Major(s) News & Notes September 22, 2022
LIV ramps up their grievance game with a desperate world ranking points push. Plus, Rome Ryder Cup tickets, Turnberry in the news, Hagestad's 59, Podcasts and Reads.
Days to the 2023 Masters first tee shot: 197 days
Days to the 2023 PGA Championship 239 days
Days to the 2023 U.S. Open first tee shot: 268 days
Days to the 2023 Open Championship first tee shot: 302 days
Days to the 2023 Ryder Cup first tee shot: 373 days
Unwilling to rest after prying an abundance of despicables from the PGA Tour for lucrative, lightly-streamed exhibitions, the LIV Golf folks doubled down on their world ranking problem. The Saudi Arabia-backed tour petitioned Old Course Hotel Managing Director and Official World Golf Ranking president Peter Dawson to retroactively recognize events while demanding immediate recognition in the name of maintaining ranking “trust.”
This, as Dawson is trying to sort out who gets Road hole views for next week’s Alfred Dunhill Links while ruminating over the delicate call to decide who gets to overlook the service entrance. (Don’t worry Louis and Charl, the seagulls usually pipe down around 3:30 a.m.)
Seems the LIVsters have expedited this OWGR fight despite not having much chance under their limited-field, no-cut, 54-hole structure (maybe they should read Sean Zak’s primer for a recap). Now, it’s conceivable several of the players are just so intellectually-challenged they assumed the OWGR would come to their rescue before the 2023 majors. Or they got bad advice. (The Masters, U.S. Open and The Open offer a significant number of spots to OWGR-ranked players who earn points on recognized tours. The PGA Championship does not use the OWGR.)
The letter to Dawson and player signatures:
The case was not bolstered by petition “signatures” where Bryson and Bubba went with the automated docu-sign option, while others did their best quick scribble. Granted, Bryson was dealing with a scratched cornea after an unprovoked gallery rope attack and the subsequent social media roasting.
Bubba was unwinding from a broadcasting stint regaling viewers in all the forced friendships he’s picked up thanks to team golf.
While touching to see LIVlifes looking out for the OWGR’s brand integrity, it’s hard to imagine their plight improved with the latest stunt. Then again, nothing pulls those British heartstrings like rolling out a Big 10/SEC college football analogy!
Greg Norman’s Elon-inspired daily effort to make the news cycle has solidified the LIV brand as one of petulant grievance, tinged with suspicious desperation. Speaking of LIV’s living brand, Norman posted on Instagram charging how he’s not “been asked not to attend” the QBE Shootout he founded, while in the same post announcing he has “decided not to attend this year’s event so the focus can remain on the missions at hand.”
Wednesday’s edition of Mr. Shark Goes To Washington was also a mistake. Inexplicably, around 75 members of Congress attended a free lunch to hear Norman reel off his stock grievances. The reviews were awful, except from the esteemed Matt Gaetz.
In other news of the majors…
Rome 2023 Ticket Ballot Opens
Those hospitality areas overlook the 12th and 13th holes of Marco Simone Golf Club. More importantly, details are light on who is doing the food. Because when in Rome and paying those prices…
Hagestad Shoots 59 At LA North
Fresh off a respectable defense of his second U.S. Mid-Amateur title, Stewart Hagestad posted an astounding 59 at Los Angeles Country Club’s North Course, host of 2023’s U.S. Open.
As Ryan Herrington notes at Golf Digest, the round included a near miss for 58 caught on video. Hagestad played from the 6,466-yard Blue tees. The group included his former USC coach Kurt Schuette along with Jim and Campbell Ford.
Hagestad is currently exempt to U.S. Open Final Qualifying, his best hope for making the U.S. Open at a course where he is a member and played in the 2017 Walker Cup. Hagestad had 1-2 record as part of USA’s 17-9 victory.
Augusta National Par 3 Course Update
Those awaiting an invite to the new Par 3 course cabins at Augusta National can, via Eureka Earth, scout out the locations now that the buildings are taking shape and the revamped 9-hole course takes shape. No word yet on the names of the cabins. Hunch: a Roberts Cabin is unlikely.
As noted in prior editions, the early holes appear to have been re-routed to bring water into play. John Boyette previously reported on plans submitted for the project.
Turnberry In The News!
The four-time host considered in The Open rota but not an option “for the foreseeable future” made an appearance in the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit against the Trump Organization. The suit says the golf course and hotel was purchased for “approximately $60 million” but was valued by the organization at nearly $127 million despite annually operating at a loss since 2017’s re-opening.
“As a result using values for the golf course ranging between $123 million and $126.8 million based on employing the Fixed Asset Scheme is materially false and misleading,” the suit says. “The golf course should have been valued at a much lower figure.”
But the redesigned ocean holes are amazing!
Follow Up: The Presidents Cup Revamp
A conspiratorial type might have sensed an orchestrated effort was unleashed to propose the addition of women into the Presidents Cup. But given the PGA Tour’s current existential-threat communications crisis handling, I think you know otherwise.
Not long after my missive hit your email boxes, similar takes had already been filed with their respective editors and were posted at Golfweek by Beth Ann Nichols, at The Fire Pit by Alan Shipnuck, from Golf Digest’s Keely Levins and Kent Paisley, and on Live From by Paul McGinley. The onslaught of agreement should at least prompt the PGA Tour to publicly acknowledge they might explore the idea with their partners at the LPGA. (The Mayor of Steamboat appeared on Live From to peddle the new schedule revamp.)
I would add this: team Cup events are ceremonial exhibitions meant to spread the gospel of golf, goodwill and sportsmanship. Each of the longest running Cup events has changed in some way over time. Adding the world’s best women would be a natural evolution the event.
Podcasts: Fried Egg And McKie Talks The Open
On the latest Golf Design Matters, architect Scott Macpherson follows up with Course Manager Gordon McKie on the challenges of the 2022 Open. McKie against hosts a tournament next week when the Alfred Dunhill returns to St Andrews. The Apple option. Spotify.
Adam Scott on why he has passed on LIV:
“I have no major qualification guarantees for the years ahead other than the Masters. I think I’m very level-headed about the whole thing; I don’t have a problem really with what LIV Golf is doing, but at this current moment it doesn’t fit Adam Scott right now. I’ve focused on the majors really for 20 years.”
🇮🇪 Brian Keogh talks to Matthew McLean of Belfast, winner of the 41st U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. McLean is a 29-year-old optometrist who defeated Dublin’s Hugh Foley to earn spots in the 2023 Masters and U.S. Open.
🦚 Kim Masters on the prospects of Comcast potentially acquiring Warner Bros. Discovery in 2024. And why? “Obviously Peacock sucks,” said one executive “with knowledge of both companies.” And two functioning eyes.
That’s all for this week, have a great weekend,