If there was any lingering doubt that LIV Golf can genuinely problem golf’s conventional excursions, then 18-chaotic holes on Monday morning (AEST) settled the talk as soon as and for all.
LIV Golf is perhaps unusual, completely different, and financially backed by a reprehensible supply, however as a golf product, it’s the true deal.
No majors had been handed out, nor had been any world rating factors, however even when it was just for just a few hours, you questioned if it actually mattered?
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Within the coming days, the mud will decide on LIV Boston and its flaws, a few of that are talked about beneath, will turn out to be extra apparent.
Nevertheless it nonetheless gained’t take away from the truth that Greg Norman’s breakaway tour had its second within the solar on Monday, and it didn’t fail to entertain.
LIV Boston got here all the way down to a wild six-way shootout that noticed large names Dustin Johnson, Cameron Smith, Joaquin Niemann, Lee Westwood, Anirban Lahiri and Talor Gooch spar for one of many largest purses in golf.
The winner would pocket $A5.9 million in a handbag value virtually $A37 million.
The shotgun begins meant all six had been taking part in on the similar time, buying and selling blows on the leaderboard in a chaotic end.
Remarkably, 5 of these six gamers had been in some unspecified time in the future main the match within the closing 9 holes.
LIV Golf had been painted by many as a glorified exhibition, however you solely wanted to try the nerves of the gamers to grasp it was value much more.
Westwood was eight-under for the day by means of 15 holes and in a share for the lead earlier than he inexplicably had two bogeys within the closing three holes.
Smith, the world’s No.2 golfer, was in an identical state of affairs, going eight-under by means of 16 holes till an errant tee shot with two holes to play noticed him make his first bogey and drop out of competition.
Lahiri had the putt of his life on the 18th, a seven-footer for eagle that will have given him the outright win. He shockingly burnt the sting.
In the long run, the occasion was gained by one of many world’s finest gamers, Johnson, in LIV Golf’s first ever playoff.
He made an eagle with a monster putt that travelled at pace till it hit the again of the cup, popped up, and landed within the gap.
The gang went wild as Johnson grew to become the primary American to win a person occasion on the LIV tour, beating Niemann and Lahiri within the tree-way playoff.
In the meantime, LIV Golf’s largest recruit, Smith, was left to rue his pulled tee shot that value him a spot within the playoff.
Smith turned his again on the PGA Tour for a reported $A140 million, but it surely was clear in Boston that he’s not there to merely cash-in a pay cheque, just like the underperforming Phil Mickelson is perhaps accused of.
Smith regarded switched on all through and performed a few of his finest golf, notably within the closing spherical when he threatened to win all of it from 5 photographs again in the beginning of the day.
Smith doesn’t present a deep vary of emotion on the course at one of the best of instances, however he was clearly pumped up after chipping in for birdie on the 14th gap, whereas he regarded devastated by his bogey on the penultimate gap.
It’s additionally arduous to disregard that for ending in a tie for fourth, he nonetheless walked away with $A1.5million.
All of that is to say that even with 54 holes, no reduce and no rating factors, it felt like a correct golf match — and a reasonably large one at that.
Nonetheless, there are shortcomings that can have to be addressed sooner or later.
The shotgun begins meant that a few of the main gamers, together with Smith and Westwood, had been taking part in in entrance of empty galleries on the first, second and third holes with the overwhelming majority of individuals occupying the 18th.
Think about if both Smith or Westwood held their nerve and gained all of it in entrance of nearly nobody. That was a definite risk on Monday.
Having so many gamers nonetheless in competition and taking part in on the similar time, whereas the workforce occasion was additionally nonetheless up for grabs, created a rapid-fire frenzy for the viewer that won’t resonate with everybody.
In the meantime, some discover the printed itself as a supply of frustration.
The commentary workforce of Arlo White, Jerry Foltz and David Feherty, together with on-course commentators Su-Ann Hend and Troy Mullins, are always gushing over the product.
Tweets from folks having fun with LIV Golf are usually displayed and mentioned through the protection, whereas gamers are virtually all the time instantly requested after their spherical about how a lot they take pleasure in LIV Golf.
You simply marvel how a lot better it will be with none of that. In spite of everything, golf followers get golf. If the product is robust, it can shine by itself.
We also needs to be cautious of any recency bias. Simply because LIV Golf has had the newest large occasion, it doesn’t take away from the truth that final week’s Tour Championship was a triumph for the PGA Tour with an exhilarating, large cash showdown between Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler.
Nonetheless, this was an enormous step in the fitting route for LIV Golf that clearly isn’t going anyplace.
One other occasion in Chicago takes place in simply two weeks, adopted by a triple header in October that ends with a finale in Miami.
Excluding the Presidents Cup on the finish of September, the PGA Tour gained’t have a taking part in subject as sturdy as something in LIV Golf till subsequent 12 months.
LIV Golf has deliberately focused this window for many of its occasions and seems set to prosper tremendously.
You simply really feel that, given how rapidly the golf panorama has modified since February 2022, that February 2023 will look considerably completely different once more.