Mutt: The L1V Golf Schedule for 2023 has been published. It’s gradually settling down and it’s easier to see how it might ‘threaten’ the well-being of the PGA Tour and, even more so the DPW/European Tour and Ryder Cup. A 14-tournament calendar, featuring 48 contracted players representing 12 “established team franchises” that will include a system of promotion and relegation through its Asian Tour events seems a lot closer to a meritocracy than was first thought.
Jeff: The devil will be in the detail. Any of L1V’s golfers who thought they would be cutting down on their travel are in for a nasty surprise. L1V will be going to North and Latin America, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Europe without clashing with any of the four majors but, what WILL L1V inevitably clash with? That’s a serious question and when there could be flashpoints and writs flying.
Mutt: Greg Norman seems anxious to push the team aspect of L1V Golf now. 12 four-man teams that will remain unchanged throughout the year will be sold to sponsors who will have the right to name them. Captains will be expected to build their franchises to attract fans and increase sponsor interest. Along with the 48-man, 12-teams field, no-cut events worth $25m in prize money, L1V has pumped $300m into the Asian Tour for “International Series” events. While the details on promotion and relegation have not yet been fully revealed, it seems players could earn their way into the LIV Golf League through their performance in these Asian Tour events, while those who finish near the bottom of L1V events would be relegated and replaced.
Jeff: Sounds like Livvers will be playing a full schedule, after all. It will be no place for semi-retirees. So much for Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson’s desire to play less. Those not fully committed will be relegated very quickly and forced to join an end-of-season Promotions/Relegation event side-by-side with aspiring new talent eager to play its way onto a team in 2024.
Mutt: I was talking to a fifteen year-old on the practice putting green the other day. He shocked me when he said: “top players going to L1V shows how each person has to make decisions about his future without sentiment. It’s just business”.
Jeff: I can’t imagine either of us saying something as deep as that at 15. Today’s 15-year-olds are like us in our 30s. We are living in an unfamiliar strange and fast-changing world! Maybe you should speak to 15 year-olds more often? Wise beyond his years, I’ll say.
Mutt: Life and golf are so similar. You deal in the present, coping with whatever situation you find yourself in as best you can – what matters is your next shot and making it the best you can. For some, not everyone, L1V Golf is their best next shot. That’s why all of Tours should get together and try to find how best to accommodate each other. L1V is also planning for 2024 and has promised to hold a Tour School at end of 2023 for 3 cards.
Jeff: Any mention of signing on fees in 2024? It seems they may be coming to an end?
Mutt: I don’t know but I do know any major winners in last 5 years can switch without restrictions; any player in the top 75 in OWGR plus the top 30 on the Asian tour will get a L1V card.
Jeff: How will they all fit into the 48 that will make up the 12 teams? Is all the big spending done? Will latecomers have missed the boat? Depends on who they are, I suppose? Not sure Rory would be welcome after mouthing off in Canada about his “one more PGA tour victory than a certain so and so.” The Shark is more famous for seeking revenge than his sense of humour.
Mutt: When L1V sets up a L1V Ladies Tour it will cause even worse trouble and would affect the Solheim Cup more seriously than the Ryder Cup. AT&T is rumoured to be linked with L1V. Adidas, it is reportedly said, wants in too and is ready to invest. A Japanese Company wants to sponsor Hideki Matsuyama’s team when he moves. That’s how the team captains can be paid so much.
Jeff: It’s also how fake news spreads. Time to relax and wait to see what happens next instead of speculating. When the FedEx Cup is over, we’ll know more. Can you imagine the brouhaha among the sponsor-partners if the PGA Tour bans 30 of its top 100 players?
Mutt: Whatever the size of the problem for Jay Monahan, it will be four-times bigger for Keith Pelley. When it comes down to it the real power rests with the players. The CEOs are their employees. The days of journeymen pros on the major Tours are over. Today’s generation want to play hard and run themselves ragged for 10-years and then, get off the merry-go-around and have a life. That mindset suits L1V Golf.