The juxtaposition of consistency and lack of controversy compared to questionable leadership and lack of respect for rules couldn't be more stark relief.
But this isn't a political page, this is a golf page, and this week is the launch week of LIV golf, with the first event being played at the Centurion Club just outside of St. Albans. With the players confirmed, Phil Mickelson being one of the last to enter, the roster looks a little strange, 48 players where only, maybe, half the players you will have heard of. The players you've heard of; Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson. Yet they have one thing in common, these guys are no spring chickens, so this event or series appears to have a pre Champion's Tour feel to it. Kaymer being 37, Johnson 38, Oosthuizen 39 and Garcia 42 among the youngsters of the known players.
A serious pension plan
Which all becomes quite clear, when you understand but they're going to be playing for the life changing money, not that they don't already, but the winner this week will leave the St Albans area with $4 million, last place picks up $120,000. That's a serious pension plan, and that's how the guys are looking at it, they don't have a guaranteed place on their respective tours moving forward, in fact they've been told if they play in these events they're going to be facing sanctions so these professional golfers, or independent contractors as they have been described in the States, have decided that this is a certainty.
Kevin Na (38) has resigned his PGA Tour membership, Richard Bland (49) says that this is life changing money which is great for his retirement plans and for his family. Remembering that the last two years he has made over a million euros in prize money, and this series of events is worth risking every event moving forward on the DP World tour. These are career defining decisions which each individual player is making. Since this is not quite the twilight of their career but more like the autumn, is anybody going to wonder what happened to Sergio Garcia in 10 years’ time, or Ian Poulter for that matter?
They have in essence have had their moments, I am reminded of F. Scott Fitzegerald’s line in The Great Gatsby where he describes Tom Buchanan as, “a national figure in a way, one of those men who reach such an acute limited excellence, that everything afterward savours of anti-climax.”
With limited fields, enormous prize funds, and only eight events they have to commit to it's not difficult to see why they're playing. There's been a lot of posturing by the LIV group, saying that they are delighted to have the players they have, which I'm not buying. They have reportedly offered Tiger a high 9 figure number to play. I've had to go and look up what a mid 9 figure number is, and it's around 500 million. And he said ‘no’.
I don't think it would be fair to speculate on why he said no, he is the epicentre of the game, he has a legacy which he wants to protect and he is recovering from life threatening injuries last year. But he did say ‘no’.
After months of speculating; who's going to play, what it's going to look like and how it's going to feel watching these players, it's now arrived. Don't be going to Sky Sports or your usual sports provider as this is going to be streamed live on their website and on YouTube.
I, for one, am looking forward to watching it whether it becomes a regular viewing spectacle in the Connolly household, that's another thing...