Defections and absurdity highlight odd week in golf

Each week we ask our panel of writers, PGA members and golf industry experts to weigh in with their views on the hot topics of the day.

Robert Garrigus, who is ranked outside the Top 1000, has asked the PGA Tour for a release to play in the first LIV Golf event in June. And LIV Golf is expected to announce the venue for the eighth event of their 2022 Series will be Doral Golf Resort in Miami. The final LIV event is scheduled for October and the top 4-man team will be splitting $16 million from a purse of $50 million. This is obviously getting real very quickly and players must be watching closely. Do you expect the flood gates to open this year and many PGA Tour players trying to get into one or more events?

Michael Schurman, Master Professional / Hall of Fame Member, PGA of Canada: This is only the beginning! Fifteen of the top 100 players in the world have entered the first L1V tournament and are asking the PGA TOUR for a release plus another 55 players from various tours have also entered. More than likely most will receive it (an exemption) because the first event is out of the USA. The big loser will be the Canadian Open which is the PGA TOUR’s event that week. Doral has been announced as the 8th site and comes with a $50M team format, purse. This was entirely expected as Trump (The owner of Doral) finds one more way to earn a big check for hosting the tournament for his friends, the Saudis as he fights back against the PGA TOUR for taking their WGC away from Doral and to Mexico. “Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord”.

TJ Rule, Golf Away Tours (@GolfAwayTJ): Well, at least I’ve heard of Robert Garrigus!  It doesn’t sound like they have great interest from top players, but who knows if that changes.  It’s hard to predict how many guys are frustrated with the PGA Tour and decide to take a chance on making tons of money.  Having a tournament at Doral is interesting to say the least, particularly since the Tour moved their WGC event from there a few years ago.  I don’t expect any floodgates to open myself but it’s hard to know for sure.  Just wait and see, I guess!

Hal Quinn, Freelance Writer, Vancouver: Damn, took Garrigus in my LIV pool. Now everyone will take him. There may be a few guys signing who could, on a good day, give Robert a game. But with the Tour not giving releases to conflicting events played on U.S. soil (and LIV in bed with Trump venues among a few others), the fields will likely be more “who dat?” than “must watch!”

Peter Mumford, Fairways Magazine (@FairwaysMag): The latest reports have Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzl and Sergio Garcia following Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Phil Mickelson to some LIV events. I believe that’s just the start. Maybe international players will set the tone initially, but U.S. based players will be squirming at the thought of all those foreigners playing on American soil for bigger purses than they see on the PGA Tour. As long as the LIV money is real, it will become too hard to resist and players will put pressure on Commissioners Monahan and Pelley to find some accommodation with Greg Norman’s group before the year is up. I expect we’ll see World Top 10 players throwing off their shackles and competing for Saudi oil money shortly.

The Match is back for another kick at the can. This time there are no professional golfers involved, just NFL quarterbacks, with Tom Brady (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers) teeing it up against Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills) and Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs). The Match will be a 12-hole affair at The Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas on June 1. Are you likely to watch? Why or why not?

Schurman: I wouldn’t watch it. I also wouldn’t watch a celebrity hockey game played with PGA TOUR players. On second thought, maybe seeing them crawl around on the ice might be entertaining. I watch sports to see the best perform in competition. It might be classed as entertainment, but I appreciate the hard work and skill development that goes into it. Stick with your vocation.

Rule: No chance.  I like each of those athletes…when they play their own sport.  I don’t have an interest in watching average golfers play a match against each other.  Perhaps if they played on a course that I would like to see like Pine Valley or Cypress, or even the Old Course, then I’d watch.  But I have no interest in watching this “Match”.

Quinn: If this momentous Match is replayed some rain-swept evening, and I don’t lose control of the remote and end up watching something with subtitles on Netflix, then ya, will catch a few minutes just to see Allen’s and Mahomes’ swings. Only good thing about this is the charity angle. Yet, if the guys’ trash talk is funny (the Tour’s and the NFL’s insidious betting partners must have lines on that) then some shut-ins may watch it.

Mumford: Our celebrity obsessed culture seems willing to watch just about any absurd reality crap, as long as a famous name or face is attached. Maybe if they can distill this 12-hole Match down to five minutes of great shots, bad shots and needling, it could be shown as comic relief on Golf Channel. I probably still wouldn’t watch.

Golf season is just getting started in most parts of Canada. Is there a course in your area that you’ve never played that is on your list for 2022?

Schurman: The only one in this area I haven’t played but would like to is Goodwood.

Rule: I’m lucky to have played most courses in Ontario that I want to play, so I’m more looking forward to playing some courses again that I haven’t seen in many years or that have changed substantially.  I’m hoping to get to see Hamilton’s changes, and really would love to see Westmount for the first time in 20 years!

Quinn: Horseshoe Bay is on the left as the Sea-to-Sky highway starts its climb from the Lower Mainland (and Vancouver) north to Whistler and beyond. In the Bay is the charming Bowen Island, a 20-minute or so ferry from the Horseshoe Bay harbour. Topping my list is the 9-hole Bowen Island GC. It measures (not “about” 3,000 yards) precisely 3,003 yards from the back of three tees. Start times are 15 minutes apart with a fee of $40. Islanders report that the Russ Olsen layout is beautiful with sea and Coast Mountain views, and so is the ferry ride (well, it is BC after all).

Mumford: I’ve played Toronto Golf Club a few times but not since Martin Hawtree did a major reno in 2009. By all accounts it’s even better than the H.S. Colt original, which was spectacular. The old Frank Whibley course in Orillia was also spruced up a few years back and renamed Braestone. It’s been getting good reviews from friends and colleagues, so it’s on the list for 2022 as well.

The Round Table
The Round Table is a panel of golf writers, PGA members and industry experts.

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