Last week, we had the first head-to-head of the season between the PGA Tour and Live Golf, and frankly, I haven't seen television ratings. I'm pretty sure that the Honda Classic did better than Live Golf Mayakoba. Of course, I don't really think that's fair because nobody knows that there's golf on the CW. Zero people know that.
Basically, a dog pushing on a remote control gets about the same. It is unfair to judge Live's popularity, I guess, based on the television rating. But I do want to talk about the PGA Tour event that we watched at Honda, and then some other things with Bob Harrig of Sports Illustrated.
I appreciate your time, sir. Good story with Chris Kirk and a great finish there. Even dunking the ball in the water on his approach shot on 18, then having to survive Eric Cole not making birdie to win.
And then winning in a playoff. I thought it was a great story. He's a pretty good player that's kind of gone awry the last couple years. Yeah, for an event that was supposed to be lackluster or thereabouts because it didn't have the great field that we'd seen the previous two weeks, it was really a pretty good tournament. The end was very compelling. You had a lot of great storylines of guys who haven't been there or in Chris Kirk case hadn't been there in a long time. And it was a great tournament. It was great story for Chris Kirk. And he's had a lot of personal issues, depression, alcoholism that he's come back from.
He's talked very, very openly about it. Eric Cole, a rookie. God, if he wins, he's in the Masters.
He's in Kapalua next year. There was a Monday qualifier in top 10. There was a lot of good stuff there. And it does show the other side of golf that we sometimes forget. And I'm guilty of it, too. We get fixated on field strength. And sometimes there's just good golf being played. Well, there's probably, I don't know, 150 guys who play the PGA Tour regularly. They're not all in the top 50. And a lot of them, a lot of that, you know, the next 100 are capable of winning. So I thought, yeah, to see these guys, you know, Chris Kirk has won. Sun Jae In plays every week.
So doesn't make a difference what the event is. He's going to find himself in it. He didn't play so well. Wasn't vintage Sun Jae In. But there are good players in there. And it's cool. That's their opportunity also to get into those elevated events. And we've seen a few of those. And it's hard to argue with whatever they came up with.
It's hard to argue against those things working because we've seen just star after star after star threaten and win. Well, first of all, you know, Chris Kirk was eligible for Riviera the week before and chose to skip it. He chose it. He skipped a 20 million dollar purse. Figured I'm better off playing at the Honda Classic because that course is better suited to me.
And look at how it paid off. And, you know, the way the system works now, you know, I'm afraid they might change it too much. But these designated events like this week's at the Arnold Palmer's 120 players the following week, the tour championship is one hundred and I believe it'll be one hundred and fifty. Right. I mean, that's the entire tour.
Basically, you know, they're they're not discriminating against you. If you if you were in the top twenty five one twenty five last year, you're in the players. And, you know, the next one after that's the match play, which is obviously only sixty four. But then then you've got the RBC, which I think is one hundred and thirty two player field masters. I mean, these are full field or nearly full field tournaments with cuts. And I hope they don't mess with that too much because it's not really haves and have nots. You know, there's there's the opportunity to get into those tournaments. And even if you're not in them, the other events like the Honda, like the valve spawn a couple of weeks are still offering FedEx points that are very close to what these events are offering. So your ability to get to the FedEx playoffs is really not diminished that much.
No, I agree. I think the the thought process going into it was that we were going to see a separation of just haves versus have nots. And that really isn't how it's playing out.
And that's probably better for everybody because it would be it would be hard to complain. And we know how competitive the tour can be live rather than talk about Mayakoba, because, again, the popularity of it and the television ratings, I think we can get lost in it. It was the first one. Nobody knows where it is yet.
Maybe over time it'll it'll work out on TV there. Their player ads this year were other than Bubba Watson actually playing. He was part of the tour last year, but nonplaying Thomas Peters, who plays mostly on the DP World Tour and Mito Pereira, who almost won the PGA a year ago and will be in that tournament this year. But that those are their two major ads. What are have we seen the best, the most excitement we're going to see from that tour? Or is there another, I don't know, wave for live coming up? There's no wave of player defections coming up. They claim they're locked in that once they had their teams.
Set that there would be no changes this year, and so it's going to be interesting to see how they do because they have to make it on the golf alone. You know, the drama or the intrigue over new guys showing up won't be there, right? And, you know, you, you know, I, you, you pointed out, yes, the ratings, whatever, whatever metric you use, there was quite a disparity that it appears. I agree that people have to learn where it is. Although I would argue that the CW is not as obscure as some as some want to make it out to be. It's it's a it's a regular channel on most almost all cable packages. You know, it's a it's a local affiliate. You know, it's just that we're used to ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS. And oh, by the way, there's also the CW, which has its own typically has its own news operations. Yes, they take a lot of syndicated programming. But I argue, look, the US Open and the British Open first two rounds are on USA Network. You know, the CW is really USA light. I mean, and the NCAA tournament, which is coming up here really soon.
You know, on the first weekend, I'm pretty sure it's just the first weekend, maybe the second weekend as well. Some of their games are on true TV. Yeah, I don't know where it is.
Either do I. But if there's a game, if there's a game that's on there, you find it. That's why I say if you want to watch live, you'll find it. And so I just think what hurt them for this first event was they had a lot of off season issues that I think hurt their momentum. And so they needed to be hyping their first event for weeks. And instead, they were getting their schedule out. They were announcing them deal with CW, which was about five weeks ahead of time. They were still finalizing their 48 players on the Monday of tournament week. You know, they didn't get the last team players announced. Then they were announcing their other teams on Wednesday, Thursday of the Genesis when Tigers playing. I mean, it's just like I don't think they did that. You know, they didn't mean to do that. But like it circumstances evolved that that's what happened. And that's just, you know, everybody, if you're a golf fan, you were paying attention to that. You know, and so they've had, I don't know, I don't want necessarily want to say they were missteps, but they've, they've either been thwarted by bad luck, lack of momentum or missteps.
And so their first event rolls around and, and, you know, I would have thought it would have done better against the Honda classic, which really didn't have a single name player on that leaderboard over the weekend. I mean, big name player. I guess Shane Lowry was up there.
All right. I mean, you know, in a, in a way, live has bigger names when you think about. And they're all, they're all on TV at the same time. It's not like you're missing them. So, you know, the Shambo and, and Koepka and cam Smith and Dustin Johnson and fill and, and I mean, even Charles Howell to a large degree is a fairly big name.
He's been around for 20 years. Right. You know, so in any case, they've, they've got a lot of ground to make up, you know, and I don't think they have to ever match the PGA tour, but they, they probably need a bigger audience than they've had.
Well, yes, it's probably bigger than it was when it was just on YouTube. Maybe that would have been a better excuse. One more thing that I want to get to with Bob Herrick from Sports Illustrated, and that is we're seeing a lot of reports about what's in those player contracts now that have come out. And it does seem like all the stuff that Greg Norman sold and he's the CEO of live golf for people who don't know all the stuff that Greg Norman sold about freedom to play wherever you want. And, you know, Mickelson talking about, I wanted rights to use my own image, my own media.
None of that stuff is allowed. They have to play every event. Mickelson has no rights to his own media.
They must represent live in every public golf event that they play in. It doesn't seem like any of the things they complained about, they were getting from live. Well, you know, I think there's a couple of fair points you make there. One, a couple of areas where I'm not pushing back, I'm more just clarifying. Phil's thing about his image and likeness, he meant he, you know, he couldn't profit from it. And that's true. When you, when you're a member of the PJ, you sign that over and look, it's not, it's not a secret. It's just how it is.
Okay. Now with live though, his team in theory is going to be able to benefit from that. So he indirectly would benefit. That's where it's different.
He would get nothing. Now the tour, the PJ tour is trying to start an NIL thing, but I mean, in the past, he would have gained nothing from his image and likeness. Now there's the potential for that because each of these teams is, is tasked with selling itself, you know, trying to create value for the team.
So it can be a franchise like we think of a team sports. So I would, I would, um, you know, that's where I would, I would sort of clarify that on the stuff that Norman has said, he, he did a poor job of explaining what he meant by that. Because yes, you're right.
You are limited. If you play live, you're basically an employee. Yep.
It's, it's, it's not a two way street. What Norman was saying was, Hey, you know, why can't these guys go back and play the PGA tour? As long as they, as long as they meet their commitment there.
Okay. Well, that's sort of what he was arguing for, but to meet the commitment there, you'd have to do it around playing those 14 events, which are locked in. And then you've got to play 15 on the PGA tour who plays 29, you know, and I mean, and, and, and I mean, to his point, and then the other side of it is, is you're not just free to go play live.
If you're on the PGA tour, it's locked, you know, live, live has a couple of flaws that they would do themselves a favor if they correct it. One is now they're going to take care of one of them at the end of this year. And, and I'll give them this because they were just getting started and, and, you know, but at the end of the year, they're going to have a qualifying tournament. They're calling it their promotions event. The last four guys in theory on the tour are going to lose their spot.
They're going to get so-called relegated. And, and, and one of the spots will be taken by the guy who leads the international series, which is an elevated series on the Asian tour. And the other three are going to come through their promotions event, which is a four day qualifying school, which, which is basically open to just about anybody in professional golf.
If you have any status whatsoever. So that part is a box that they're going to check, but they don't have a 36 hole cut. And even in a 54 hole event, you can have a 36 hole cut, or you could at least do it for like eight of your events. You know, you don't have to do it for all the PGA tour.
Doesn't do it for all right now. So the PGA tour right now has five events that are no cut. And they're talking about adding, you know, to this, to your point of, we were talking earlier about these designated events and how good that is. They're threatening to mess it up by making some of them no cut events, which right, you know, kind of feeds right into lives. But I mean, if Liz had say, you know, let's say they had nine, nine of their eight of their events as no cut or as a having a cut, first of all, what do they lose? The guys who missed the cut are still getting paid. They could still stick around for the team thing and play it. They just, their individual score doesn't count. And then the other thing they're missing is that, you know, look, there's a lot of ways they could do this or could have done it, but you need access by the week. Now, the Arnold Palmer this week doesn't have a Monday qualifier, but most PGA tour events do right. What if you had a Monday or Tuesday qualifier for live and you took the top four scores and they just formed their own team that week, you had one outlier team that could, you know, obviously the total hail Mary, you know, uh, you know, uh, underdog team. And obviously these guys can play for the individual purse.
It wouldn't, it wouldn't hurt at all to go from 48 to 52 players. You'd have to, they actually had in their shotgun start. They actually have two open holes. You could have two, two sums on those holes. Sure. There are things they could do to check these boxes that would, that would really help them and give them a little bit more credibility.
People wouldn't be able to take shots. The small fields really is, is, is nitpicking. There's a lot of small fields in golf. Um, the 54 holes is nitpicking. There's numerous tours that play 54. They're mostly developmental tours, but they do play them.
Um, so, you know, but they're, they've sort of been their own worst enemy on some of this stuff. And, and, uh, look, you know, it's going to be about the golf. Did we care that Charles Howell won the other day? Um, are we going to care about the team concept? You know, all of these things are sort of, you know, what has to play out and they got a long way to go this year. You know, they're playing into October. So, um, you know, and w with their events kind of spread out. So we'll, we'll see. They, they, they don't play now the next two weeks, they're off.
Do they, they need to figure out a way to gain some traction and that's not going to be that easy. Yeah, we need, uh, we need standings. I need to see, I know the crushers lead. I need to know where the majestics are, where the cliques are, where the, uh, the range goats are, uh, Bubba Watson needs to remember, uh, what he's supposed to say about range goats.
Bob Herrig Sports Illustrated at Bob Herrig on Twitter. I appreciate your time, man. Be well, talk to you soon. Thank you. Take it easy. You got it. Bob Herrig here on the Adam Gold show.
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