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Just how much has LIV golf damaged men’s professional golf?

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold
The Truth Network Radio
December 18, 2023 3:32 pm

Just how much has LIV golf damaged men’s professional golf?

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold

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December 18, 2023 3:32 pm

Adam Fonseca, founder and host of Golf Unfiltered joined Adam Gold to discuss the disruption LIV golf has caused for men’s professional golf. They focus on players such as John Rahm for quote-on-quote “growing the game” and what value is he to the PGA Tour. They also discuss the tension it’s caused among players and other related issues. 


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Are you feeling lucky? I watched the PNC Championship, a little bit of it this weekend, because it was an opportunity to watch the man himself. I'm talking about Charlie Woods, not Tiger anymore.

It's hard to watch Tiger, I got news for you, but I can watch Charlie all day long. And we will talk about that. Adam Fonseca, editor of Golf Unfiltered, joins us first time for Adam on the program. Hey, thank you very much for making a little time for us today.

I appreciate it. But your piece in your blog and on the site, the absurdity of professional golf spoke to me. Because I don't know that we have spent enough time talking about not what live golf has done to the pro game, but I think how it has distorted the minds of even professional golfers. Because what has happened with all the money that the Public Investment Fund has thrown at them, is that the PGA Tour has pretended that they can react by upping the purses.

They just lost Wells Fargo in Charlotte. Like this is one of the best regular season tournament events on the entire PGA Tour calendar. And a sponsor, which always got a great field, it was an elevated event. And a sponsor just said, nah, we can't do it.

I mean, isn't that what has happened? Isn't that what live golf has really done? Live golf, first of all, thanks for having me on, Adam. Live golf is the disruptor in every sense of the phrase, and not in a good way either. It's showing all of the cracks in the foundation of the PGA Tour that really, none of us have paid much attention to over the years, but certainly there's water flowing from that foundation now. And when sponsors begin to leave, and when players begin to leave, and when all of these things begin to just unravel for the PGA Tour, you're left wondering, as a fan of professional golf, at least on the men's side, what is there to like about this product anymore? We're running out of reasons to continue to tune in when the likes of Jon Rahm, most recently, of course, leaves. And his legion of fans, and even in my market where I live, I live just outside of Chicago, I can't watch Jon Rahm because it's not covered anywhere where I can tune in to watch him at live golf.

So all of that to say, you're right. There's a lot of disruption going on in the world of men's professional golf, and it's not going to help the game in any way. No, no, I don't think anybody wins by not really being able to watch Rahm or, like, I'm not a Bryson DeChambeau fan. I would argue that of all the players who left to go to live golf, Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau were probably the only needle movers.

Everybody else, you could be a great player. I think those are the only two guys that really noticeably impacted fandom and interest. Those are, nobody's knocked, DJ Dustin Johnson's a Hall of Famer, Brooks Koepke is a Hall of Famer.

I think Sergio Garcia is a Hall of Famer. I want to bring up something that Sergio and Rory McIlroy had a conversation a few years ago about. But I think that the two guys I mentioned, Mickelson and DeChambeau, are really the only guys that impact the popularity of the game to a mass audience.

They certainly are the most charismatic of that group that you mentioned. And when you talk about how this reaches fans and capturing new fans, because everyone's talking about growing the game, all these guys going to live just to grow the game, grow the game. It's not growing the game when eyeballs can't see you play golf. And even when we recently saw Jon Rahm, whether you believe the report or not, but I believe it to be true, he's basically banned from talking to reporters until February. So how does that grow the game when we can't hear these guys anymore? I mean, they're getting their paydays, sure.

But come on, you're not doing this for anyone but yourself. So Jon Rahm, I'll just ask this question open-ended. What do you think Jon Rahm's dollar value is based on what the PGA Tour brings in? What is Jon Rahm's value to the tour? And how much does he earn on the golf course? Is he is he worth 20 million dollars to the PGA Tour?

I would say he's closer to 20 million than he is to over 300 plus million that he's getting from Liv. You know, if you believe the rumors, you know, Jon Rahm is one of those players as I wrote in my piece on on We're not talking about this transcendent athlete that is known the world round, right?

You know, we're not talking about Michael Jordan or a Tiger Woods or any one of that. And so while certainly valuable to the PGA Tour in terms of the ticket sales and people going to go watch Jon Rahm at these tournaments, he's not the keystone to the tour. The PGA Tour is not going to fold because Jon Rahm is no longer playing, right? It's the irony of all this, Adam, is that we today this Monday is when Q School is finishing on the PGA Tour. The next breed of PGA Tour stars are coming on to tour today. And there's always going to be someone else.

Now. I'm not trying to say that Jon Rahm isn't a a massive talent. I don't know if he's a generational talent, but as far as his worth to the PGA Tour it's up there, but he's replaceable. Yeah, and he's probably is not even he didn't win the the pip or whatever that that thing is. I think he finished third behind Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods who doesn't even play anymore. That's really just an annual payment to make sure that that everybody remembers that Tiger Woods is great at Adam J Fonseca from is joining us here. So Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia used to be very good friends. I believe they stood in each other's weddings when each got married and Sergio was singing the praises of going to live golf.

This is the year where he was still struggling on tour. And then he finally made the move to go and Sergio told Rory that if the story is true that we're finally going to get what we deserve and Rory said, what do we deserve? We're just golfers, man. And so Sergio is making all sorts of money and bless him. These guys are professional golfers earned the money, but that tour doesn't create any money. It's just it's cartoon money. There's no worth in the month.

It's worth it worth it to them because they get it. But it's there's no value because that tour doesn't generate any money. I don't how the PGA tour competes with this. They can't I don't either I agree with you.

I don't know. I don't know if they have to either. I mean, if you look at it from a from a professional independent contract or the phrase that everyone throws around about these tour players, if you look at it from their perspective, yes, go make as much money as you possibly can because this is your livelihood. I mean, who can argue with that?

You know, obviously there's a lot of side arguments about the funding and all that. But the other side of it is the PGA tour was around and will remain to be around before and after live golf. Now live golf has a place in this larger sports landscape. They do.

It's just a matter of all right. Well what players want to go and make their own legacy in that upstart League? Because to your point there is no other money coming in and sponsors equipment sponsors primarily are the ones that really hold much of the future for live golf here. I mean everyone talks about how much money the public investment fund has. They still want to see a return on investment.

This isn't just some open-ended thing and right now they're not getting that return on investing nothing. So zero and so it's a matter of right now today as we talk the PGA tour has the upper hand in that way in so far as they've got the sponsors. They've got the TV rights. They've got Tiger. They've got Rory, but is that enough to rest its laurels on? Unfortunately only time will tell especially with Tiger.

I mean, obviously physically he's not going to play anymore. Is this is John Rom's move about Jay Monahan more than anything else? By the way, the PGA tour commissioner for people who don't know. Yeah, Jay Monahan.

Let's just call it what it is Adam. He screwed up royally during this whole thing. He the fact that he is still in his position is mind-boggling to me personally, but you can go back to listen and listen to old John Rom interviews leading up to his decision to jump to live. John Rom has not been shy as far as what he thinks of the commissioner of the PGA tour.

In fact, there is an interview. The tournament is escaping me for now, but when asked about the mandatory requirement for him to play in certain tournaments while on tour as part of this response to live golf, he was taken aback. This had not been communicated to him. And so I believe as he has said in not so many words that he feels he got screwed over as many players do on the PGA tour.

And so this was maybe a stick it stick it to you Jay move on his part final thing about this. Then I want to ask you one question about Tiger Adam Fonseca from golf The on June 6 this year when they announced the the at least the framework of a deal that probably isn't going to get done with the public investment for maybe it will. And they I mean that just blew everybody away. I remember when I saw them like what the the fact that they did not let in the star players. Rory Rom Spieth the guys who really do move the needle to certain extents on the PGA tour. Those guys the fact that they didn't know about it to me is the biggest failure in leadership. You can't let your star players be blindsided, especially those who have spoken out against the what live golf is doing to the game to me. That was the end of it for I didn't understand how Jay Monahan could keep his job a week.

Let alone still be in the position today. I'm with you Tiger during his press conferences for the hero world challenge a couple weeks ago made it very clear that he made it very clear to Jay Monahan. This cannot happen again, especially for a tour that has been built on the backs literally of the players and it's supposed to be for the players being kept in the dark like that. It was clear that Monahan and a few close confidants panicked. They saw an opportunity for themselves and in doing so they went completely against what they told all of the players to not do and to is take the money when in fact, I mean Adam if you're in their shoes, if you're in a Jon Rahm shoes, if you're in any of those players, you're thinking wow, we just got fleeced.

We just had the covers pulled over us or out from under us rather. I would be surprised if more players before the first of the year don't jump. Well, I think they will I don't think there's any question that there will be more players jumping. I still don't think ultimately it hurts the pro game that I think the PGA tour will still be the superior tour of the two. But if you don't have status in major championships and you jump I mean, we're not going to see Abe answer or Joaquin Neiman playing majors and those guys are major championship worthy Taylor Gooch might have been the best player on the live tour this past year and he's not going to play in a major.

I mean, it's just it's staggering to me because they're not going to get world rankings points finally before I say goodbye. Would you agree Tiger looks physically not mentally? I think he looks happier now that he even though he can't play anymore. I think he looks happier personally, but man, it's hard to watch a guy who's not yet 50 years old.

Just like there's just no freedom of movement at all. No, he's definitely not the guy that we that I grew up watching. I mean, he's seven years older than me and he looks 27 years older than me. I mean, he's he's definitely at that point in his career.

It's nice to see him out there as I tell all my friends who watch the game. This is just icing on the cake right now. It's all extra just enjoy it. Just go go watch highlights of the 2008 US Open. That's all we need.

I just want to see that again. Adam Fonseca at Adam J Fonseca from golf Thank you very much, man. Happy holidays, and I'll talk to you in the new year. You as well, sir. Thanks again. You got it.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-18 17:22:44 / 2023-12-18 17:28:55 / 6

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