Hey, PGA TOUR…You Have A Problem!
With the news being made public on Tuesday morning that four-time major champion Brooks Koepka (pictured above) is leaving the PGA Tour for the new LIV Tour, I believe it's time for the PGA Tour to admit that they have a problem.
This has nothing to do with how I personally feel about the LIV Tour. But with the very recent defections of Koepka and World number 20 Abraham Ancer, we have enough prominent players that have left to chase the big money to cause the American-based PGA Tour a major hassle.
WHY DID THE LIV TOUR COME TO BE?
I've done some reading about this, and it ultimately comes down to one thing....the love of money.
World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman has felt that professional golfers have been underpaid for decades. Remember when he tried to start the World Tour back in the 1990's for that reason? But who showed up in the 1990's that changed golf for the better? Some guy out of Stanford named Tiger Woods. Tiger shows up and interest in the game shoots skyward, and so do the purses for PGA Tour events. So, talk of a competing tour went away.
Well, 25 years later...Norman still feels that golfers are underpaid. And his axe to grind against the PGA Tour hasn't gone away either. So, he was willing to enter into a business arrangement with Saudi Arabian business Public Investment Fund to try to lure top PGA Tour, and top European Tour (now known as the DP World Tour) players to play in the new LIV Invitational Series with one thing...lots of money.
WHAT IS LIV?
It's a series of eight events to be played in Europe, Asia, and the United States in 2022. Each tournament is 54 holes long (hence the LIV name..LIV is the Roman numeral for 54) with no cut. Each tournament has a shotgun start to quicken up play. And the field was limited to 48 players. The winning purse of the first event (won by former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel) was a reported $4 million with a total purse of $25 million.
WHO'S COMMITTED TO LIV?
You know about Phil Mickelson, who was one of the first to commit. Other prominent players are Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, and Louis Oosthuizen. Recently, top Americans Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed have committed to play in the next LIV event, set for Oregon's Pumpkin Ridge GC next week.
WHY IS THIS A PROBLEM FOR THE PGA TOUR?
When you have guys like DeChambeau, Johnson, Koepka, and Mickelson leave the long-established PGA Tour for an upstart with big money from overseas, you should realize you have a problem. The PGA Tour hasn't had any real competition in American golf ever.
The old saying is "The first step towards eliminating any problem is admitting that you have one in the first place." PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has a problem on his hands with the LIV Invitational Series, whether he likes it or not. What he does with with could have long-term implications as to where American golf goes in the post-Tiger Woods era.