ENB Publishers Note: While watching all of the fallout from this wild merger with LIV and the PGA, it occurred to me that we have to wonder how this came about. In stark contrast to the United States’ energy policies, Saudi Arabia has implemented a “Saudi First” energy policy for years.
While I do not agree with everything going on with the Saudi leaders, I have always applauded their energy policies. They are spending billions on energy transition and social programs for Saudi citizens.
So don’t blame the PGA leadership. Look to the current leadership of the United States to have put the icing on the merger with our weaponizing the dollar, printing money, and destroying the United States’ energy independence.
Source Orange County News Feed
Editor’s note: This is the Wednesday, June 7, 2023, edition of the “Game Day with Kevin Modesti” newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.
Good morning. Until yesterday, it was possible for a golf fan to ignore the blood-money evils of the LIV tour going on mostly overseas, enjoy a season rich with good stories here in America, and look forward with clear eyes to next week’s U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club. The news of a merger between the PGA and LIV tours spoils that.
In other sports headlines: The Dodgers bullpen’s latest collapse turned a five-run lead into a loss to the Reds. The Angels beat the Cubs with a comeback started by Shohei Ohtani’s 16th home run. A Kings trade sent goalie Cal Peterson and defenseman Sean Walker to Philadelphia in a move to free up money for signings. Ducks who’ve worked with new coach Greg Cronin give rave reviews, calling him honest, demanding and skilled at challenging young players to improve. The Sparks couldn’t hold on in Seattle and fell back to .500. The United States men’s soccer team, under its third coach in seven months, began training in Carson for summer tournaments starting this month. National Treasure, the Bob Baffert-trained Preakness winner, is fourth choice (5-1) behind favored Forte (5-2) in a field of nine for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.
There was shock at the announcement that the PGA Tour will reverse its righteous indignation at players joining LIV tour funded by Saudi Arabia’s repressive regime, drop its legal action against the rival circuit, and enter a merger that reunifies men’s professional golf.
Shock but not necessarily surprise, the message delivered in a column by the Southern California News Group’s Mirjam Swanson, who has covered golf for years and takes a realistic view.
“It was naive,” Swanson writes, “to expect the PGA Tour to continue to inconvenience itself or to operate in anything but its own best interests.”
She says: “People in the business of golf know it’s better when the best players all are competing against each other.”
That’s a truism as old as professional sports and the history of rival leagues. Football, basketball and hockey got better and more popular after the NFL joined forces with the AFL, the NBA absorbed four ABA teams, and the NHL expanded to include the surviving WHA franchises. The establishment benefited not only from the return of breakaway playing talent but also from new ideas about how to play and present the games – as should the PGA Tour, or whatever it’s going to be called now.
The PGA Tour did miss the golfers who left, a point driven home 319 yards at a time when LIV Golf’s Brooks Koepka won his fifth major tournament at the PGA Championship last month.
Yet golf in America was pretty enjoyable in 2023 even without them.
This most exclusive sport still found ways to appeal to everyman – and every woman, every boy and every girl.
We’ve watched and read about the early-season spree of Jon Rahm from the West Coast Swing to the Masters. We’ve marveled at Rose Zhang, the 20-year-old Irvine resident who won an LPGA tournament on her first try. We’ve rooted for Orange County’s Michael Block, 46, and Burbank’s Jaden Soong, 13.
And, as last weekend spilled into a Monday-morning playoff in a U.S. Open qualifying tournament at Hillcrest Country Club, we found different reasons to cheer for players like Charley Hoffman, 46, and Preston Summerhays, 20.
But hanging over all of it has been the golf civil war that pitted principled voices like Rory McIlroy’s against the players who took the Saudi money and ran. We couldn’t ignore it, because it was in the air at every U.S. event. Remember Fred Couples’ rant against “nutbag” Phil Mickelson and the LIV Tour at a senior tour event in Newport Beach.
Now the other spiked shoe has dropped. It’s harder to tell the good guys from the bad guys. The very set-up of men’s pro golf going forward is a mystery. The topic will hang over the U.S.
Open that starts June 15, the first to be held in Los Angeles in 75 years.
As Mirjam Swanson says, we’ll continue to watch, same as we watch the Olympic Games and the World Cup when they represent the merger of sports and evil empires.
For many of us, though, It will be harder to enjoy with a clear mind and conscience.
That’s a shame, because there’s so much to enjoy.