I HAVE been following with great interest the developments between the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) and the DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour) versus the LIV Tour.
I will quote from an article in Golf Digest by Joel Beall and Dan Rapaport that sums up the schism perfectly, “The emergence of the Saudi-backed circuit has resulted in break-ups and alliances, and caused suspensions and lawsuits. It has made a game known for its civility become uncivil and brought politics and human-rights issues into a space supposedly reserved for sport. It has spurred reactions that span the emotional spectrum, from intrigue and excitement to existential angst and dread and everything in between.”
The response of the two golf associations was to suspend the players who competed under the LIV banner and to fine them.
The DP Tour won in arbitration against the players who defected to the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Tour and the court of arbitration upheld the rulings and the players will have to pay a 100,000 fine. In pounds sterling.
That the PGA has increased the financial rewards and more of their events demonstrates the veracity—at the least to some point—of LIV.
So the solution has been to throw more money and to take LIV to court?
Like most of the time, the entity with the most money as well as the ruling body will win.
While I can understand that the players wanted to secure their future while playing fewer events and rounds of golf, think about it. Another organization provided the platform to succeed and become household names, then they are ditched in favor of the new league that dropped a lot of money onto their collective laps.
This is no different from when the European Super League tried to break away from the UEFA Champions League. The backlash was terrible against these top clubs. Thus, they lost.
Domestically, it is different. When all these clubs from the old MICAA broke away from the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) to form the Philippine Basketball Association. Or when these schools left the National Collegiate Athletic Association of the Philippines Philippines to form the University Athletic Association of the Philippines.
And there’s the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas that formed a different group from the existing BAP.
Volleyball? Come on. How many federations are there?
I understand why there is a need to protect the existing establishment. You need to protect it because some other entity with more money can come in and take away everything that took a long time to build. And that is how the PGA and the European Tour believe when encroached by LIV.
It could also be a difference in opinion or vision that can cause a rift. But if that is the case, then anyone with serious beef can just pull out and put up his own. Doing so could leave the entire body fragmented beyond repair.
On the other hand, having one lead organization might not have the appropriate checks and balances and could turn out to be dictatorial and too powerful.
Well, since the anti-LIV people have called out the Saudi backers for their human rights abuses—thus, politics entering this sport, then maybe we can call out these lawmakers of the land.
On one hand, they are supposed to represent the people. But do they really? They pass rules and laws that at times are not equitable, just, or even representative of the majority.
It is easy to say that in the case of golf, the players—or even in football, the clubs—have gotten greedy. It is especially hard to fathom that Brooks Koepka is trying to secure his family’s future when he makes millions and millions of dollars every year when most people will not earn what he does in one won tournament as opposed to their lifetime of toiling in crap jobs.
I believe people should be rewarded for their worth. Now, where worth and contributions end and where greed sets in is a gray line that is tough to determine.
I am all for allowing LIV or even the European Super League. A little competition will not hurt. Maybe, it will trouble the existing powers. But that is good because it keeps them on their toes.
Besides, if they were ardent students of history, they will know that the upstart league doesn’t always last (because they too aren’t students of history).
Still have the popcorn. Am waiting for more fireworks between the PGA/DP World Tour versus LIV.