Weekend Wrap: LIV's Disruptive Future, Ryder Cup Follow-Ups And Betsy Rawls
Collapsing "framework" deal may mean more PGA Tour players jump to LIV with major ramifications. Plus, more Ryder Cup fallout and all-time great Betsy Rawls has passed at 95.
Now that a Stanford scientist has relieved us of guilt by chalking up all human behavior to a total lack of free will, we finally have an explanation for pro golf’s daily greed-driven stupidity and “grow the game” nonsense.
(I must note that white-belt wearing brats whining about a few lost pennies while delivering .01 Nielsen ratings was, amazingly, not cited as an example of the professor’s theory.)
As last week reinforced, bullish LIV Golf defectors and USA Ryder Cup protests over money seem like prime examples of otherwise talented people following strange base instincts seemingly out of their control. But there was at least some significant golf played with notable winners:
The Crushers won LIV’s team event at Trump Doral signaling that, mercifully, we won’t have to hear the thumping background “music” and attempts at announcer humor interspersed with CW house ads any time soon (no 2024 LIV schedule has been announced).
As genuinely awful a “product” as LIV is—I swear it was on for 15 hours Sunday—I could never last more than five minutes between the announcing and incessant C-list DJ’ing in the background.
Yet signs of a fraying “framework agreement” have the Saudi lapdogs talking a big game going into the holiday season. If even half the Cleeks and Majesticks’ bullishness bears out, what a wild winter men’s golf’s in for.
The Telegraph’s James Corrigan summed up the key moments nicely here (paywall), noting Phil Mickelson’s doubling down on his life as Jerry Maguire fielding calls from PGA Tour players desiring of a move backed by PIF cash.
“I don’t think that, I know that,” he said of more defectors. “There’s a lot more players that want to come than there are spots.”
Mickelson also told Golfweek:
“I’m excited about who’s coming for next year and over time, we’ll just keep getting better and better and getting better and better players. I know that, just like [Tour executive] Jimmy Dunne said in Congress, like it’s exactly what’s gonna happen.”
You may recall that Dunne told Congress that a merger with His Excellency And The Merry Swashbuckling Raiders was necessary because if just five players were lured away per year it would destroy the already star-thin and overextended PGA Tour.
Corrigan also notes that Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee saw all of this as Mickelson’s wishful thinking, but did cite a massive red flag that won’t have them baking many festive pizza’s at the Global Home staff oven.
Chamblee later recognised that it is “inevitable others will join” but insisted that “very few stars that truly make a difference”. However, he also conceded that “[Jon] Rahm worries me a bit”.
The Spaniard was notably quiet during the Ryder Cup, is repped by the same firm as Mickelson, and, well, the $400 million he randomly has mentioned not needing compared to winning majors is $400 million that is no longer headed for PGA Tour coffers as part of the awkward “Events Of June 6th CNBC Interview That We’d Like To Pretend Never Happened.”
Either way LIV begins its “transfer” season Monday and, besides Matthew Wolff getting kicked to the curb by raging captain
Patton Brooks Koepka, we’ll have to wait and see who LIV brings in. But as Corrigan notes, and as reported by the Palm Beach Post’s Tom D’Angelo, the upstart league is now willing to go up to 15 teams from 12 assuming enough rats are ready to jump ship.
The OWGR may just have to take another look at the Saudi league if that happens.
Finally, and as much as I hate to be the bearer of so much bleak news, the Post’s D’Angelo says the reported $5 million rental fee for Trump properties explains why LIV won’t be returning to The Donald’s properties in 2024. I’d blame Jared.
Schauffele: Headlines Skewed Dad’s Demands
Stefan Schauffele talked to anyone who would listen about the horrible plight of his son having to play the Ryder Cup for free.
From No Laying Up to multiple outlets including The Times and Golf.com, the elder Schauffele left no doubt about where he and his manbun stand by saying that his son and Patrick Cantlay were in strong agreement about the gross effort of for-profit entities reaping money off the Ryder Cup play of his (1-3 in 2023) son.
“I had to look back at what he said specifically, and he specifically said that if the tournament's for-profit, then players should get paid. He also said that if it's charitable – it should be a charitable event most likely and that everything should get donated.
“I don't know, when I look back on what he said, I think the headlines sort of skewed obviously what he was trying to say, but I don't think he ever really spoke directly to what you're referring to in terms of playing getting paid. He just said it should be either or, not really as confusing as it is.”
Just to recap, papa revealed that his son was essentially off the Ryder Cup team for a bit after demanding an agreement while demanding pay from Netflix, and probably skipped a team practice trip in protest while calling for the books to be opened up with a range of solutions offered that wildly contradicted his gripes about the PGA of America profiting off his son.
No headline skewed papa Stefan’s remarks.
Glover: Heartbreaking It’s All About Money (For Some)
Just when the fire crews were packing up and no embers were emanating from Rome’s Waldorf Astoria, we’ve got all available engines reporting to a Team USA flair-up after the spurned Lucas Glover went on Radio Sawgrass.
“It broke my heart the week after to hear about how splintered the room was and things about money and different things. That's not at all what the Ryder Cup stands for. And I'm not just going on what I've read and been told, I've talked to some people who were there in the fight, and it breaks my heart to hear that because that's not what it's about, that's not what it stands for and it's not why I want to play on that team.”
Glover’s a straight-shooter who isn’t known to make things up in hopes of getting attention.