#AskAlan, Vol. 43
With thoughts about Mac Hughes’s win, becoming a LIV troll, Bryson’s bashing, Saudi lucre in the women’s game and much more
By Alan Shipnuck
Oct. 3, 2022
Mackenzie Hughes winning is why I like the fall swing. Not many big names in the field, but these tournaments are opportunities for guys to become household names. Do you think the Fall Swing dilutes the PGA Tour or enhances it? @david_troyan
Both. For the hard-core fan, these tournaments are indeed intriguing, and it’s fun to watch less-heralded players battle to change the trajectory of their careers. But more well-adjusted fans who don’t follow the Tour obsessively surely see these leaderboards and feel underwhelmed, and you can’t really blame them.
Trevor Immelman was rightly lauded for creating good vibes for the International team at the Presidents Cup, but should he be questioned about his exclusion of Ryan Fox, a bomber who is in great form? @NickS23744580
And Immelman somehow took two Canadians but neither one was Mac Hughes — doh! It’s always fun to second-guess the captains, but it’s hard to get too worked up in this case because it seems highly unlikely that Fox and/or Hughes could have affected the outcome of the Prez Cup. Still, what transpired at the Dunhill and Sanderson Farms was certainly a double whammy for Capt. Immelman.
Do you know who I can contact at either the PGA Tour or LIV Golf to become a paid “stooge” for either org. I’m willing to tweet out positive and/or negative messages for either as needed. According to Twitter, this is a big industry and I could use a taste. @fakePOULTER
I know of what you speak, based on the all the new accounts that regularly tag me and appear to tweet about nothing but how great LIV Golf is. Hard to say exactly how orchestrated this campaign is, but I have my suspicions. The PGA Tour also has many strident critics and shameless honks, but these seem to be more organic. Either way, being a golf troll has never been more of a growth industry.
Should Bryson’s rope earn OWGR points? @GolfUnfiltered
A better question is if his second-place finish at the Professional Drivers Long Drive Championship will be the best performance of DeChambeau’s LIV career? Credit where due, his awesome showing was a gas to watch. But given Bryson’s digression—only one win since Winged Foot in the fall of 2020 and a non-factor at the majors—you have to wonder if he would be better served by focusing on getting the ball in the hole rather than sending it to the moon.
Diamond anniversary feels about right.
Since they’re playing in Vegas and Bangkok and those were the settings for The Hangover, who is most likely to have the city overwhelm them? @NickGoblirsch
I haven’t checked Paulina’s socials — did she make the trip? If not…
I agree that LIV has hurt itself with hubris. Norman’s bombast and the snide antagonism of some of the players, especially at the outset, definitely soured public opinion. On the other hand, the relentless hucksterism has kept LIV in the headlines, which is not nothing for an upstart league fighting for attention and legitimacy. LIV is going to overwhelm the golf calendar for the next few weeks, and I think this would be a good time for the tour to take it down a few notches.
There are many ways you can try to correlate the numbers, and TV ratings are often crudely employed for this purpose. I look at it in terms of entertainment value. Hughes’s performance was terrific, but was it five times more entertaining than Hull’s final-round 64? Of course not. I would love to see the LPGA go to a condensed schedule, with fewer tournaments that feature all the stars and consolidate the sponsors so bigger purses can be offered. Of course, LIV is going to steal that idea when it launches its women’s tour, which is a matter of when, not if.
Thoughts on the Women’s ARAMCO event at Ferry Point? Only $5 and I feel like I should go to see virtuosity in a cool setting. @frazerrice
Watching the best women up close is a great joy, and I would never encourage a fan to pass up the opportunity to do so. Of course, this particular event comes with substantial cognitive dissonance, given yet another Trump-Saudi nexus, not to mention Trump-Nicklaus. (Big Jack designed the host venue, Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx.) This is a personal decision. If you believe that sport transcends politics, and you just want to enjoy some high-level golf, go enjoy the show. If you are troubled by the encroaching Saudi influence on the game and a former President’s warm embrace of an oppressive regime, it’s fine to sit this one out.
#AskAlan Have you heard anything about sponsors looking to drop players as they go to 54Golf? Are equipment and clothing companies staying with their players? Is there signage and equipment trucks onsite at the 54Golf events? @wadster13
Pretty much the only nods to the equipment industry that I’ve seen at LIV events are the logos on the players’ hats. The manufacturers for the most part have kept the LIVers on the payroll but have deemphasized them in the marketing materials. It feels like these companies are hedging their bets, not wanting to lose big-name players but also hoping to avoid antagonizing customers who are anti-LIV. My old colleague David Dusek just dropped a long story on this very topic that you should check out for more details.
May I recommend the Fire Pit Foundation? We focus on outfitting underprivileged high school teams with top-notch gear for their kids. No doubt there will be tons of schools in need in the wake of the hurricane. If you’re so inclined, you can donate here.
Ummm, just look at this mailbag and the overwhelming number of questions about LIV. They didn’t come from my burner accounts! It is a funny phenomenon that no one really cares about the LIV competitions, but many fans appear obsessed with the stories-behind-the-story and macro-implications for the sport. As I’ve been saying all year, LIV Golf is a gift from the content gods.