This week, LIV Golf leaders sent a different message

Greg Norman at the LIV event in Illinois.

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Since the beginning of LIV Golf, the breakaway league has tried to walk a fine line. Act too aggressively and this can alienate potential players and fans. Act too shy and won’t create the turmoil needed for his success. So LIV tried to do a couple of things, taking shots on the PGA Tour when he had the chance (“Surely you are joking,” etc.) while maintaining the position that they want to sit with the round and work on some sort of compromise.

That rhetoric changed this week. This means that the general LIV strategy is also changing.

Greg Norman referred to the transformation in an interview with Australian. After a year of what he claimed were attempts to find common ground with the tour and with its commissioner, Jay Monahan, Norman said the dynamic has now turned. He no longer wanted to meet.

“We have no interest in sitting with them, to be honest with you, because our product works,” Norman said.

As with all things LIV, how you see Norman’s latest media attack depends on how you feel about the newbie. You could argue that it’s easy for Norman to say he didn’t want to meet the tour because they made it clear they didn’t want to meet him. Oh, can’t I come to your party? I actually don’t want that!

But if you’re more receptive to the new league, you could also argue that Norman and the LIV team jumped over so many early hurdles that they’re on a winning run. Skeptics questioned whether the circuit would be able to attract the best talent and whether it would be able to pull events. While the PGA Tour has retained the vast majority of its top pros, LIV’s promises of big pay days have won a significant unit in the world’s top 100. The events and their accompanying broadcast were a success as well, presenting a show to thousands of fans daily. Over time, objections to Saudi funding of the league became increasingly buried in the midst of the daily news. The launch of LIV was not entirely smooth, but given the tight time frame and lack of existing infrastructure, it was certainly efficient. Money helps with that, of course. Money will remain an asset.

As the fields grew stronger, LIV stars also appeared. Two of the league’s most expensive signings, Dustin Johnson and Cameron Smith, have won the two most recent events. Norman protested their success on Instagram on Sunday, stating that they were the “real” worlds #1 and 2.

This does not mean that the success of LIV is inevitable. So far, her broadcasts have only been played on YouTube and their website, with no commercials. And despite a strong personal performance, LIV struggled over the weekend to keep the audience. one accounting Viewer numbers peaked at 50,000, 63,000 and 95,000 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, significantly down from the Massachusetts event, which peaked at 75,000 viewers on Friday, 75,000 viewers on Saturday and 182,000 viewers on Sunday.

A decline was expected; It’s NFL season, after all, and a Napa event on the PGA Tour surely didn’t break ratings records. But given LIV’s lofty goals, they will eventually need to find an audience that is closer to the tour-like audience.

Re-enter Norman. he is too File a claim LIV is in discussions with four different networks. “All I can say is that the interest that’s showing up on our plate right now is tremendous,” he said in an interview with ESPN 1000 Chicago. (DeChambeau put it more simply: “It’s coming.”) The streaming deal represents a massive step toward LIV’s legitimacy, promising more eyeballs and a more attractive product to potential investors or franchisees. And while CBS, NBC and ESPN are working with the PGA Tour, FOX — which ditched the USGA deal in 2020 — has been rumored as a potential landing spot.

Is Norman telling the whole truth? hard to say. It is true that there is no shortage of benefit in LIV. But translating that interest into actual deals may be more difficult than what it represents. Norman—and the stock-owning captain of LIV—knows that once a few big sponsors fall, a domino effect can lead to more. As a result, showing strength is in the interest of LIV. And so Norman does just that, maximizing the confidence and pride that LIV is built on. He was the showman front and center. The montage is a greeting to the masses of the population His Instagram feed, dived into the sky at one event and got a mullet at another. And this week he will take that fight to Capitol Hill, where he plans to discuss the district’s model and plans with members of Congress.

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“Given the PGA Tour attempts to stifle our progress in reimagining the game, we believe it is necessary to educate members about LIV’s business model and counteract the Tour’s anti-competitive efforts,” a LIV spokesperson . said Washington Post.

One effect of Norman spending more time in the spotlight, projecting strength and aggressiveness, is that it provides cover for LIV golfers to choose their own style in the controversial league.

LIV’s most famous proponent, Phil Mickelson, took a slightly different path. Since his comments on Saudi paddock supporters nearly drowned out the league, Mickelson has been uncharacteristically cautious in his media appearances. However, this week provided a more ambitious assessment of the future of professional golf.

“The PGA Tour, for the past 20 or 30 years, has had the best players in the world. That will never be the case again. LIV Golf is here to stay, and that kind of divisive talk does no good to anyone.” That last paragraph alluded to Mickelson’s moderate message. Unlike Norman, Mickelson (it is worth noting that Part of the lawsuit against the PGA Tour) are hoping the two tournaments will find a compromise.

“The best solution for us is to meet,” he said. “I think the professional golf world needs the ancient and historical history of the game product that the PGA Tour provides, and I think LIV provides a cool, up-to-date feel that appeals to a lot of young people, and that is demonstrated in the people watching and in the age of the people watching.

“I think both are required in golf. Both are good for golf. It is imperative that LIV Golf be included in the ecosystem of the world of golf. Once that happens and we all start working together, it will be a really positive thing for everyone.”

Other professionals have had their photos taken. Taylor Gotsch Call His team’s nickname is “a win for the good guys,” an explicit reference to similar wording for Shane Lowry after winning the BMW Championship a week ago. And Patrick Reed, who is suing Brandel Chamblee and Golf Channel for $750 million (yes, actually), slammed “insulting” comments from Rory McIlroy and others in an interview with times.

But many pros like Smith, Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau have chosen to stay above the fight as much as possible. Smith was asked how many McIlroy tears a Claret Jug could fit (LIV press conferences are full of funny questions like this) and she said nothing in response. Johnson refused to criticize the tour for skipping Chicago on its annual schedule, saying “It’s not up to me. I just go where the tournaments are.” DeChambeau made it clear that he didn’t want to ruin the PGA Tour. “I would never want that to be my goal. I still look up to them and appreciate what they have done for the game in general.”

The most compelling testimony of the week came from Anirban Lahiri and Joaquin Niemann, top golfers from India and Chile, respectively. They said LIV allowed their compatriots to see more golf on stage. After some initial setbacks, Neiman said he feels Chileans have joined LIV.

“Everyone in Chile loves it,” he said, “and now they can watch me more during the tour instead of watching them before.”

Of course, LIV recruits are highly motivated to paint a rosy picture of their new home. (Tourism loyalists have plenty of incentive to talk about existing infrastructure, too.) But this seems like the week they’ve all gone in with the message. LIV is now playing the insulting role. Consider the appeal DeChambeau attaches to his LIV decision:

“Winning the US Open, US Amateurs, and NCAAs is something I will never forget, but I think my greatest achievement when I go back a decade, 20 years from now, 30 years from now, is probably LIV Golf And what they will do for the game. He said.

He said something else that also says, “It’s like a game of poker; how long can you keep bluffing, right?”

But we don’t know yet who has the best hand.

Dylan Detier

Dylan Dither Editor

Dylan Diether is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine / The Williamstown, Massachusetts native joined GOLF in 2017 after two years of squabbling on the mini-tours. Dethier is a 2014 graduate of Williams College, majoring in English, and is the author of 18 in Americawho details the year he spent as an 18-year-old living out of his car and playing a round of golf in every state.

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