Events and Attractions

Tensions high in Northwest as LIV Golf makes U.S. debut

Sources described the local conversation around the event as tense, divisive and the last thing the Portland, Ore., area neededGetty Images

LIV Golf's debut U.S. event tees off later today near Portland at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, though it is "not clear how many fans will attend the three-day tournament -- or what the vibe might be," according to Dan Rapaport of GOLF DIGEST. Both Tuesday’s practice round and Wednesday’s pro-am "were closed to the general public." Sources described the local conversation around the event as "tense, divisive and the last thing the Portland area needed." The issue has been a "constant topic of conversation among the tight-knit Oregon golf community." Escalante Golf, the firm that purchased Pumpkin Ridge from its original ownership group in '15, "negotiated the deals without consultation from the membership." As such, a number of members and employees "left the club in disgust." But Gaylord Davis, a Portland businessman who purchased the land Pumpkin Ridge sits on in the late 1980s and helped develop the club, said that he is "able to separate the golf tournament from the people paying for it." He said, “We weren’t going to get them here any other way. We weren’t getting a PGA Tour event. We weren’t getting a Ryder Cup. So this is how we get the best in the world here. Look at the Olympics. That’s where everyone gets together, no matter how much the countries don’t like each other, they get together through sport" (, 6/28).

LOOKING FOR A TUNEUP: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Andrew Beaton writes this week's event is "packed with far more firepower than the first one" nearly a month ago in London. Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka "headline a growing list of superstars who have broken ranks with the PGA Tour." Along with Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, those players are "some of the biggest names in the sport." They also may have had an "extra incentive" to join LIV, because they "haven’t exactly been thriving on the PGA Tour." Over the past calendar year, those five players have "combined for exactly zero PGA Tour wins" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/29). ESPN's Mark Schlabach noted  "on the course" LIV Golf "certainly has some momentum" as it continues to add PGA Tour players to their roster as the "field is getting stronger" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 6/29).

WHAT COMES NEXT: THE ATHLETIC's Hugh Kellenberger wrote LIV Golf’s "best chance of survival remains cooperation with the PGA Tour, something that it has coveted and the Tour has so far expressed zero interest in even considering." Because while a Koepka or DeChambeau "may be happy right now, playing less golf overall but still teeing off in major championships, at some point their mind will change." They will "want something else, something more -- like a chance to have a proper lead-up to a major, and a better chance at actually performing well at one." At some point someone will "want to pursue a hybrid model, seeking to enter a PGA Tour event." And then it "becomes about the resolve of PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, and if the current suspensions would be lifted as punishment having been served" (, 6/28). FS1’s Nick Wright said of LIV Golf, "It’s easy to throw money at people if you’re not trying to be profitable. I don’t know that the LIV Golf tour plans on making a profit anytime in the next decade" ("The Herd," FS1, 6/29).

GOING HEAD TO HEAD: In West Palm Beach, Tom D'Angelo notes the "traditional league vs. the wild child continue to trade insults and strategically-timed announcements." Monahan "upstaged the start of the first LIV event in London by announcing those playing in the Saudi-backed series were suspended from the PGA Tour." LIV "countered by welcoming" Koepka to its team "minutes into Monahan's news conference at the Travelers Championship a week ago." On Tuesday, as LIV was introducing three of its newer members, DeChambeau, Reed and Matthew Wolff, Monahan was "revealing the PGA Tour and DP World Tour are expanding and strengthening their alliance." D'Angelo: "This is turning into Duke vs. North Carolina. Elon Musk vs. Jeff Bezos. Red Sox vs. Yankees." Make "no mistake, LIV Golf certainly has gotten the attention of the PGA Tour" (PALM BEACH POST, 6/29).

GROWING THE GAME? ESPN’s Schlabach noted a protest was scheduled for this morning by a group of 9/11 survivors and their families, though players "don’t seem to be phased by the criticism." ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt said he "keeps hearing" the LIV Golf series is "going to grow the game (but) has anyone articulated how?" Van Pelt: "What specifically grows the game by playing on a different tour for 54 holes in a shotgun start?" Schlabach said sarcastically, "At this point I think it grows it a little bit on Youtube." Van Pelt noted "that’s where you can watch it," but LIV Golf stated "ultimately long-term they’re going to need some TV sponsorship, they’re going to need a network" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 6/29). WFAN’s Gregg Giannotti asked, "Does the LIV tour care if anybody watches this?" (“Boomer and Gio,” WFAN, 6/30).

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