PGA of Australia CEO: LIV Golf players still welcome to play in home … – Sports Business Journal

PGA of Australia CEO Gavin Kirkman said that Australian golfers who sign up with LIV Golf will “still be welcome to play in home events,” according to REUTERS. The Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship are co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour. Kirkman said, “The players coming home to play, as long as there is no conflicting event they will be welcome to play.” LIV has said that it will “expand to Australia next year,” and the series could have “three events in the country in 2023.” That could “bring plenty of big-name players to Australia,” which has “often struggled to lure them to events due to the distance and relatively modest prize money on offer.” Kirkman said that his tour could “not control how LIV operated in the country and that it needed to look after its own business” (REUTERS, 8/11).
UNLIKE ANY OTHER DEPARTURE: GOLF.com’s Dylan Dethier wrote Cam Smith’s reported pending departure from the PGA Tour is “unlike any other LIV member.” LIV’s top-ranked signee is currently world No. 18 Dustin Johnson. Smith is No. 2 and The Players champion. It would be “particularly awkward” to return to TPC Sawgrass — the “crown jewel” of the PGA Tour — next season without the defending champion. But while Smith leaving is a “very big deal,” it also is “not that different.” Dethier: “We knew there were a few more top pros that were going to make the leap to LIV by year’s end.” Their defections “won’t be endless,” but what Smith’s signing would “cement is just the idea that neither side appears to be going anywhere.” People are “just figuring out the specifics of war” (GOLF.com, 8/10).
CHANGING THE NARRATIVE: In London, Thomas Kershaw it has “been very easy up until now to dismiss the gimmicks of LIV’s format … as a watered-down exhibition lacking the essentials of elite competition.” LIV was “derided as a refuge for those who had cashed in on the twilight of their careers.” The possible signing of Smith is a “significant riposte to that narrative.” He is the “first to defect who is not just at the peak of the game but still entering the prime of his own” (London TIMES, 8/11).
STAYING AND LEAVING: In New York, Mike Dougherty notes Cameron Young was “linked” to LIV by the London Times yesterday. However, a source said that the 25-year-old Young “isn’t likely to join” LIV. The source said, “He has been contacted by them, but at this point is very strongly inclined to remain on the PGA Tour” (Westchester JOURNAL NEWS, 8/11). Meanwhile, GOLFWEEK’s Riley Hamel noted two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson on social media announced that he has “resigned from the PGA Tour” as he plans to join LIV at a later date (8/10). On the players leaving for LIV, Billy Horschel, who has pledged his allegiance to the PGA Tour, said, “They’ve been brainwashed. The way they feel so adamant that they’re going to be back on the PGA Tour” (GOLFWEEK.com, 8/10).
THE STARS OF TEXAS: In Dallas, Tim Cowlishaw writes Scottie Scheffler, Jordan Spieth and Will Zalatoris are “here to save the PGA Tour.” It appears they will “be around for a while, having given no indication of defection.” Scheffler earlier this year won four tournaments in six starts earlier, Spieth “remains as popular as ever and sits,” and Zalatoris is 12th in the FedExCup standings heading into the playoffs (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/11).
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