You would think that the idea of the LIV, a Saudi-backed golf league that wants to compete with the PGA Tour, would come to fruition. The biggest names in golf have turned their backs on the idea, saying they will stay on the lucrative PGA Tour. And one of the biggest names in golf, one of the greatest players of all time, Phil Mickelson, is now somewhat self-exiled from the game as to why he defended the LIV idea.
But in the face of all this against LIV և its commissioner Greg Norman, LIV still manages to create some news. This week’s news is a bunch of names that are recognizable but far removed from the touring elite that LIV was pursuing earlier this year.
Rumors still have European stars Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter involved with LIV. The other names do not have to be new, but they are intriguing. Among those names are two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, as well as Kin Nan and Jason Kokrak.
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Watson, who seemed to be responding to the rumors, posted his summer schedule on Twitter without mentioning LIV, without mentioning any of the LIV tournaments on his agenda. Was it just a way to stop the rumors, or was Watson persuaded to change his mind even because of the news of the signing of the LIV? Several players seemed to have pledged their support for the PGA Tour in February after Phil Mickelson leaked comments about the league, Mickelson received a great response.
Watson’s name is especially interesting because Watson hosted Augusta National, the House of Masters, not only playing in the tournament as a former champion, but also participating in the Drive, Chip and Putt pre-tournament each year.
If you believe Norman, who is still the face of LIV, he has been left out of the Masters invitation list this year because he believes in supporting LIV. Will Watson want to risk it in his career?
It is probably not fair to say that other names will not be missed, especially if they stop the PGA Tour events, as many players have their own fans who like to see them play. But Na և Kokrak is far from Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson, some of the names that LIV has shown interest in in the early stages of planning. McIlroy never supported the LIV, Johnson was among those who said no in February, and Tiger Woods categorically rejected the LIV concept.
A league that will not leave
So why does LIV live? Part of that is that the PGA Tour has made a lot of changes over the last year, some of which seem to be direct responses to the LIV threat. These changes include the addition of wallets to most tournaments, the introduction of a Player Impact program that gives bonuses to potential “popular players”, and even talk of a new Fall Series team concept similar to LIV’s.
Another reason why LIV remains is Norman himself. For now, at least, Norman refuses to concede defeat, even in the face of the game’s best և biggest names, which give LIV a cold shoulder. In a series of interviews this week, Norman reiterated his belief that the PGA Tour could not bar players from participating in LIV tournaments, and that he believed LIV would play no matter who was on the field. He added that better players would eventually want to play for LIV money knowing they could beat league-registered golfers.
The PGA Tour և the golf status quo can feel good in last week’s Masters game, the strengthening of world number one Scott Scheffler with the Masters և the idea that Tiger Woods remains the և golf ամենամեծ’s most attractive attraction. LIV was not even thought of in Augusta National.
Will it be a deadly blow to LIV in the coming weeks? Norman, of course, seems to be going to keep the league going, even at the cost of a career or a legacy.
Larry Bohanan is a golf writer for Desert Ar. You can contact him at email@example.com or (760) 778-4633. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter at @larry_bohannan. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Desert Sun.
This article originally appeared on the Palm Springs Desert Sun. Greg Norman, a Saudi-sponsored golf tour, is struggling to survive.