‘LIV London follows British Masters in a battle for admirers.’

For the first time, there is true competition for the attention of UK golf fans. The Betfred British Masters, which New Zealand’s Daniel Hillier won last week, put up a good display at the Belfry.

Now it’s LIV’s time, with their latest event at the Centurion Club in Hertfordshire, where it all began a year ago. Or London, as LIV likes to assert, with a stronger marketing eye than a poor grip on geography.

The devoted fans turned out for last week’s event in the English midlands. Despite the fact that just eight of the world’s top 100 players were in the field, the crowd was remarkably well-informed.

This was a welcome difference from the previous fortnight in the United States, where the galleries were few and corporate, particularly at the US Open. A same statement may be made about the women’s PGA in Baltusrol the following week.

Those who walked the Brabazon Course’s fairways were rewarded with a stacked leaderboard with DP World Tour regulars, but few were famous names, and the lack of star power was obvious.

By signing with LIV, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, and Graeme McDowell gave up their places on the European tour. The faithful Belfry supporters would have preferred it if those previous Ryder Cup heroes had been present.

Tour executives, on the other hand, saw LIV as an existential danger and initiated disciplinary action against players who signed for Saudi money. An impartial arbitration tribunal upheld the hefty fines and suspensions.

Westwood, Poulter, and McDowell were among the 48 LIV players who battled in direct competition to the British Masters last week alongside winner Taylor Gooch at Valderrama, a longtime European Tour powerhouse.

The Belfry made minor attempts to mimic LIV’s quest to attract younger audiences. A DJ played music on the famed par-four 10th hole, but the out-of-place sounds did not appear to impress many die-hard golf fans.

They were more interested about Oliver Wilson’s strategies for escaping a perilous lie in a back bunker and giving himself the best opportunity of avoiding water at the front, attempting to preserve par at a vital point in his third round.

That is the core of golf watching, and it held enough interest for the true connoisseurs gathered around the green.

LIV makes the environment more lively. A large grandstand by the first tee at Valderrama, the likes of which had never been seen in the facility’s years as a European tour stop, gave the venue an instant and rightfully big-time aura.

Nobody is surprised that LIV has vast pockets. According to a DP World Tour official, their competitors have a staging expenditure seven times that of a typical tournament on his calendar.

“Golf but louder” is the LIV catchphrase. The size and demographic of the attendees for this week’s competition at Centurion will be intriguing to witness.

People now have a genuine choice in terms of the type of golf they like to watch. Are 54-hole shotgun starts more appealing than the traditional four rounds played by recognized tours?

This week’s competition will feature more well-known players, including reigning major champions Brooks Koepka and Cameron Smith, as well as Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, and others.

How many tickets are they going to sell? Will we ever find out? Every day, they estimate 10,000 spectators.

Last year, the three-round tournament was well-liked by the fans I chatted with, but I couldn’t identify any who had paid to participate. The majority appeared to be there for free.

LIV are getting hotter on the curse of sluggish play, and last week penalised Richard Bland a shot during the second round in Spain.

Aside from that, the breakaway tour has revealed that award-winning talents DJ Snake and Alesso will perform at the end of play on Friday and Saturday. Craig David did it last year.

He clearly attracted a younger population to the course, although many did not arrive until the end of the day.

The BMW PGA Championship, which takes place in September and is billed as “London’s Festival of Golf” by the DP World Tour, has engaged Jax Jones.

Such activities are not new and were not motivated by the arrival of LIV, but competition has increased. Is this to the fan’s advantage?

When regulatory organizations on both sides of the Atlantic investigate the planned combination of the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, and the Saudi Public Investment Fund, this will be one of the primary questions they will consider.

Both the traditional tours and LIV have used the phrase “full steam ahead” in recent weeks, claiming that the new deal strengthens their position. However, both are navigating turbulent waters and uncertain futures.

Before it can shape the future of the professional game, the framework agreement between the three parties must overcome a number of challenges.

Meanwhile, the majors, including those in the women’s game, take on much more prominence. The recent KPMG Women’s PGA at Baltusrol felt far more worthy than the $20 million PGA Tour event that same week.

The female performers were paid half as much, but it was a well-earned sum that represented good value to the advertisers. The players were grateful for the support and for the opportunity to compete for life-changing sums, which added to the show.

And we now know that the increased huge money on the men’s tour are unsustainable, which is why they agreed to the proposed PIF merger.

Another large purse will be on offer this week at Pebble Beach for the Women’s US Open, which was worth $10 million last year.

For the first time, the players will be able to demonstrate their abilities on this renowned Californian platform, and many will regard them as deserving of the setting and every dollar they receive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *