McDowell welcomes news of ‘Merger’ as golf will be in a better place going forward

Bernie McGuire

Graeme McDowell (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

By Bernie McGuire, Valderrama

Despite a continuing uncertainty in the men’s professional golf, Graeme McDowell has welcomed news of the first steps in a coming together of the warring factions in the game.

Of course, the sports world is still in shock at the news earlier this month of a ‘merger’ between the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour with the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), and this coming after a controversy that has torn apart the men’s game, seen long-lasting friendships end and divided golf fans the world over.


McDowell signed his name to LIV Golf, as the only Irishman joining a tour boasting some of the best names to play the game.

He was asked his reaction to the news released earlier this month ahead of this week’s inaugural LIV Golf Valderrama, on a course that played host to some of the game’s best tournaments including 21 European Tour season-ending Volvo Masters, two WGC events, Andalucian Masters events and the highly-emotional scenes we witnessed at the 1997 Ryder Cup.

“We were all surprised and this was something that we all wished would happen in the future, but then no-one expected it to happen quite so fast,” said McDowell.

“Most importantly, it’s great for the game going forward.  We are all excited about it, what it means for the sport.  I don’t think any LIV player ever wanted to be seen to be fracturing the game, and in the way we have seen it fractured in the last 12 months.

“That is not what LIV is all about, so in watching the game of golf come together in the future we are all curious, and kind of excited, what this may all mean.  I don’t think anyone knows what it means.  I am not even sure that the decision makers at the very, very tip of the spear have worked out what it all means, and that clearly it is going to take a little time to evolve.

“I am guessing it would take 12 to 18 months just to figure everything out, as there will be a very, very long list of items that need to be addressed and questions, and what it all means for all the golf tours of the world along with the players, the best players and where everybody fits in.

“Like I say, we can only speculate but the most important thing is that the game of golf is in a better place moving forward for everybody”.

And with the first-year anniversary of the very first LIV Golf event outside of London taking place next week, McDowell has spoken of the struggle he faced soon after joining the ranks of the new golf league.

“When I joined LIV, I struggled for a few months with the controversy and it took me a while to settle in, and as we sit here now 12 months later, and with the belief levels of the product and having spent 12 months among my fellow LIV golfers, and the brotherhood and the LIV team out here that makes LIV tick, we just feel so much more comfortable and confident about the product,” he said.

“It was a start-up and we really didn’t know where it was all going. It looked a little bumpy coming out of the blocks both personally and emotionally.

“It was very difficult, at times, to focus on golf. Was it going to be a one and done, with all the noise and all the crazinness that was going on but we knew that PIF and how much belief Yasir and his team have in the game of golf, and how much they love the game of golf, and that was comfort I took in the very beginning.

“Now 12 months later, it’s been worth the initial pain to a point now we really feel like we have something special, so much so, that we continue to grow and take the LIV product positively into the future.

“It’s been everything I would hope it would be and it’s been a long journey”.

It’s an understatement to say that the hosting of the inaugural LIV event a year ago was ground-breaking, and now that golf fans have witnessed what LIV Golf is about, it’s continuing growth has certainly silenced many knockers as it continues expanding the fan base.

It’s for this reason McDowell looks forward to returning to the tournament in a far better and positive frame of mind than a year ago.

“There was a lot of trepidation a year ago with golf fans a little scared to commit given what they were reading in the media about LIV Golf, so I am confident things will be very different going back to the Centurion Club a year on,” he said.

“I am hoping when I get there later next week golf fans will be excited about the product and come out and support us, and cheer for some of the best players in the world.

“We have only been scratching the surface over the past 12 months knowing what the LIV Golf franchise is about, so I am confident moving into the future that the team format of LIV will grow and grow, and become something really compelling to the fan and at the end of the day that is the most important thing that the fans come to watch some of the best players in the world out there playing for something they care a lot about, and they’re competing against each other more often.

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