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Season 2 Of Full Swing Starts Off Too Much About The PGA Tour And LIV Golf



I’ve just watched the first two episodes of Full Swing Season 2 and have to admit I’m disappointed.

What I liked most about the first season is how it was all about the players, their personalities, their struggles and gave you insights about collectively the people they are on and off the golf course.

We saw them in their homes and their personal family relationships. I found that intriguing.

But in Season 2, it picks up on the division between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, which became the biggest thing to happen to golf in a long, long time.

Netflix lucked into the political fighting between the two leagues. It was built-in drama and Netflix teased us all with a trailer. But the series started off too slowly with the opening episode that portrayed the friendships of best buddies Jordan Spieth (Titleist Pro V1) and Justin Thomas (Titleist Pro V1). I found it too saccharine. The second episode was about multi-major winner Brooks Koepka (Srixon Z-Star), whose career had gone from the very top to the very bottom as he struggled to make putts. By the end of the season, Koepka jumped to LIV Golf.

In Season 2 Rory McIlroy (TaylorMade TP5x) is once a major part of the series. In Season 1 he was portrayed as the PGA Tour shield, standing behind the league that gave him his start and to which he pledged his loyalty. It worked out in the end for McIlroy and Netflix when he won the Tour Championship.

In Season 2, McIlroy is portrayed as the player most affected by the surprising merger between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf. The PGA Tour players who were caught off guard by PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan’s decision without consulting them. McIlroy stated Monahan had “galvanized” the players against LIV and then went ahead and partnered with them. McIlroy said it was hard to not feel like a “sacrificial lamb” and it was “hard to swallow.”

“Why did I just waste 12 months of my life to sort of fight for something that was always going to sort of come back together again?”

He told a reporter he felt the players who stood behind the PGA Tour rather than taking the LIV Golf money should be financially compensated.

That is followed by Dustin Johnson (TaylorMade TP5x), the biggest name at the time to join LIV for a reported $150 million, He is shown on his boat, Just Chillin, fishing. On Season 1 he stated unequivocally he had no regrets about going to LIV. He says in Season 2 if he had to make the same decision, he would.

“We knew what we were signing up for,” he says.

He and his famous wife, Paulina Gretzky, who was also shown in Season 1, are now enjoying more family time together. Incidentally, given Paulina’s background as the son of hockey great Wayne Gretzky and actress Janet Jones, and being an influencer I thought Netflix didn’t make a bigger deal about her in Season 1. Well, this omission was not repeated. Paulina gets plenty of face and interview time.

The narrative switches to Rickie Fowler (TaylorMade TP5x), the onetime superstar on the PGA Tour, who decided not to switch to LIV. A reporter says Fowler is brand conscious, so going to LIV would have been “a bit of a heel turn.”

And here’s where Full Swing gets back to the people and their trials and tribulations. Fowler is shown with his wife, Allison who is a former track and field athlete in college and still very much in good physical shape.

“I do have abs, but they are under this protective layer,” says Fowler.

Fowler’s history is portrayed, the 25-year-old wunderkind who in 2014 finished top five in every major, which had never been done before. He had a legion of fans then dressed in his trademark orange hat and gear, the color of his college team. He did a rap video and with his long hair was compared to a member of a music boy band. One commentator says Fowler in his prime was the biggest “needle mover” since Tiger Woods.

But nine years later he has fallen on hard times and is struggling making cuts. His wife says it has been “gut wrenching” sometimes to watch him struggle, even more so because he doesn’t want to talk about it, though he is learning to give more of himself. He reunites with his former swing coach Butch Harmon and says he is believing in himself again. He is asked about the PGA Tour players and LIV Golf players playing together in the U.S. Open for the first time since the partnership was announced. He says he doesn’t see it as a big deal, but also wonders what LIV Golf would be like if backed by Amazon or Apple.

Then comes a clip from a news conference in which recent Masters winner Jon Rahm (Callaway Chrome) is asked about the PGA Tour.

“You want to have faith in management. I want to have faith this is the best thing for all of us. It’s clear this is not a consensus (among the players). The general feeling is a lot of (players) feel this is a bit of betrayal.”

And here’s where I felt Netflix made a critical error – at least at this point of the series. Rahm’s Masters win is basically glossed over by what happened to Koepka, who finished in a tie with fellow LIV golfer Phil Mickelson (Callaway Chrome Soft X) for second. Mickelson took the most criticism for joining LIV, but tying for second was a remarkable achievement for many who thought he was past his prime. The big question going into the tournament was how the LIV golfers, who had an easier schedule, would fare against the PGA players.

Rahm had started 2023 on a wave of success that he carried all the way to his first Masters win. There is so much to this story, so I’m presuming it will be told. Perhaps it will be in the last episode because he surprisingly jumped to LIV for a reported $700 million.

Wyndham Clark (Titleist Pro V1), a relative unknown at the time, wins the U.S. Open playing in only his seventh major. His best finish previous to that was a tie for 75th. Again, Clark’s story was one of the most heartwarming of 2023, but again we’re left waiting to see that told later in the series because the focus is on Fowler. He started off the first two rounds with the most birdies in tournament history but then tailed off and finished tied for fifth. Johnson also plummeted after a solid start and ties for 10th. He is embraced by Paulina and their young son. McIlroy finishes second and laments how he “wants to get one of these (effin’) things sooner or later.”

Two weeks later, Fowler wins the Rocket Mortgage Classic in a playoff. It’s his first PGA Tour in more than four years. He celebrates with his wife and young daughter and later says in a media conference how now he gets to “exhale and take a deep breath” after all that happened to him the last few years.”

I really hope the remaining episodes are more about the players and less about the politics.

Perry Lefko
Perry Lefko
Perry Lefko is an award-winning writer who has published nine books, three of them bestsellers. He has been involved in sports writing for more than 35 years and has interviewed many superstar athletes. He lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada and enjoys watching golf and playing it.

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