The LIV Golf Experience Is Weirdly Fun, But It’s All About the Money

Bedminster, NJ – Well, what did you think?

For those of you who noticed the LIV golf tournament at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster this week – whether you were on the field and watched the circus live or streamed over the Internet – did it feel like an actual sporting event or A three-day circus with only lions, tigers and elephants missing?

A winner was crowned on Sunday afternoon – 46-year-old Swede Henrik Stenson. What this actually means in terms of a golfing outcome – other than a $4 million winner’s check – is up for debate.

Stenson’s victory was mostly compelling as he had been stripped of his European Ryder Cup captaincy by the DP World Tour just 11 days earlier, the moment it became official that he had joined the Saudi-backed tour.

In an ironic twist, had it been a DP World Tour-sanctioned event, Stenson would have garnered significant Ryder Cup points and boosted his chances of being a player on the European team.

But there are no points associated with LIV golf. No world ranking points, no Ryder Cup points.

just money.

it is enough.

Live
The 4 Aces team of Pat Perez, Talor Gooch, Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson spray champagne after winning the team competition.
Rich Grassley

Of course, this is the primary reason why every single one of these players is part of this tour, despite the various press conferences they’re trying to sell you on.

“The game is progressing.”

“Softer, more manageable schedules.”

“New and exciting team aspect.”

“Helping to show the effort Saudis are making to normalize themselves as a nation known more for its formidable human rights record.”

We’ve heard from players about all the reasons why they’ve joined LIV Golf. They all except this one: “I did it for the money.”

It’s okay that the players have taken the money. They are independent contractors. More power to them. Strike while the iron is hot. Just don’t try to put a crap on the public that insults everyone’s intelligence – especially the intelligence of the players.

For those who have seen it live, the reality about LIV Golf is that they put on a good show, a fun show. Was the Frog x Navy SEAL parachute team fluttering down the golf course from the sky before the first ball hit the shotgun start from above?

Live Golf
A woman giving beer to fans standing on the 16th T-shirt.
AP

Perhaps. But amusing.

Do Golf Fans Need Jugglers?

Probably not, but good for kids.

Music playing all over the golf course?

I’m good with it.

This week’s LIV event featured additional sideshows of former President Donald Trump, who owns the golf course on which the tournament was played.

Trump’s appearance – and it was a very public appearance as he stood like a statue in his luxury suit, overlooking the signature par-3 16th hole.

That’s where most of the crowd spent their time, looking at Trump and saying “Four more years,” and “47” and “You’re still our president.” broken into mantras.

These spells were booming on Sunday afternoon for about 75 yards, from where Matthew Wolff was pitted on a birdie putt that could have cut Stenson’s lead to a shot with only three holes left.

“Golf? Who cares about golf? Did you see Trump there?”

The whole scene gave the week the typical feel of a political rally.

Trump
Former Presidents Donald Trump, Tucker Carlson and Marjorie Taylor Green, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., during the third round of the LIV Golf Invitational Series Bedminster.
Rich Grassley

The only person whose ego was better than that of Stenson was Trump, who positively built a base of adoration in his backyard.

LIV Golf has its flaws, of course. Shotgun Start creates some confusion when you’re trying to follow leaders. The team element can also be confusing, especially since teammates are not grouped together.

I find one of the most humorous elements to team competition is the fact that a player can play like a 15-handicap and still cash a hefty check if his team performs well. Portland, Ore. In 2011, for example, Pat Perez scored an 80 in the final round but his team, the 4 Aces, won the team event, which pays out $3 million. Cut to four, Perez walked away with $750,000.

The 4 Aces won the team event in Bedminster, NJ on Sunday, meaning another three-quarter mile for Perez, who finished the week 5-overs and miles out of contention. So, for those of you who were scoring at home, Perez cashed in a cumulative $1.5 million in team competition over the past two events, well, you know.

You will understand that this kind of free cash money will make a man very happy. Yet after his round on Saturday, when a young boy approached Perez for an autograph, Perez never stepped into his walk, grabbed the boy’s pen and paper, signed it, and never gave it a go. Handed the child back without looking him in the eye.

Weird.

But strange describes the whole experience.

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