When Jon Rahm reneged last week on his commitment to compete in PGA Tour-affiliated startup TGL’s inaugural season, speculation about the Spaniard’s defection to rival LIV Golf soared.
Don’t believe it. Global Golf Post has it on good authority within the LIV camp that Rahm isn’t going anywhere. Whatever high-profile signings that the Saudi-funded LIV might intend to announce ahead of its third season will not include the reigning Masters champion and No. 3-ranked golfer in the world.
That bit of drama overshadowed TGL’s announcement last week of its format ahead of the tech-infused league’s January debut in Florida. The team matches featuring many of golf’s biggest stars will be played over 15 holes and combine an oversized simulator with live shots to a green that can change contours. Five of the six franchises – Atlanta, Boston, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco – have been announced for TGL, a Tiger Woods/Rory McIlroy-backed league which will compete at a new facility at Palm Beach State College in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
The Florida location, rather than TGL’s stated goal of competing at PGA Tour tournament sites in the first few months of the year, was a key reason why Rahm, who lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, pulled out.
Rahm, who will turn 29 on Friday, said on social media that TGL “would require a level of commitment that I can’t offer.”
The prime-time matches on Monday nights will air on ESPN’s various networks and feature two teams of three players each.
Also, TGL made some player announcements. McIlroy will headline the Boston Common team, joining Keegan Bradley, Tyrrell Hatton and Adam Scott. Native Californian Collin Morikawa will captain TGL’s Los Angeles Golf Club, and Justin Thomas will join Atlanta Drive GC. READ MORE
The PGA Tour will not ban its players from competing in LIV Golf’s qualifying tournament next month in Abu Dhabi, according to a report by Sports Illustrated’s Alex Miceli, which cited an unidentified tour spokesman. The PGA Tour has not designated the LIV Golf Promotions qualifier, a three-day, four-round shootout for three spots in LIV’s 2024 team draft, as an “unauthorized tournament.” The PGA Tour is working toward a December 31 deadline to complete a deal with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which bankrolls LIV, as part of a “framework agreement” toward a for-profit business that would operate outside of the tax-exempt tour. READ MORE
The field of potential investors has been narrowed to five as the PGA Tour seeks private-equity partners for its proposed for-profit venture, Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch reported. Fenway Sports Group, Liberty Strategic Capital, Acorn Growth Companies, Eldridge Industries and a group calling itself Friends of Golf have emerged from an initial pool of more than a dozen potential investors, according to multiple unnamed sources cited in the report. Negotiations with the Saudis’ Public Investment Fund, sparked by the June 6 “framework agreement” with the tour, have produced “less than zero progress,” one source said. READ MORE
The PGA Tour will take over management of the tournament formerly known as the Honda Classic after the Japanese automaker ended its four-decade association with the stop in southeast Florida, Golfweek’s Adam Schupak reported. The Classic in the Palm Beaches, the first of the annual four-stop Florida Swing, is scheduled for February 29-March 3 at PGA National’s Champion course in Palm Beach Gardens, but New Jersey-based internet-services company Cognizant is expected to be introduced as the title sponsor, according to the report. READ MORE
J.D. cuban, USGA
Just days after news broke that Annika Sörenstam has become the newest green-jacketed member at Augusta National Golf Club, the LPGA legend faces a challenge from another women’s sports icon.
Billie Jean King, the trailblazing tennis champion, wants to see an LPGA tournament played at the iconic home of the Masters, and Sörenstam may be just the person to get it done.
“My prayer is for Augusta to have a women’s event,” said King, 80, whose “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match against Bobby Riggs brought gender equity into prime time in 1973. It came one year after Congress passed Title IX civil-rights legislation prohibiting discrimination in any school that receives federal funding.
“I know they have the amateur girls [the final round of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur], but I want to see a pro tournament,” King said in remarks ahead of what the LPGA is promoting as Parity Week for The Annika driven by Gainbridge at Pelican tournament this week in Belleair, Florida. “I hope that happens. I think you will make a big difference,” she said to Sörenstam. “You stand for so much, and people listen to you and appreciate you.”
Sörenstam, for her part, acknowledged that her inclusion in perhaps the nation’s most elite golf club is “super new,’’ calling herself “a total rookie” before adding: “I’m not really sure where this will lead.” READ MORE
Jane Park and Lexi Thompson will receive two of the LPGA’s most prestigious honors on November 16 during the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Florida. In a vote of LPGA members, Park was named winner of the Heather Farr Perseverance Award, which is named in honor of the late LPGA player. Thompson will receive the Founders Award, which honors the spirit reminiscent of the tour’s 13 founders. READ MORE
The Abu Dhabi Championship will be part of the DP World Tour schedule through 2028 after a contract extension was reached between the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the European tour. The $9 million event, which is part of the elevated Rolex Series on the 2024 DP World Tour schedule, also moves from January to a week in mid-November and will precede the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. READ MORE
Miles Russell of Jacksonville Beach, Florida, unseated Tiger Woods as the youngest winner of the American Junior Golf Association’s Player of the Year Award. Russell, who turned 15 on November 1, and Woods (15 years, 10 months and 2 days in 1991) are the only 15-year-olds to win the AJGA’s top boys’ honor. Yana Wilson, 17, of Henderson, Nevada, was named the AJGA’s top girls’ player. They head the AJGA’s all-America teams, which were gleaned from the Rolex AJGA Rankings. READ MORE
Canada’s Graham DeLaet and American Charley Hoffman will captain the respective International and U.S. teams for the 2024 Junior Presidents Cup, which will be played at Le Club Laval-sure-le-Lac’s Blue course in Montreal, Quebec, officials announced. The dates will be September 23-24, preceding the Presidents Cup later that week at Royal Montreal Golf Club. READ MORE
The 2025 Palmer Cup will be played at Congaree Golf Club in Ridgeland, South Carolina, according to a report by Tommy Braswell in Charleston’s Post and Courier newspaper. The dates for the annual match-play team event between male and female U.S. and International college all-stars will be June 5-6. Congaree, a 2018 Tom Fazio design, hosted the PGA Tour’s 2021 Palmetto Championship and the 2022 CJ Cup. Next year’s Palmer Cup will be played at Lahinch (Ireland) Golf Club. READ MORE
Topgolf Callaway Brands has acquired BigShots Golf and other assets from Invited, the companies announced. READ MORE
Acushnet Holdings, the parent company of Titleist, FootJoy and other golf brands, announced third-quarter results highlighted by increases in net sales and net income for the quarter and year to date. READ MORE
Compiled by Steve Harmon