LIV Golf, PGA Tour feud causing fans to leave, according to readers

LIV Golf, PGA Tour feud causing fans to leave, according to readers

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Earlier this month I wrote a column, sparked by a few emails from readers, asking a simple question: Is the battle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf causing some people to lose interest in golf and turn off their television sets?

That piece was enough to cause a flood of emails from fans, or former fans, of golf to echo what the first few emailers had said. The fighting, the defections for massive money and the split of top players into two tours have caused them to reconsider their love of the professional game. And they insist there is plenty of blame to go around.

In relaying some of those comments, two things must be made clear. First, some of the language was softened a bit to make it more palatable for print or even the internet. Second, I’d be happy to present the emails in support of the LIV Tour and what Greg Norman, Phil Mickelson and Jon Rahm are doing with that tour, but I honestly didn’t receive a single email praising LIV and its mission. Quite the opposite, in fact, though the PGA Tour didn’t escape criticism, either.

Ruth is one of the fans who no longer sees golf as an enjoyable television experience.

“Over the past few years, my TV has been hard-wired to Golf Channel as an escape from the news of our horrible politics,” she emailed. “Watching golf now just adds to the stress, as a reminder of how difficult our world has become; it is far from the enjoyable refuge it once was.”

Rich from Virginia said he’s stopped watching as much PGA Tour golf because the pros have proven to be petulant and greedy like athletes in other sports. But he also has a strong dislike for players who have jumped to LIV.

“It’s many of the others that have jumped to LIV that irk me the most – and are making me lose interest. Someone once said a man is only as good as his word, and I firmly believe that. That thought clearly renders DJ (Dustin Johnson), Rahm, and anyone else who swore allegiance to the PGA Tour only to change their mind when the money outweighed their integrity, as not good men,” Rich wrote. “Growing the game” is nothing more than a BS script that they are made to say, likely under legal – and maybe physical – threat.”

Eric is another reader who laments the greed of the modern player. While it is important to remember that pros are professionals because they play for money, Eric still sees problems with so much money today.

“I know the PGA Tour is in a tough place but I know I don’t really care about LIV and never will. I also think money doesn’t talk, it screams….but all the top players on both circuits seem to be only concerned with enriching themselves, the fallout be damned. For me, TV golf has become far less important now (and when I do watch it, I have it muted, but that’s a different gripe) and I am sure all golf fans just want all this BS to stop. It’s ruining it for everyone.”

Spitting at history?

Eric adds this little stab at Rahm.

“I say good riddance. When Rahm took the money after all his previous posturing about his fealty to the Tour, it felt like he was (spitting) on Arnold Palmer’s grave.”

There was plenty of venom toward Rahm, the latest golfer to jump to LIV less than a year after ripping that tour and its formats. Rahm’s payday for going to LIV is said to be around $565 million, but emailer John is not moved.

“I understand the former star has-beens wanting to limit fields. But Rahm? Come on. Really? 54-hole chum shows. I thought he had more grit than that. Major disappointment. Mickelson I get. He’s past his prime and had a chip on his shoulder like Norman. Take $200 million to milk his name. He wasn’t going to win on the (PGA) Tour anymore despite him saying he’s so close.”

Some readers were a little rougher on the LIV golfers.

“I for one will never watch LIV golf. The players who go there, are in my opinion, nothing more than prostitutes for the Saudi sheiks,” said Kenneth of Palm Springs. “As a result, I simply have stopped watching golf. I might watch the majors, but that is it.”

Emailer Bernie used a word that many used concerning Rahm — hypocrite. But he added a few frills.

“I am all for anyone making all they can, but it is difficult to support people who already are making millions who compromise their principles (my conclusion on what Rahm has done) to go after the mega millions,” Bernie said.

Before you think the readers are holding a PGA Tour love-in, remember comments like this from Brent.

“The PGA Tour Commissioner should have been fired long ago. His strategy was horrendous. There is no way you attempt to compete with a competitor that has limitless resources,” Brent said. He later added, “The PGA Tour Commissioner’s business strategy since day 1 regarding LIV has unquestionably damaged the game of golf.”

“Is the PGA run by anyone who understands how to protect their business from attack? NO,” said emailer Nicholas. “The fact the PGA didn’t get the majors to support a ban of LIV will lead to the extinction of the PGA Tour. People will look back and wonder how the PGA Tour let it happen. Morons – all of them.”

There were a few other responses, but the highlights of those emails were like those presented here. The PGA Tour has screwed up this battle, the LIV Tour is irrelevant to many readers and the fatigue from the name-calling and fighting is forcing some fans away from the professional game.

Larry Bohannan is the golf writer for The Palm Springs Desert Sun, part of the USA Today Network. You can contact him at  larry.bohannan@desertsun.com. Follow him on Facebook or on Twitter at @larry_bohannan.

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