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19th Hole

LIV Golf commentator reveals why he is ‘dreading’ the breakaway tour being on TV

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Former professional player, now LIV Golf commentator Jerry Foltz, has given his views on a tv deal for the rebel tour, as well as on factors that might change the format of the 14 planned 2023 events.

Speaking on the Fore The People podcast, the former Golf Channel analyst discussed the possibility of having a permanent deal for the Greg-Norman-led tour.

“LIV Golf will be on a TV partner in the United States before we have our next event. I am plenty comfortable saying that.”

Foltz continued:

“I am not involved in the negotiations, but I do hear quite a bit, and I know everything that has led up to it. LIV Golf is seen through television, not streaming, in 180 different countries through 35 or 36 different broadcast partners around the globe, but the biggest one, the biggest carrot of the lot is of course America.” 

He confirmed, 

They are being very diligent and seeking out the biggest deal they can get.”

The 60-year-old then expressed doubts as to the method of keeping LIV as “a big draw.”

“I hate the fact that we will be because our product will then not be, I hope we sell it as a wholly owned property, and they broadcast it the way it is, but right now we do five hours of commercial-free golf and that is a big draw for the people who enjoy watching.”

“We don’t move away for anything. We certainly don’t see a guy tap in and watch him walk off the green for 30 seconds and show a scorecard hole after hole.We do it completely different. It’s hard to re-train old minds like myself and Feherty to do it differently, but we’ve kind of caught on a little bit to it and hopefully do some more.”

“I dread the fact we are going to be on TV, just because I know how much fun our entire 300-person crew has doing golf that doesn’t have commercials, but hopefully we come up with some sort of model that is more like a soccer game where they don’t have commercials for two halves.”

“There is something that limits the commercial interruption because that is the biggest compliment to us and can play it against Golf Channel and network coverage.”

Although there has been much speculation surrounding an up-and-coming deal, nothing has yet surfaced as definite.

In September GolfWRX reported on an apparent approach to buy airtime on Fox Sports, and while nothing has been forthcoming, LIV Golf Chief Operating Officer, Atul Khosla, has since confirmed that,”On the US front, we are back and forth with a few different networks at this point in time.”

Foltz was then asked several questions surrounding the latest movements on the tour, amongst them his thoughts on the changes that Dustin Johnson has made to his 4Aces GC team.

In the change, Talor Gooch has been transferred to the Niblicks GC, soon to be re-named by captain Bubba Watson, whilst in comes Peter Uihlein, previously with Smash GC, captained by Brooks Koepka.

Foltz admits he isn’t on the inside but that it was “interesting.”

“I’m kinda on the outside looking in to all of this. I talk to a lot of players obviously and you hear a lot of rumblings. You take part in a lot of conversations, and it literally is one big family out there. It’s 48 players, it’s not 144 players each week. You know every single player. “

On the move by DJ:

“The team structure is not something I am fully up to speed on, but there are 12 teams and there is ownership in those teams. The captain of almost all the teams has an ownership, equity stake, and the rest of the players. Starting next year, the money that the team earns isn’t one quarter share per player. The money goes to the team to run the team, to divvy up with the team on a contractual basis.”

Foltz believes we will see more changes:

“So I believe with no confirmation that the two moves that we have recently seen (Gooch and Uihlein), and many of the moves we will see in the future, and I think there will be more to come before we start our next event, I think they have to do with who is getting what from what captain, what percentage here and there, and also to try to play for friends and be a tighter knit group. “

“Peter Uihlein had a hell of a year. Better year than Talor Gooch. Is Talor Gooch a worse player than Peter Uihlein? Hell no, they’re both incredible world class players. It was an interesting move to me, but it’s not the last one. It’s absolutely not the last.”

How the changes are perceived is in doubt, but Foltz believes we may see a bit of tension between the teams in 2023.

“The team aspect, I didn’t get it, I didn’t understand it. But the more I was out there, the more I immersed myself in it, which is obviously part of my job, the more it starts to sell itself because the players are so involved. What is going to happen, and is already starting to happen in negotiations, is that it’s going to create a little bit of animosity. It’s going to leave some hard feelings.”

Foltz explained:

“‘You wanted me to leave and go play for them’ and so on and so forth, therein lies a bit of the Nascar and F1 vibe in terms of the team vs team aspect for the fans. It’s natural human nature that is going to happen.”

“Next year is going to get a whole lot more juicy from that point.”

Much has been written about the astronomical numbers that LIV investors have put in. To offset that, speculation is rife that the teams may well be sponsored, or branded, by some of the biggest companies in the world.

“First of all, when you first saw the 12 team names, did you not think ‘Really?! Is this the best we could do?!'”I thought they were the corniest things ever, but low and behold there was so much research that went into those names. The colours, the logos, not to mention a hell a lot of research into trademarks and social media people with certain handles.”

“I’ve never said the word ‘Ironhead’ in my life or ‘Hy Flyer’. Are you kidding?!

Foltz believes this could be the start of something even bigger:

“I understand two of the team names are changing. Bubba Watson will not tell us what he is changing his team (Niblicks) to, but he is changing his team name. From my understanding, yes, we could have a Team X, Y, Z in the future. There are a lot of conversations happening, and it has to be something that makes financial sense to everybody. I think we will see some of that next year, but by 2024, we will have 12 wholly owned teams that are vying for LIV Golf.”

“You’re going to have a lot of players on the outside looking in who will want to be a part of it at that point. I know a lot of people don’t want to hear that, but that is the evolution of where this is headed, whether they like it or not. It’s kinda cool to have an inside seat to watch it.”

Rumours continue surrounding any new names that may join the tour from both the PGA and DP World Tours, but Foltz says he isn’t aware of who, or how many, despite Norman’s claims he wants seven new players from the PGA.

“Seven players, that’s surprising? I look forward to that news breaking.”

“I haven’t heard those rumours yet. I did hear most of the rumours leading up to this. The only one that surprised me was Charles Howell, but he is an asset to LIV Golf and anywhere as he is just a quality human being.”

“I don’t know. It’s going to be interesting. I look forward to the dust settling, and everyone getting along.”

With Norman and pals ready to create something even bigger, better and louder for 2023,  the silly season may well last longer than usual.

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4 Comments

  1. SG

    Nov 9, 2022 at 2:01 pm

    we dread seeing LIV on tv as well !

  2. Harry Adam

    Nov 9, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    Having lived in the USA for a couple of years, golf coverage is awful compared to here in the UK. We see the same tournaments, but not the constant advert interruptions. (Coverage on Sky TV)

    • Fetch

      Nov 9, 2022 at 1:30 pm

      Agreed. Now if your camera crew could only track the ball you might have something.

  3. gery katona

    Nov 9, 2022 at 11:35 am

    That 300-person crew needs to be paid with real income from commercials, otherwise this is failed business model.

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19th Hole

Sir Nick Faldo has some interesting thoughts on LIV golfers in the Ryder Cup and Greg Norman

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While LIV players look forward to their first event of the year at Mayakoba in just four weeks’ time, the ex-European Tour players have been told by Sir Nick Faldo that as far as this year’s Ryder Cup is concerned, “they’re done.”

My favourite game: Nick Faldo v Greg Norman, 1996 Masters | The Masters | The Guardian

There is very little love lost between the 1996 Masters 1-2 these days.

In a week that has seen reports of reduced offers for new signings, the ‘unofficial’ tour has also witnessed increased momentum behind the TGL tour, with Collin Morikawa joining fellow major champions Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas in the technology-led midweek league in 2024.

Led by the fiercely anti-LIV Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, the two-time major champion may have been having a side-swipe at the Saudi-backed league when stating in his press release that:

“I think the design of TGL to provide sports fans the world’s best in a weekly, primetime golf competition, from start-to-end in only two hours, will appeal to a broader spectrum of casual golf fans and introduce our sport to younger fans.”

Barring injury, McIlroy, Morikawa, JT and Rahm are certain to be facing each other at the Marco Simone club later this year, but whilst Faldo may be uncertain about who will be in the team, he is very clear about who should be missing.

Players that have made a huge impression in recent Ryder Cups — Ian Poulter, Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Graeme McDowell — have all made the decision to join LIV over the past year, something Faldo says makes the result easy:

“They shouldn’t be there because they’ve gone off and you’ve got to move on,” Faldo said when interviewed on Sky Sports News.

The 11-time Ryder Cup player and retired broadcaster admitted that age is certainly against them, but with no official ranking or Ryder Cup points awarded to LIV results, it is also going to be virtually impossible for any of the previous stalwarts to re-appear in Italy.

That is, of course, all subject to the result of an upcoming hearing, challenging any ban by the PGA Tour and restrictions by the DP World Tour.

With LIV player Henrik Stenson — the original European team captain — sacked within three months of being appointed, Luke Donald knows that he needs to choose wisely when it comes to his six free picks, and Faldo suggests this is the time to bank of the rookies:

“They’re [European LIV players] all at the age where Europe needs to find a new breed of 25-year-olds that can play half a dozen or more Ryder Cups, and I think we’re going to have that.”

“They’re done,” he said confidently, before continuing: “It’s a rival tour. If you work for a company for 20 years and you then leave to go to a rival company, I can promise you your picture won’t still be on the wall. You’ve moved on. Fine, off you go.”

“They made that decision and I’m sure they knew it was going to cost them,” Faldo said. “They were playing the maths game. They were getting a huge chunk of money up front, and they knew it was going to lose them sponsors, but they thought ‘I still win’.”

Faldo also commented on the LIV tour in general, offering his thoughts on the organization fronted by Greg Norman, his great rival on the course throughout his career, and against whom he overcame a six-shot deficit to win the 1996 Masters.

“It’s [LIV] a closed shop: 48 guys given loads of money,” Faldo said. “What gripes me is it’s not growing the game of golf. That really gets me when they fly across the world to a country that’s been playing golf for 100 plus years and say, ‘we’re growing the game of golf’.”

Of his great rival, with whom he split eight major titles in a 10 year period from 1986, the 65-year-old said:

“He was a great golfer. He really was a charismatic, exciting golfer and he’s absolutely wrecked all of that.”

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19th Hole

Rory McIlroy references “subpoena on Christmas Eve” in responding to Reed’s reported tee toss

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Yesterday, it was reported by boots on the ground that LIV golfer Patrick Reed threw a tee and PGA Tour superstar Rory McIlroy.

Both Reed and McIlroy are playing on the DP World Tour this week at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club. When Reed tried to say hello to Rory on the driving range, he was purportedly ignored.

According to McIlroy in the Independent, he didn’t see a tee thrown in his direction. While speaking with reporters, the four-time major champion clarified his side of the story.

“I didn’t see it,” he said of the tee. “I was down by my bag, and he came up to me, and I was busy working and sort of doing my practice, and I didn’t really feel like — I didn’t feel the need to acknowledge him.

“So, I didn’t see a tee coming my direction at all, but apparently that’s what happened. And if roles were reversed and I’d have of thrown that tee at him, I’d be expecting him a lawsuit.”

When asked if he “ducked” when the tee was thrown, the 33-year-old said he didnt see it: “I didn’t duck,” he said. “I didn’t see, it, no. My back was turned to him.”

The lawsuit reference made by Rory is referring to the defamation lawsuit that Reed has filed against a number of golf media members and outlets. McIlroy is even named a co-conspirator in one of Reed’s lawsuits. Which according to Rory, is why he didn’t feel the need to say hello to Reed in the first place.

“I mean, exactly, right,” he said. “Like that’s — I mean, I got a subpoena on Christmas Eve. I mean, I don’t see your — like you can’t pretend like nothing’s happening, right.

“I think that’s the thing. Like why — we are living in reality here. He’s — no, so…”

“Yeah, I was subpoenaed by his lawyer on Christmas Eve. So of course, trying to have a nice time with my family and someone shows up on your doorstep and delivers that, you’re not going to take that well.

“So again, I’m living in reality, I don’t know where he’s living. If I were in his shoes, I wouldn’t expect a hello or a handshake.”

As for mending bridges with Sergio Garcia, who is eligible for a Ryder Cup wildcard from Luke Donald as an honorary member of the Dp World Tour, McIlroy was clear.

“No,” he said.

The tournament is set to kick off Thursday, January 26th and there appears to be no end in sight for the animosity between LIV golfers and PGA Tour/DP World Tour players.

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19th Hole

Reed-McIlroy animosity allegedly resulted in this in Dubai…

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According to reports at Emirates Golf Club, Patrick Reed threw a tee at Patrick Reed this morning after McIlroy refused to acknowledge him. Both Reed and McIlroy are playing in this week’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic.

The animosity between Reed and members of the PGA Tour has been building since the former Masters champion joined LIV Golf back in June of 2022. The 32-year-old has sued a handful of golf media members in defamation lawsuits.

According to those at Emirates Golf Club, Reed stood near McIlroy with the intention of saying hello, but Rory never turned to acknowledge him.

The Independent shared that “Reed insisted on saluting McIlroy but after getting no response, he gave up and walked away but not before putting his hand in his pocket and throwing a tee in McIlroy’s direction in disgust.”

This is the second report of tension being witnessed between PGA Tour members and LIV golfers as there were reported instances LIV golfers getting the cold shoulder at last year’s BMW PGA at Wentworth.

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