LIV Golf makes fun of the major league organizations it needs to survive

In Jonathan Swift’s 1729 essay, “A Modest Proposal,” he suggests that, to solve the economic problems of the times, the poorest people in Ireland should simply sell their children to the rich for food. The parody that LIV Golf has been up to now makes Swift’s satire entirely reasonable.

LIV Golf launched Monday with more player announcements (Phil Mickelson) and continued on Tuesday as Dustin Johnson resigned from the PGA Tour, Talor Gooch he claimed he was not smart enough to understand sportwashing, e a general circus broke out to the largest LIV Golf stage to date.

And we haven’t even gotten to the part where Mickelson is talking.

Logos and team names are dropped for the championship at 48 golfers, and both appear to have been conceived in an art competition for the children of the championship participants. Majesticks, 4Aces, Fireballs and Iron Heads are just a few of the 12 club names and you can see the team logos below. All the money and most of the time in the world, and that’s what we get.

Unfortunately for LIV Golf, it is emblematic of how the past six months have gone.

Despite all this, the PGA Tour remains vulnerable. The players have hinted that they intend to play the major leagues and whether Johnson and Mickelson will demonstrate in the coming months that they are capable of fighting for history while also by shifting the decimal point on their annual fee, more stars will remove the moral obstacle they have placed in their minds (however low it may be) and make the leap.

LIV Golf also has problems, though. The first is that his demographics are more softball from the Beer League than the Cape Cod Summer League. At 38, Johnson is one of his minor stars. And while it certainly aspires to attract some of the best amateurs in the world (as it already did with 2021 US amateur winner James Piot), the question remains whether it can develop its own homegrown stars to conquer the PGA Tour as the top championship in the world. .

Maybe the folks running LIV GOlf don’t even bother taking control of the PGA Tour, but this definitely seems to be the desired trajectory. And even if you get the top five amateurs each year, those same golfers can become stars as they shoot 64 into the void at events no one is watching, or need the historical context of a collection of PGA Tour events (Riviera, Muirfield Village and TPC Sawgrass) or the major leagues to become stars Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa and Jordan Spieth?

This is a complex question with no right answer, but it leads to LIV Golf’s single biggest problem: it is making fun of itself in the presence of the organizations that are likely to control its future.

On the same island where LIV Golf launched comically named teams captained by people the average fan has never seen on Tuesday, in 50 days a golfer will win a 150-year-old pitcher as he hits a course where people have hit. objects with sticks from before the United States existed.

Rick Gehman, Kyle Porter, Jonathan Coachman and Mark Immelman react to the USGA’s decision to allow LIV Golf players to compete in the 2022 US Open. Follow and listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcast and Spotify.

Those ridiculous teams will play for $ 25 million later this week as they bathe for the crown prince of Saudi Arabia’s future tourism plans, and six weeks later, a city awash in one of the major golf championship major events. he will only think about the story.

How are both of these entities classified as professional golf? Has non-important golf ever felt this far from the four events that matter most?

If the major leagues make the stars – and the stars are what any league outside the majors depends on – the obvious logic is that the major leagues control the future of the regular season of professional golf, so to speak.

How does it happen? Through something called the Official World Golf Rankings, the founding members of which include PGA Tour, R&A, USGA, PGA of America, European Tour, International Federation of PGA Tours, and Augusta National Golf Club.

LIV Golf has applied to receive OWGR points, through which its players could maintain the status of the world’s top 50 or top 20 golfers so they can continue to make their way into the majors. COO of LIV Golf Atul Kholsa was recently questioned about this idea and said that LIV is “being processed at this time of the application to submit our application”. Whatever that means.

He also offered a monumental warning.

“But the [OWGR] the board is made up of the same people who threatened the players, right? Interesting, isn’t it, how everything is controlled by the same people if you want to play golf in this world? We’ll see how it goes “.

If the folks running the OWGR don’t recognize LIV Golf as a legitimate tour – a monstrous and sporty “if” at this point – then LIV Golf will be backed by DJs and Leftys in the short term, but will struggle to sustain itself over the long term. once those players stop playing in the majors and eventually retire. That is unless his business model is simply to eliminate players who have already made a name for themselves and are reaching the end of their careers. (Which could very well be!).

Ironically, however, by presenting itself as a freak to the world, both behind the scenes and surprisingly in public, LIV Golf has only authorized the major leagues to deny it entry into the golf landscape. The majors seem even more important today than they did 3-6 months ago. As “regular season golf” shatters, the majors have never felt so monumental. And with established power comes a huge influence that organizations can exert over entities like LIV.

The USGA announced on Tuesday that all golfers who have already qualified for the US Open 2022 will be able to play at the Country Club next week because it would be unfair to competitors to make a change to the established criteria. However, the USGA clarified that its decision “should not be construed as the USGA supporting an alternative organizational entity, nor supporting the actions or comments of individual players.”

The PGA Tour is not waterproof. An organization could present a better business model for the modern era and usurp what the Tour has built over the past 50 years. Nobody denies it.

However, after the recent humorous comments from LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman about Jamaal Khashoggi and the Saturday Night Live vibe about everything LIV has done to date, it is clear that it is not. That League. If major organizations have the choice (and it appears they do), LIV Golf has made the choice extraordinarily simple.

Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” is positioned as a historically relevant satirical work that “has become the symbol of any proposal to solve a problem with effective but outrageous cure.”

LIV Golf wouldn’t be featured for another 290 years after Swift wrote his essay, but I’m not sure it was ever described more accurately or prescient.

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