inclusion in the game, officials of Make Golf Your Thing announced (READ MORE).
The R&A announced sites for the Amateur Championship and the Women’s Amateur Championship for 2023 and 2024. England’s Hillside Golf Club and Southport & Ainsdale will be the site of the 2023 Amateur, and Ireland’s Ballyliffin will host the 2024 edition. Two English clubs will be the site of the 2023 and 2024 Women’s Amateurs: Prince’s Golf Club and Royal Birkdale, respectively (READ MORE).
Staff and Wire Reports