LIV is the name of a new golf tour created by the Saudi government, one that is attracting a few of the best known players in the world.
It's eerily ironic that the Saudis picked the name "LIV", because if you pronounce it with either the short or long "i" sound, it becomes the word, "live".
Ironic in that this new tournament is one more blatant attempt by the Saudis to "sportswash" blood from their hands, blood left there by the murder and dismemberment of an American journalist, a crime directly ordered by MBS, the Saudi Crown Prince.
But, in fact, it's more mundane. "LIV" represents the Roman Numerals for the number "54", which is the number of holes played in the Saudi tournaments, as opposed to the 72 holes which make up every other professional golf tournament.
So, how did the LIV Tour come about?
The Saudis paid millions to Greg Norman, a former star player, to create a new tour that they hoped would soon be stocked with major stars, all part of their ongoing efforts to whitewash ("sportswash") their reputation in the international community. The hope was that sports fans would overlook the repressive, barbaric nature of the Crown Prince's rule.
The Saudi's have spent billions on soccer, tennis and other international sporting events trying to distract us from a regime that murders its critics, imprisons homosexuals, and denies women the right to live lives outside of the government and their husband's control.
The LIV Tour differs from other professional golf tours, and was designed to entice professionals to join it in significant ways, including:
- Each tournament consists of 54 holes and lasts only three days, not 72 holes played over four days like other professional tournaments.
- The winners receive $4+ million dollars, compared to the $1 – $2 million typical of PGA events.
- The LIV field consists of only 48 players, compared to the typical PGA event, which has three times as many competitors, making the LIV tournament much easier to win.
- Unlike other tours, the LIV event has no "cut"—i.e., after the initial rounds no low ranking players are eliminated from the tournament's final days.
- Every player gets paid something, even the last place finisher, who "wins" $120,000. In PGA events those who don't make the cut receive nothing, and last place finishers typically receive $10 – 20,000.
In addition to larger payouts for tournament competitors, more famous players—like Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau—were paid anywhere from $50 to 200 million dollars each simply to join the LIV tour. So, regardless of how well they play, or where they finish, they're paid even more.
Pretty good money, eh?
Blood money, most would call it.
The LIV Tour's strategy of overpaying players is a faulty one. They assume that golf fans care more about watching events full of big name players, even though they are nothing more than exhibitions. When some players have already banked millions just for showing up, and everyone is guaranteed to win at least $120,000, regardless of how well or poorly they play, where's the competition? Where's the excitement in that?
Of course, money doesn't matter to Greg Norman or the Saudis who created the LIV tour. They're not in it to make a profit. And there's no way that they can, because no reputable broadcast or cable TV network would touch them with a ten foot pole, and TV money is what pays the freight in professional golf.
Nope, their only goal is to divert us from thinking about their crimes against humanity.
I can only speak for myself, but I find it much more compelling to watch a PGA or LPGA tournament in which young, unknown players are competing against the best in the game, fighting to win for the first time, knowing that a win will change his or her life or forever. Winning that first one assures the player of eligibility for two more years on tour, and access to the highest paid and most visible events—like The Masters, the US Open, and others.
It's even exciting to watch one of your favorite players struggle on Friday to make a birdie putt that gets them over the cut line and into the last two days of the tournament. More than once we've seen that same player shoot low scores on Saturday and Sunday and go on to win the tournament.
THAT'S competition, exciting, and something you'll never see in one of the LIV Tour's exhibitions, where there is no cut, and everyone's a winner.
Everyone but MBS, that is.
There's no amount of sportswashing that will ever redeem the reputation of that murderous thug.
As always, thanks for reading this far.