Several Big Golf Stars Took Saudi Money. Now What?
My Op Ed about Justin Johnson didn’t cover the increasing defection of some of golf’s super stars to the big money offers from Saudi Arabia’s LIV tour which kicks off this weekend.
— Church and State (@ChurchAndStateN) June 10, 2022
I confess my views on that Op Ed have changed a bit as you will read here.
After listening to the arguments on both sides, the old verity of “follow the money” applies and I can see why some of these independent contractors took the Saudi PR money which is evergreen anywhere. The PGA tour has NOW barred 17 players from competing its events.
PGA Tour suspends all players taking part in first LIV Golf tournament – ESPN https://t.co/iAnOymlppI
— DL Hughley (@RealDLHughley) June 9, 2022
Full stop. Next step? Will fans follow enough to please sponsors?
Who can know now, but only I know what I will do.
First let me say that Golf on TV is overflowing. If I had young children, I would certainly encourage them to find a non-contact sport such as golf, one which they could possibly enjoy for life.
I started golf at 14 and still enjoy playing at 91, feeling very lucky and hoping I can continue for a while.
However, I won’t be watching LIV golf. Ever!
Let me briefly repeat the obvious. Golf etiquette and honesty as exhibited by years of meticulous abidance to golf’s rules will surely be followed on the new LIV tour, but its capture ever of the proud historical continuity of golf will not.
Winning the Masters or any major golf tournament carries a special imprimatur that fans appreciate, and winners remember such triumphs all their lives. Bobby Jones, golf’s most famous amateur, is often cited in its history, even as its dominance by professionals took over. Harry Vardon, whose name attaches to how to grip a golf club, was the first great professional to be beaten by an amateur, Francis Ouimet in 1913, but the great Vardon won many big championships including the British Open four times.
Will those PGA events attract fans and sponsors as before? Who knows, but regardless there is a limited amount of attention for the best in any sport including golf.
That also applies to the LIV. Phil Michelson now 51 has allegedly received $200 million to sign. He is the reigning PGA champ, oldest ever winner of a major golf tournament. He won on the PGA Senior tour but now is excluded along with 16 others by the PGA tour. Sergio Garcia is past his prime. Justin Johnson likely also has seen his best days. But they still have drawing power.
By the way it isn’t that the PGA’s money is shabby. Read the financial facts here.
— Fanlys (@FanlysSports) June 9, 2022
There certainly is plenty of PGA money to win.
Frankly, in my opinion, there is already too much golf on tv. Of course, if your family member in an amateur playing in the US Amateur you would over be there or see he or she on TV which the Golf Channel will doubtless run.
To repeat Phil Michelson, the current PGA champ—until this year’s event at least, now a senior at over 50, won $100 million on the PGA tour. He is alleged to have lost millions gambling, but he certainly didn’t need the money from the Saudis.
Neither do any of the other golf stars who earned their fame and fortunes on the PGA tour.
As for competition and the right to compete, I make here what to many of you will be a startling suggestion.
I would have let these greedy defectors continue to play on the PGA tour!
There are no substitutes on the LIV tour for any of the PGA and USGA majors. And I believe the best golfers need to play in them.
I predict that the Saudi money flow won’t eclipse fans’ appetite for the current big golf events like the British Open, called the Open in the UK.
There’s going to be further give and take here, but while that is bubbling, I don’t plan to watch any LIV events as my golf watching time is limited.
Money, particularly blood money from this Saudi dictator to these already hugely rich golfers will disgust many fans.
But we know President Biden may be going there to solicit more oil from the Prince, despite his barbarous behavior well cited by Biden and others in the media. Did I mention “follow the money”?
Reminds me of those elected members of Congress who failed to call Trump for his iniquities and thus, in their moral failures, created an anti-democratic monster still lurking to run for another term as President in 2024.
Bob Woodward said in a Wednesday 6/822 WETA interview with Judy Woodruff that the country “would never be the same if Trump won a second term in 2024”.
Golf will never be the same for me either, but at 91 years old I won’t stop playing until I can’t!!
Maybe to a surprising number of fans, just as the ardor for a multitude of other sports that proliferated beyond the time audiences wanted to spend watching, competition for the reputation of golf will likely keep the PGA tour on top.
Certainly, I am less likely to watch the first two days of the 4 rounds of each PGA tour event. I want to see if my favorites have “made the cut” as only half the initial field are allowed to play for the purse on Saturday and Sunday.
And speaking of view time, I long ago gave up watching any other sport on TV or following them in the press. Who is atop the leagues terminally bores me, but then golf in its TV time is no substitute for my time playing ever if I am not playing well!
“What Can Be Done Now to Save Habitable Life on Planet Earth?”: https://t.co/fHuh0CG6JD
“We Humans Overwhelm Our Earth: 11 or 2 Billion by 2100?”: https://t.co/TA4j7cp1tE
“From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013”: https://t.co/lkC2t3E1A9 pic.twitter.com/bQsL2mLBcO
— Church and State (@ChurchAndStateN) November 1, 2021
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