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Opinion: LIV’s glorified exhibition tour will ruin world golf


There’s a narrative that LIV Golf will be ‘good for the game’. Do not be fooled, it is merely lining the pockets of the rich and endangering the standard of play we enjoy today.

Tournament golf was born on Scottish links 162 years ago with the objective of crowning a champion. It was competition in its purest form with those contesting all vying to be the best. 

For generations this ambition has symbolised professional golf and driven golfers the world-over to work tirelessly on their game and perfect their art in a bid to extract every morsel of talent from their being. 

This ethos has produced sporting legends in Hogan, Nicklaus and Woods and is the reason golf is in such a healthy position today. 

The PGA Tour was established for these golfers.

It rewarded them with greater prize purses and the opportunity to showcase their talent by going to battle in fields brimming with the world’s best. It has and continues to inspire those with professional golf aspirations to one day join them. 

LIV Golf and its current format completely flies in the face of these principles and everything tournament golf was founded-on. 

Players are being paid exorbitant sums of cash just to join. It is more money than they will ever need, and more than they will ever make in LIV prizemoney. 

Mid-tournament cuts were introduced in golf to reward those who play well and motivate those who don’t. But in LIV there is no weekend cut and everyone gets paid, no matter their score. 

How will golfers remain driven to improve and succeed when they are playing tournaments with zero history or traditions for what they now consider spare change?

It is literally disincentivising a significant portion of the most talented golfers in the world from continuing to hone their craft to the level they once did. 

Furthermore, it does not prepare them for the pinnacle of golf being Major Championships.

LIV events consist of 54-holes with a ‘shotgun start’ tee-off – or golfers teeing-off at the same time on different holes, and finishing at the same time on different holes for those not familiar with the term – this is not Championship golf. 

Majors are a war of attrition, not just a test of skill. Golfers must perform in the most difficult of circumstances for 72-holes and execute under the pressure of playing in the final groups over the closing holes on Championship Sunday – it truly separates the best from the rest. 

Competing under these circumstances is an ability that will be lost amongst LIV golfers and the product they deliver will gradually decline in-line with their ambition. 

We will be left with a smaller pool of elite golfers on the world stage and golf’s greatest showpieces will suffer as a consequence. 

The LIV movement is not an appropriate response to the much publicised player grievances with the PGA Tour. These players are not underpaid or mistreated and a rebel tour will not improve the professionalism, product or position of the sport like previous revolting factions in sporting history. 

Throwing hundreds of millions of undeserved dollars their way further amplifies the elitist image of golf in the eyes of millions and cheapens the fabric of the game.

The money they are now earning will not improve their lives in any drastic way or introduce them to experiences they couldn’t already access with the money and privilege they had – but it will potentially rob them of meaningful experiences and achievements on the course  – a legacy that will mean far more to them on their deathbed than an extra $100 million. 

And if it doesn’t? That’s ok. But do not pass off your defection to LIV as an opportunity to grow the game. 

It is a glorified exhibition tour and a fracture of the game that if not mended soon will leave irreparable damage. 

Picture of Mat Barnes
Mat Barnes
A self-confessed sports nerd who would spit the dummy as a kid on family beach days so he could stay home to watch the cricket - Mat has lived and breathed sport his entire life. Following a three year stint as a Sports Statistician with Fox Sports Australia, he has since enjoyed an extended period in the golf industry helping grow the game he has loved since he was a kid. While Mat loves golf amongst many other sports and codes, his passion for the NRL and the Newcastle Knights is borderline obsessive!

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