After the recent announcement that the Public Investment Fund would now support the PGA Tour, many assumed that the LIV Golf league was all but over.
LIV commissioner Greg Norman has stated they aren’t going anywhere. But his start up league is solely funded by the PIF. Meaning if Saudi Arabia, who controls the PIF, doesn’t want to fund LIV Golf anymore… see ya!
Part of the reason I believe the PGA Tour decided to get in bed with the Saudis is so they can tell Norman to politely go bleep himself and delete LIV Golf from existence.
But just because the league might go away, doesn’t mean its concept should go with it. The PGA Tour could just start their own team series. And it could do so with financial support from the PIF.
But how would that work? And where would it fit into the schedule?
Money, Money, Money
Remember, most of the LIV players told us they left the PGA Tour so they could have more time with their families. So there is no possible way they would return to a full PGA Tour slate and compete in an extra team series, right?
That’s where the Saudis oil money comes in. Because everyone likes more money. You know what someone with ten million dollars to their name wants? A hundred million dollars in their bank account.
So if the PIF ups the ante on PGA Tour purses and provides some nice cash prizes on a side team series, I think most players will be ok with a little less family time.
Hard for a spouse to say no to, ‘hey babe I’m going to Dubai for the week to make a quick million bucks, you want to come with?’
The PGA Tour would probably let the players slide on not playing as many regular tour events as well. The problem with that though becomes the players earning enough points to make it deep into the FedEx Cup playoffs.
There’s a lot of players who have to play a lot of tournaments in hopes of just keeping their Tour Card. So they are consistently racking up points throughout the year. Even if they don’t win.
If a guy like Justin Thomas doesn’t play in a lot of events and struggles to perform well, he likely won’t make the Tour Championship. Hell, he may struggle to make the playoffs at all.
And unless you are a recent winner on tour or major champion you risk losing your Tour Card. The PGA Tour recently modified the playoffs so that only the top 70 make it. If you finish outside that top 70 you have to play in the fall series to keep your card. And Thomas is currently outside the top 70.
No More Off-Season
The fall and winter months are generally considered the off-season for professional golfers. Most of your star caliber players take those months off. The PGA Tour puts on tournaments during that time, but it’s mainly for rank and file players to accumulate points before the big dogs show up to eat.
This would be the perfect time for the PGA Tour to institute a team event series. It would start shortly after the Ryder Cup and end early January.
Using this season’s schedule, the first thing I would do is cut out the last regular season event, the Wyndham Championship, and move the playoffs up a week. That puts the Tour Championship at the third weekend in August.
I would start the new team series a couple weeks after that and have tournaments run about every three weeks until mid-January before the Farmers Insurance Open. Which is really when all of the superstars in golf finally come out to start their seasons. This would give you about five or six tournaments for a team series to work with.
Don’t Change the Format
I would be perfectly fine if they kept the 54-hole rule in place. I might even go so far as to say I’d make it a 36-hole event.
We can keep the same concept as LIV has now. Teams of four players, only count three scores, and wear all the shorts you want.
I’ll even do you one better than LIV, I’d let them have a couple beers. Get them loosened up a little bit. I’m not saying let them shotgun cold ones on the tee. We need to have some level of integrity. Especially since we’re already working with the Saudis.
But I’d make this a more fun, not incredibly serious atmosphere. Maybe let the guys do some closest to the pin side bets. Get them mic’d up for the round. Have a good time with it. Slap a charity on each tournament they can donate some money to.
You can even get the LPGA involved, put a top women’s player on each team. Now everyone wins. Except the Saudis they might not like that part.
I’ve never had a big issue with what the concept of LIV is. I have an issue with comparing it to the PGA Tour in the realm of elite professional golf.
To me it’s like saying the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl are the same thing. Except their not though. One is the gold standard of professional football. The other is 22 guys running around laughing and having a good time.
There’s nothing wrong with having fun. Trust me, we need more of it in today’s world. Which is why I hope the concept of LIV stays around.
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