PGA Notes: Did Waugh Set Off A Week Of More LIV Bickering?
The PGA CEO makes interview claims and LIV Golf refutes. Plus, press conference schedule features odd omissions, a Mickelson v. Lynch Twitter spat, Dufner WD's and RIP to a great sports photographer.
My colleague Mark Cannizzaro says that due to a field comprised of all worthy players, “the Masters transcended the current bickering between the PGA Tour and its match-play threat, LIV Golf.”
He’s hoping the same can be said of the organizations running majors so that we the sport can move on. Not happening. Peace at Oak Hill East might even turn for the worse this week.
For reasons unknown, the PGA of America CEO gave an interview to The Times and may have increased the chances we’ll be hearing more this week about the dreaded ranking points/collusion/we-just-want-to-grow-the-game stuff instead of a PGA Championship focus.
I’ll cover the latest squabbling in an unexpectedly long Sunday morning-before-a-major edition of The Quad. Plus, a look at the curious press conference schedule, screen grabs of a glorious Twitter spat between Phil Mickelson and analyst Eamon Lynch, word that Jason Dufner will not be returning this week to Oak Hill, big news out of the
AT&T Raytheon Smith & Wesson Byron Nelson and the sad loss of a photographer who captured several iconic moments.
PGA CEO Says LIV Non-responsive On Ranking Points, LIV Claims Differently
In an interview with The Times’ Rick Broadbent, PGA Of America CEO Seth Waugh made some eye-opening statements regarding LIV Golf heading into this week’s championship.
Regarding world ranking points and his organization’s role in the Official World Golf Ranking, Waugh suggested LIV’s team component is creating issues for determining points. The former Deutsche Bank CEO also suggested LIV’s Golf model won’t hold up.
“Their logic about the team play being something significant that people can get behind I think is flawed,” he told The Times. “I don’t think people really care about it. And I don’t see how it’s a survivable business model.
“They can fund it for as long as they want to, but no matter how much money you have, at some point burning it doesn’t feel very good. I don’t see they are accomplishing much.”
Waugh also revealed specifics of the battle over world ranking points, suggesting the ball is in LIV’s court, something the Saudi Arabia-backed league is refuting.
“There are certain parts of their structure that can be solved by math, but there may be some pretty fundamental things that are harder,” Waugh said. “There’s the potential conflict with the team aspect and then access - how do you get relegated and promoted?
“They had our latest response weeks ago and we haven’t heard back. They have made a bad assumption that this will be a quick process. It never has been. Every application has taken a year-plus as far as I’m aware.”
LIV’s one-year anniversary will be in July.
“I can’t speculate (on how long it will take) because they have not responded,” Waugh told The Times, repeating the non-responsiveness claim. “They may have to solve things as well, and it’s not clear whether they’re willing to.”
But SI.com’s Bob Harig details the process to date and shares a response from LIV regarding Waugh’s remarks.
“At the end of April, we received a letter from OWGR which asked for us to further clarify some points that we have already addressed, as well as some additional queries they have pertaining to the financials of our business model,’’ a LIV Golf spokesman said in a statement given to Sports Illustrated. “We have asked them to clarify why they need that information and they haven’t responded that email or our queries.
“We have also been categoral that we are willing to make adjustments, but to this point, they have not provided any direction.”
It’s hard to know who to believe. But one thing is certain: Waugh’s comments won’t help with the peace he also yearned for in the The Times interview.
Though Waugh did curiously suggest LIV and the PGA Tour work toward “some sort of agreement” and that The Masters “set the stage for, frankly, civility.”
PGA Press Conferences: LIV-Free
The PGA of America has announced this week’s press conference schedule and they’re noticeably free of one former champion, the Masters runner-up and two-time PGA Champion Phil Mickelson.
Also not on the list is the other Masters runner-up and also a two-time PGA Champion, Brooks Koepka, nor is 2021 Champion Golfer of the Year, Cameron Smith. But the winless Cameron Young, who finished 7th at The Masters, will be regaling us with stories of growing up in Scarsborough which, sources say, is not near Rochester.
Hardly an ideal way of diffusing the charges of collusion leveled this week by Mickelson in a quickly-deleted Tweet. Though he referred to “colliding,” this was presumably in a mistaken rush to gripe about the plights of his LIV peers Tringale, Munoz and Kokrak: