A great week for Succession comparisons meant a bad week for me

Mark McGowan

PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

A quiet week in golf, eh?

Tom McKibbin winning his first DP World Tour title should’ve been the dominant narrative in Irish golf this week, especially after Rory McIlroy failed to make it a Holywood double-whammy at the Memorial on Sunday evening. I’m pretty sure I could hear the collective sighs of relief from the club’s bar staff as Rory began to stumble mid-way through his round, knowing there was little chance of getting home before sunrise if there was a double-celebration….

But anyway, it was the shady back-room dealings of the PGA Tour board and the Saudi Public Investment Fund that would monopolise the headlines, amidst rumours of backstabbing, selling out, and blatant and wanton greed, and the biggest victim of this was, of course, me.


Okay, I’m not a PGA Tour member who’d turned down eight and nine-figure sums in moral support of a tour who would then jump into bed with the dastardly regime they’d claimed were only interested in the ruination of the sport, nor had I lost friends or family members in one of the greatest-tragedies visited on the Western World back in September 2001. In fact, driving an old-fashioned petrol car and without the desire (or means) to get in the market for a hybrid or even fully-electric model, I’m quite fond of the copious amounts of oil that Saudi Arabia supplies and the cheaper fuel prices that result.

But what I am is somebody who’s only finishing season two of HBO’s Succession and if you’re in a similar boat to me there, then this was a bad week for you too. It took me a little while to get into it, and while I’m not fully gripped to the extent I was with The Sopranos, The Wire, or Game of Thrones, I’m just deep enough to think that I want to see how this plays out.

And just about everywhere I turned this week, comparisons were being made between the clandestine merger and Succession dealings, with potential spoilers on every printed line and being uttered on every podcast. Even our own Irish Golfer Podcast, which was an incredible listen by the way, delved into the Succession theme and I was forced to cover my ears and hum loudly to avoid hearing who’d back-knifed their way to the top.

I wasn’t one of the talking heads on the pod, by the way, in case you’re wondering if I’m blowing my own trumpet here. No, the contributors were my own colleagues who I’d naturally love to see crash and burn to further my own advancement in the organisation, so it’s with gritted teeth and no shortage of reluctance that I tip my cap here. Ok, maybe I AM getting a little too into Succession…..

I’m late to the party, of course, but if you haven’t watched the show yet, I’ll give you a courtesy sadly lacking among my fellow media members and give a SPOILER ALERT warning.

I’d watched a couple of episodes a few years back, and found the ensemble around whom the succession battle would clearly be fought entirely unrealistic due to their bumbling ineptitude, and clear incapacity to spearhead a global organisation. Deeply unlikable, highly narcissistic, with drug habits, paraphilia and a seeming-complete lack of empathy, each are unlikable in their own way, but as the show drew to a close and half the world seemed to be watching, I thought I’d give it another go.

I still hate just about all of the characters and find most scarcely credible and there are no guarantees that I’ll last the course, but they’ve grown on me a little and in the event that I do see it out, I don’t want the ending spoiled because Jay Monahan – the real life Tom Wambsgans and if you don’t watch the show, as far as season two at least, that’s not a compliment – and Jimmy Dunne did a backroom deal with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, and quite who is screwing who is yet to be determined.

But somebody is getting screwed, we can be sure of that. The running theme of Succession, and though fiction it may be is still grounded in reality, is that when ridiculous amounts of money and power are at stake, loyalty goes out the window entirely.

At least I still have loyalty to my old Honda Civic.

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