BEDMINSTER, NJ – Well, what did you think?
For those of you who paid attention to the LIV Golf Tournament this week at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster – whether you were on the course and saw the circus live or streamed on the internet – did it look like a real sporting event or a three day circus with only lions, tigers and elephants missing?
A winner was crowned late Sunday afternoon: Swede Henrik Stenson, 46. What exactly that means in terms of implications for golf — other than the $4 million winner’s check — is up for debate.
Stenson’s victory was compelling, mainly because just 11 days ago he was stripped of his European Ryder Cup captaincy by the DP World Tour the moment it became official he had joined the tour supported by Saudi Arabia.
Ironically, had this event been sanctioned by the DP World Tour, Stenson would have earned significant Ryder Cup points and improved his chances of making Team Europe.
But there are no points associated with LIV Golf. No World Ranking points, no Ryder Cup points.
Which, of course, is the main reason each of these players are on this tour despite the litany of spurious reasons they’ve tried to sell you at the various press conferences that have taken place.
“Growing the game.”
“A more flexible and manageable schedule.”
“New and exciting team aspect.”
“Help show the efforts the Saudis are making to normalize as a nation known more for its horrendous human rights record.”
We heard all the reasons from players why they joined LIV Golf. All but this one: “I DID IT FOR THE MONEY”.
It’s normal that the players took the money. They are independent contractors. More power for them. Strike while the iron is hot. Just don’t try to inundate the public with nonsense that insults everyone’s intelligence, especially the intelligence of the players.
The reality about LIV Golf for those who saw it live is that they put on a good show, a fun show. Was the Frog X Navy SEAL Parachute Team floating across the golf course from the sky before the first balls were hit in the shotgun blast?
Maybe. But entertaining.
Do golf fans need jugglers?
Maybe not, but good for kids.
Loud music all over the golf course?
I’m cool with that.
This week’s LIV event featured the additional sideshow of former President Donald Trump, who happens to own the golf course on which the tournament was played.
Trump’s presence – and it was a very public presence as he stood like a statue in his luxury suite overlooking the signature par-3 16th hole.
This is where most of the crowd spent their time staring at Trump and chanting “Four More Years”, “47”, and “You’re Still Our President”.
Those chants were in full swing Sunday afternoon about 75 yards from where Matthew Wolff was lined up on a birdie putt that could have cut Stenson’s lead to one stroke with just three holes to play.
“Golf? Who cares about golf? Have you seen Trump there?”
The whole scene gave the week the distinct feel of a political rally.
The only person whose ego was better boosted than Stenson was Trump, who positively reveled in the adoration in his backyard.
LIV Golf has its flaws, that’s for sure. The departure of the shotgun creates some confusion when trying to follow the leaders. The team element can also be confusing, especially since teammates are unpaired.
I find one of the most fun things about team competition is the fact that a player can play as a 15 handicapper and cash a big check if their team does well. In Portland, Oregon, for example, Pat Perez shot 80 in the final round, but his team, 4 Aces, won the $3 million tag team competition. Cut four ways, Perez walked away with $750,000.
The 4 Aces won the team competition again on Sunday in Bedminster, NJ, which means another three-quarters of a mile for Perez, who finished Week 5 above and miles away from the competition. So, for those of you scoring at home, Perez has banked a cumulative $1.5 million in tag team competition in the last two events while playing like, well, you know.
You think that kind of free money would make a guy pretty happy. Yet after his tour on Saturday, when a young boy approached Perez for an autograph, Perez never stopped walking, grabbed the boy’s pen and paper, signed it, and handed it to him. delivered without even looking the child in the eye.
But weird describes the whole experience.
New York Post