Henrik Stenson is due to join LIV golf imminently. Disappointing and bewildering decision that he agreed to take on the Ryder Cup Captaincy, knowing that he had been approached by the Saudi Investment Funded LIV Tour and was seriously considering it.
He should have declined the captaincy and not have made a two year commitment to the event. This has made a serious dent on European morale and caused damage. If he has decided that the money is the most important thing then it’s his decision, he should go. But to have agreed to have taken on the captaincy knowing that this was going to be a serious option, was not right.
How depressing and disappointing this week is going to be, after a magnificent Open Championship.
In the film Field of Dreams there was a saying “If you build it, they will come”.
LIV golf are building their cast and are banking on the public coming and supporting their tournaments.
But at the moment there is no proper broadcaster, and having attended a LIV event, I personally felt that the structure of the tournament was half-baked, not properly developed. They are depending on the public getting behind the teams. So much money has been thrown at this to secure the players for what at the moment looks like an immature product, brassily presented. It may well attract a certain kind of fan – the ones who shout out “mashed potatoes’, “light the candle’ and “you’re the man”. LIV golf are welcome to them. In time these elite athletes will tire of playing in front a certain kind of fan.
The journalism surrounding this this week has been biting.
“What an astonishing mess this has become. LIV did not want Stenson, the once brilliant golfer who more recently has missed cuts in seven of the last nine majors.
They wanted a Ryder Cup captain as a means of weakening one of the great institutions of a sport they are taking over with vindictive cunning”.Despite contractual protections and assurances the Saudis got their man because disruption and destruction are their modus operandi. They have so far shot a dirty business equivalent of a round of 59″.
What this is is a destructive force of nature which is beginning to decimate the top of the European Tour in particular. But what happens if LIV golf fails to take off? The players won’t give back the money, they’ll just go off into the sunset. Perhaps this is how this whole sad civil war should be looked at. That there is a lot of work to be done to make this a worldwide viable product. Buying the players first has caused huge upset and disruption, but everyone is making a huge gamble here.
You may have built it. But the fans may not come.