The Open Championship can’t come soon enough.
Amid all the disruption in the world of golf, in which LIV has poached some of the stars from the PGA Tour and will play its first tournament in the U.S. this week in Portland starting Thursday, The Open Championship looms large.
It is the last major of the 2022 season and this marks the 150th anniversary of the tournament, which takes place at the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland July 14-17.
And there is one golfer who will be mentioned prominently, Tiger Woods (Bridgestone Tour B XS), leading up to it.
He targeted the tournament as one in which he’d like to play because of the historic anniversary.
In a year in which money became a primary reason for the likes of Phil Mickelson (Callaway Chrome Soft X), Dustin Johnson (TaylorMade TP5x), Brooks Koepka (Srixon Z-Star XV) and Bryson DeChambeau (Bridgestone Tour B X) to join the new tour, Woods has remained true to the PGA Tour.
Before or presumably at The Open Championship, Woods can shed some light on the apparent offer of about $1 billion to join LIV. So far, it is a rumor, but if Mickelson received an offer of $200 million and Johnson $100 million, $1 billion to snag Woods is not unrealistic.
And given the fact he wouldn’t have to play in many tournaments, it would seem to be something that would attract him.
But so far LIV hasn’t been able to sweeten the deal enough for Woods to leave the circuit that has garnered him fame and fortune.
Or Woods simply can’t be bought.
He has done everything he’s wanted to do in the sport, and presumably all he wants to do now is remain healthy enough to one day play in a PGA tournament with his son, Charlie, who is 13 and has shown some of the same prodigious talent his father displayed at the same age. By my calculations, it will be at least nine years before Charlie joins the PGA Tour if he goes to college and sticks it out for four years.
Who knows where the world of golf will be in that time?
Will the PGA have survived the LIV challenge?
Will LIV eventually come to an end because it can’t attract a viewing audience and/or sponsors?
Will there somehow be a merge of the two leagues, which has happened in other sports?
Will LIV try to woo the younger Woods sometime in the next nine years to pull of a coup that may or may not include his father?
And if that’s the case, will the father advise his son to stay the course – pun intended – and follow the path that will eventually take him to the PGA Tour?
The way I see it, LIV has signed several stars who are past their prime, have yet to hit it or are somewhere in between. Who knows what to make of DeChambeau? He had the golf world abuzz with his weight gain, power and performance following the PGA Tour’s return following almost a full three-month hiatus in 2020 due to COVID-19. DeChambeau has been mired by injuries and poor performances in the last year and his status has fallen so much that he is not even considered a major threat.
As for Koepka, who reversed his tracks by joining LIV after saying he wouldn’t do it, he has always been about playing in the majors. He never much cared for the other tournaments and he can still play in the majors because the PGA has no say in that matter.
LIV’s debut in the U.S. will make for some interesting media conferences. I’m sure Greg Norman, who heads up LIV, will be asked about the tournament, its backing by the Saudis and his remarks about Rory McIlroy (TaylorMade TP5x), saying he has been brainwashed by the PGA Tour.
I guess Norman will give new meaning to Shark Week this week.
By joining LIV, players are forfeiting the chance to play in the Presidents Cup September 19-25 at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. I think it’s not a big deal. The Presidents Cup is an interesting concept of a team of Americans playing in a tournament against a team of internationals, but for the most part it’s gimmicky, in my opinion.
Right now the PGA Tour is in a battle it can’t win financially with LIV. PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan readily admits that. While the PGA Tour can up purses to try and keep their stars from jumping, ultimately LIV can still raise the stakes.
Ultimately, unless it can’t convince Tiger Woods to join its tour, LIV will continue to operate without the biggest name in this showdown of stars.