Before we get started, this will mark my 1,000th blog for Barstool Sports!! Thank you for reading along. Even if you're a hater. I'm sure this subject matter won't be at all polarizing.
OK...on to business...
We've made it. We've regressed to grade-school name-calling when it comes to this whole spat between the PGA Tour and
Fifty-Four LIV Golf, specifically here with regard to Rory McIlroy.
Rory made a gallant stand at the podium time after time to fend off Saudi Arabia's bottomless well of Public Investment Fund cash and preserve the dignity of his tour. Mr. Commish Jay Monahan then turned around, sold out to the PIF, and as Rory said yesterday, the hope is that all that money ultimately makes the game of golf better in the long run. PS though, Rory still hates LIV.
…That's all this quote from the LIV exec feels like it's a response to. Worth adding a little more context from the OG report by The Fire Pit Collective's Alan Shipnuck, as the courageously anonymous LIV exec talked his shit about Rors:
"To get its investment back, or even turn a profit, the PIF is counting on selling the 12 LIV team franchises, in which the PIF has a 75 percent equity stake in each. (The team captains own the other 25 percent.) Internally, LIV has thrown around $500 million valuations, which seemed like science fiction…until the merger. As part of Norman’s all-call, LIV’s global head of partnerships, Monica Fee, spoke about how her phone has been 'ringing off the hook' since the merger announcement, citing Marriott, Anheuser-Busch, Fox and ESPN as those who had already made inquiries. Getting the stamp of approval from the PGA Tour has allowed LIV to be openly embraced by corporate America, at last. (This has always been part of Al-Rumayyan’s vision, too; how many blockbuster deals will the PIF now do by leveraging relationships with the Tour’s sponsors?) If LIV can get some of it tournaments on network TV through the Tour’s existing deals (still a big unknown), that brings a whole new level of visibility, and value, to the franchises.
"So how would all of this work? Conversations with various LIV insiders leads to a consensus of a schedule of maybe a dozen tournaments. Some would be slotted on dark weeks when no traditional Tour event is being played, but a handful would be co-sanctioned as part of the new unified schedule. Imagine the riveting frisson of an event with the six strongest LIV teams and a half-dozen squads of Tour regulars! LIV had already been considering an expansion to 14 teams. Doing so for 2024 would be a way to make whole some of the embittered players who turned down mega-offers. Says one LIV exec, 'Now we can finally get Hideki [Matsuyama] and Jon Rahm. I would say every big name on the PGA Tour will get an offer. Except Rory. Nobody wants that little bitch on their team.'"
Let's dispel what this LIV clown has to say outright. Rory McIlroy is not "little", bro. I'm assuming this exec ain't a lady. Hard to imagine a classy lass calling one of the planet's best golfers a bitch.
Rory is the Average Height King of golf. There has never been a more efficient, power-based swinger of the driver in the history of the sport. Combine that with all the swagger, charisma, transparent meetings with the media and embracing his role as chief ambassador for the PGA Tour, and it's pretty hard not to like the guy. I could also count on one hand the amount of prestigious tournaments Rory has yet to win. He's still very much in the prime of his career and has plenty of time to get those done. So there's that.
But like seriously what is this LIV exec on about?? The entire premise of your league is purely driven by money, no matter what the optics are. For these prospective head-to-head, co-sanctioned team showdowns between LIVers and PGA Tour diehards, the needle would not move near as much if Rory McIlroy weren't involved. Like, what could possibly be better for business than Rory teeing it up in a team format against bitter enemies, some of whom he's shared time with on international teams!?
Oh yeah. And as if Rory isn't a one-man electric factory in team formats. Mr. LIV Exec, have you seen the Ryder Cup at all?
"HUHHHHH YEAH but Rory called us out and I'm all butthurt about it so he doesn't get to play with us!!!"
Pssssssh. Miss me with that shit, LIV Exec Person. It's almost too easy to dunk on you given how visibly stupid you're being about this. If anything, you're the one who's a little bitch for not putting your name on that viral quote. Rory is out here on the front lines and making his opinion known about anything and everything. You're hiding behind the cowardly cloak of anonymity. Like all the commenters who'll inevitably give me worlds of shit for taking this stance. Have you not enough personal wealth to not give a damn, sack up, and make it known to Rory who you are? Appears not.
Am I being too harsh? Generalizing about LIV based on what one key member of their leadership said? Not to, um, "generalize" but rest assured the majority of prominent LIV figures lack self-awareness. Look no further than the beloved Bryson DeChambeau, who — HEAVY SARCASM INCOMING — you couldn't imagine not having on your team because he's such a good, not awkward, not fucking strange as fuck or out of touch with reality at all guy:
Important to note here that the PIF is the entity who's facilitating this unification of professional golf with the PGA Tour and DP World Tour. LIV Golf is its own thing, despite being funded by the PIF. Or at least that's how Rory has framed it.
I know this shit is confusing as all hell. It's gonna take a while to sort everything out.
So I don't know 100% what team competitions would look like across PGA/LIV party lines. LIV seems determined to press on and exist independently in spite of the PIF/DP World Tour/PGA Tour unification. They do have assloads of money still, yet like the Fire Pit report states, the PIF will want to turn a profit off these LIV franchises and are bound to sell them off somehow. Again…the machinations of this are too complicated to understand this early in the proceedings.
All I know is, if team golf is going to be a real thing going forward, I want to see the PGA Tour create their own teams with less-shitty names than what LIV came up with. Don't mix and match LIV and PGA guys if possible. Then you get Rory and PGA guys vs. the LIV bros, spark an innate rivalry and watch business boom for all involved.
Just a hunch, LIV Exec: Pretty sure damn near anyone would want Rory McIlroy on their team. There might not be a better, more loyal teammate than Rory given how much he's stood up for the PGA Tour throughout this wild LIV ordeal.