Sport is not pure sport, and golf is no exception to this rule.
Other things get in the way. Money and politics are at the top of the list.
Golf can no longer be called boring. Following on the coattails of an unsuccessful breakaway soccer (football) league, a new kid has arrived in golf town … and its country is draped in green, the same color as the coveted Masters green jacket.
But now the most coveted prize in all of golf is the LIV Golf purse. LIV is actually 54 in Roman numerals, the number of holes played in LIV tournaments. Winners rake in 4.75 million greenbacks per event and an additional winning team shares a $3 million pot. Every player receives prize money, no one goes home empty handed. A further prize of $54 million is being offered to anyone who shoots 54 in one of the League events.
“All I can see is that the evolution of golf has arrived … the era of free agency is beginning.” (Greg Norman, CEO, LIV Golf)
Breakaway LIV Golf now appears to be a serious threat to the PGA after a dramatic inaugural tee off, which included American heavyweight Phil Mickelson who finished 34th and only took home $146,000.
As they say: “Money talks”. Even if some critics have said it “makes them want to puke”.
The money is coming from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF). With more than $600 billion to play with, the Fund has now wrapped its tentacles around golf. Other investment bedfellows have included Walmart, McLaren F1, Disney, Uber, Live Nation, Pinterest and Nintendo, to name just a few.
There’s a bit of a twister … Saudi Arabia has enemies, lots of them.
Oh, and let’s not forget 9-11. All but 4 of the hijackers were Saudi citizens. Even though the Saudis say any allegation of complicity is “categorically false”, a commitment to Islam fuelled the terrorists to commit America’s worst atrocity.
Here is Amnesty International’s most recent report on the Kingdom.
But … the Saudis also have bottomless pockets. That will give them a good kick at any can, including golf … if players choose to disassociate themselves from the darkness of Saudi Arabia. Some say the increasing presence of the Saudis in professional sports will make the Country subject to more scrutiny. Others say it's downright sports washing – using sports to draw attention away from the Saudi’s tarnished reputation. What’s your opinion?
Unfortunately, everything in life has its price. Money is king. Some very accomplished male golfers have putted toward Muhammad.
Not surprisingly, women golfers have not been invited to participate in LIV Golf – no surprise. Don’t hold your breath on that.
Here are a few tidbits about Saudi Arabia’s treatment of women:
- Until recently, men didn’t have to advise women that they had been divorced. Now a notification must be issued by text message – OMG!!!
- Women were first allowed to vote in 2015 and to drive in 2017
- In 2018, women were allowed to enter sports stadiums for the first time
- Domestic violence was only made a crime in 2013
Here’s a great movie about the simple act of wanting to ride a bicycle, but being prohibited from doing so as a girl. It is the first feature film made by a Saudi Arabian female director, wholly filmed in Saudi Arabia:
The “boatload of money” that has been thrown at LIV golfers is just too enticing. Exit moral values. But, as we all know, athletes who excel in sports are usually all about themselves – that’s the only way to make it to the top: with an unwavering determination and a total commitment to what they do. It’s an interesting dilemma that male golfers must face.
On the other hand, the PGA has suspended all 17 defectors. Apparently, it’s “their way or the highway”. I’m not sure I like that concept, regardless of who is circling overhead. It’s downright un-American. We believe in a free world, don’t we? Yes, the PGA has its rules and regulations and, by virtue of being a member, golfers agree to abide by the PGA rules. Likewise, players are free to do what they want. Hmmmmmm.
“Not in my wildest dreams did I think we could play for that much money in golf.” (Charl Schwartzel)
“Where the money comes from is not something … that I’ve never looked at … I think if I start digging everywhere where we played, you could find fault in anything.” (Charl Schwartzel)
But what about us? Of course, we can do what we want. Watch PGA or LIV tournaments, or both. Without good matches and high levels of engagement, neither franchise will flourish. In the end, it’s up to us, not them. Now that’s power!
The U.S. Open starts 2 days from now at The Country Club in Brookline, MA. The next LIV Golf tournament will be held 2 weeks later at the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Oregon. Happily, both events will not be held on conflicting days. At least that part of the game is civil.
Now take what you’ve learned and play today’s Breakaway LIV Golf Quiz of the Day:
1. Download Quizefy app.
2. 250 free gems will be instantly deposited in your name
3. Start playing immediately for free
4. Have fun and Strut Your Smart!