LIV Golf weighs money against morals


Photo courtesy of Dan Keck.

Caroline Hendrix, Opinions Editor

The key feature of golf is the integrity of the game. But that integrity as we know it is threatened.

An alternate golf tour, LIV Golf, has taken over conversation since its first event in June of 2022. Critics of LIV call on viewers and members to question whether its funding can be ethically justified. They also urge the public to consider the impact that an alternate series to PGA Tour will have on the game overall. 

Last Thursday, CW Network announced that it would be working with LIV Golf to air their tournaments. This comes as a surprise since LIV Golf was unable to find any television outlets that would work with them in 2022 and could only air their events through streaming services.

NYTimes describes their struggle to break into the sports industry. Major networks like ESPN, CBS and NBC decided against working with the league due to its direct competition to the PGA Tour that has been working with these brands for decades.

According to ESPN, this also comes as a surprise to those who have consumed The CW in the past since it will be the first time they air “live mainstream sports.”

While many top golfers stayed with the Tour, some have agreed to hundreds of millions of dollars and a membership with the new league. Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed and Sergio Garcia are among those who have signed on to play in LIV events.

Surely, there has to be repercussions from the PGA, right? They announced at the time of the first LIV tournament that any players involved would be suspended from the Tour and more recently, they have decided to not renew memberships into 2023 for players that have moved over to LIV. 

I can’t be the only one who is thinking about the implications of the growth of LIV on the way we consume and enjoy golf. Part of what has made golf so enjoyable is getting to see all of the top players together and on the same course.

Seeing the best golfers interact with each other on and off the course was just as much entertainment as the golfing itself. Will we ever get to see Mickelson and Woods competing again?

LIV is an alternate league and might open up more opportunities for other competitive golf tours to rise, splitting up even more players into events. While this might create more room from rising golfers to compete in professional events, this might also jeopardize viewership for certain events depending on where top players end up.  

This discussion extends far beyond sports. The Times’ Ben Hubbard stands in opposition to LIV Golf with his belief that “Saudi Arabia’s backing of the new series is the latest example of the way oil-rich Gulf monarchies use their vast wealth to invest in sports and cultural institutions in hopes of raising their countries’ international profiles and shifting how they are viewed by people in Western countries.”

Yes, the emergence of LIV has created conversations surrounding the pay that top golfers can expect compared to other sports. But this should not distract from the reason that LIV has been created in the first place. If there is truth behind Hubbards’ argument, then it is imperative that LIV not distract us from the political and socioeconomic climate of its funding sources.

Money blinds us just as it may have to some of the world’s best golfers, but the golf community should be critical and wary of LIV’s intentions going forward, especially as it reaches a wider audience as a result of partnership with The CW.

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