Menu
Leagues and Governing Bodies

Fight is on over future of pro golf between PGA Tour, LIV Golf

LIV Golf may have pushed PGA Tour out of comfort zone, but immediate challenge is keeping its idea going long enough for it to take rootGetty Images

The battle for the future of pro golf "is underway" after the PGA Tour last week "denied releases to players asking for permission to play in the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series event" near London, according to Ron Green Jr. of GLOBAL GOLF POST. The hard "no" has caused lawyers to start "polishing their positions," which observers knew was going to happen. Going to court was "probably a central part of LIV Golf’s game plan," believing that the new tour "could win the antitrust battle." With a strategic alliance in place with the DP World Tour, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan "stood with his ally," knowing LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman and his unlimited Saudi-founded war chest would "go on the attack." The PGA Tour is "going to be different" after this direct assault from LIV Golf, which is "attempting to buy itself into the game’s penthouse." The tour "might be better for it," having already "made adjustments to how it compensates and treats its top players, with other benefits trickling down to the rank and file." The game's present and immediate future are "on the tour’s side as, it seems, are most of the younger players." LIV Golf organizers "believe they have a better way," but Green writes what they have is "a different way, not better." They "can be applauded for their audaciousness" and "pushing the PGA Tour out of its comfort zone." However, the immediate challenge for LIV Golf is "keeping its idea going long enough for it to take root" (GLOBAL GOLF POST, 5/16).

PLAYING THE WAITING GAME: GLOBAL GOLF POST's Steve Harmon wrote golf fans "might not have to wait long for the next volley." Northwestern Univ. law school professor Gerald Maatman Jr. said that should the fight end up in court it "likely would be decided based on antitrust law rather than labor law." He indicated that the PGA Tour "appears to be on solid legal ground." Though members are "not employed by either tour," they do "sign agreements to adhere to numerous standards regarding their conduct and tournament regulations." A source said that LIV Golf "intends to pursue an antitrust claim against the PGA Tour." LIV Golf's position in part cites the fact that the top 50 golfers in the world play on the PGA Tour and that fans, sponsors, advertisers and broadcasters "have no reasonable substitute at the top level of professional golf" (GLOBAL GOLF POST, 5/16).

BOTH SIDES DIGGING IN: MORNING READ’s Bob Harig reports Norman and LIV Golf Investments have “pledged their support and backing to players who elect to play in the controversial events” following the tours’ decisions to not grant releases. In a letter sent to players yesterday, Norman wrote, “These Tours have no right to restrict your ability to play as you see fit or take actions against you. In all cases, we want you to know that LIV Golf has your back and will defend and assist you if either Tour tries to act against your interests and the progress of the sport.’’ He added, “We will have a full field in London, regardless of what the Tours do. We find it hard to comprehend how they can justify their efforts to prevent you, as independent contractors, from playing professional golf where and when you choose. It disserves you and the sport” (MORNINGREAD.com, 5/16). Meanwhile, Monahan prior to the start of last week's PGA Tour AT&T Byron Nelson said, "Our players get it. ... They know we have a good thing, and they want to build on their legacy. Not everybody is going to stay, and we can't keep them, but the (tournament) sponsors are with us and the player agents are here, and their sponsors are loyal to the tour." GLOBAL GOLF POST's Art Stricklin notes though Monahan "spent close to an hour talking with players," not everybody "was thrilled to see the PGA Tour boss." Golfer Ian Poulter, who is among those who sought a release from the Tour, said, "Don’t even start with me. I want to read his entire statement formally before I react." Monahan: "We're going to be just fine" (GLOBAL GOLF POST, 5/16).

LACK OF RELEASES A HUGE BLOW: GOLF.com's weekly roundtable looked at how much of a "blow to LIV Golf" the Tour’s waiver blocker is. Senior editor Sean Zak noted it is a "huge blow," if only because it felt like the Tour "might turn a blind eye to this event" with it taking place in Europe. The Tour "did the exact opposite," and "essentially declared war on LIV Golf in as serious a way as they can right now." Senior writer Josh Sens: “Did this particular move by the Tour change the mind of any big names who were fence-sitting? Seems unlikely." The more telling moment will come when the Tour "determines what type of sanctions it will place on those who decide to play anyway." Sens noted he suspects that "will be most of them who applied for waivers.” Assistant editor James Colgan noted the PGA Tour is “going to fight this to the ends of the earth.” Securing and maintaining talent will “require a massive effort” from LIV Golf. Even then, it “might not work.” So this effort "shouldn't have been a blow to LIV,” as they “should have been expecting it.” But hopefully they are "also realistic enough to know the enemy they’re up against.” Senior writer Dylan Dethier noted both sides “got what they wanted.” By denying waivers, Monahan “finally got the chance to put his money where his mouth was.” And LIV “appears to be eager for a legal battle; this will get them there more quickly” (GOLF.com, 5/15).

PERFECT ROLE, FOR BETTER OR WORSE: In London, David Walsh writes in Norman, the Saudis have “found a singular leader.” Much of what he says is “what they need him to say” but, by “virtue of his wilful and stubborn nature, he is suited to the role” (LONDON TIMES, 5/16). In Chicago, Rick Morrissey wrote it is said that “adversity reveals character,” and in the case of Norman and Phil Mickelson, “money reveals a complete lack of character.” They have “made a deal with the devil.” They have “used a logo-ed golf cap to hide the devil’s horns” and “designer golf pants to hide his pointy tail.” Everybody wants to “make more money,” but most of us are not “willing to get in bed with murderers to obtain it.” Norman and Mickelson "just want to know if the sheets are the satin they had ordered” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/14). However, GLOBAL GOLF POST's John Hopkins wrote while Norman is "sometimes crass, sometimes clumsily spoken and sometimes appears without professional advice," no one can say that he is "not true to himself." He is trying to "grow the game, however such an aim is financed" (GLOBAL GOLF POST, 5/16).

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: August 12, 2022

FIFA shifts opener of World Cup; MLB shows well in Iowa; Broncos tab a new president and Boehly retains sports venue design pioneer.  

SBJ Unpacks: MLS All Star Week

Ahead of the MLS All-Star Game, Alex Silverman was joined by CBS Sports' Grant Wahl and World Soccer Talk's Christopher Harris to discuss the current state of MLS. Among the topics discussed: MLS All-Star MLS Expansion MLS-Apple Deal Future of MLS

SBJ I Factor: Jed York

SBJ I Factor: Jed York, presented by Allied Sports SBJ I Factor presented by Allied Sports features an interview with San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York. York is in his 17th year with the organization and his 12th as CEO. He is a two-time SBJ Forty Under 40 honoree as a member of the classes of 2012 and 2013. York talks with SBJ’s Abe Madkour about what he learned from growing up in the sports business, working in multiple departments at the team, the challenges of building Levi’s Stadium, and how his leadership style has evolved through the years. SBJ I Factor is a monthly podcast offering interviews with sports executives who have been recipients of one of the magazine’s awards, such as Forty Under 40, Game Changers and others.

Shareable URL copied to clipboard!

https://sbjcd01.centralus.cloudapp.azure.com/Daily/Issues/2022/05/16/Leagues-and-Governing-Bodies/LIV-Golf.aspx

Sorry, something went wrong with the copy but here is the link for you.

https://sbjcd01.centralus.cloudapp.azure.com/Daily/Issues/2022/05/16/Leagues-and-Governing-Bodies/LIV-Golf.aspx

CLOSE
;