The First Call readers offer a range of opinions on the upstart league's plan to make its team concept more like other professional leagues
Question of the week [Oct. 31-Nov. 6]: In 2023, LIV Golf is hopeful its team model will lead to franchises being sold. Regardless of your opinion about LIV Golf, do you believe the franchise model is a viable option for golf?
RELATED: The First Call Inbox archive
I'm not sure about the LIV Golf team concept, but I think there is one that would work and help grow the game. My concept is to include LPGA players, making teams of 12 men and six women on 24 teams in cities around the world. Teams would play a 12-event schedule in two divisions with matches played in a Ryder Cup format held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The format would consist of men vs. women (M+M vs. W+W, M+W vs. W+W, etc.) based on a blind draw. There would have to be an equalization system. Patrons would enjoy seeing two women vs. two men in a best-ball or alternate-shot format and on Sunday the blind draw would pit any given player vs. any given player. So, the final standings could be determined by a woman vs. a man.
I do not see the proposed LIV Golf franchise model as being viable for golf. Golf is viewed predominantly as an individual sport with the exception of the Ryder Cup and, to a much lesser extent, the Presidents Cup.
No one, but no one, is racing through their Monday newspaper or favorite online report to see how the "Not Ready for Prime Time" team faired in the LIV U-Pick-It event. Didn’t happen this year and won’t happen next year.
The only chance LIV Golf or whatever it wishes to be called would be a head-to-head tournament against a team from the PGA Tour.
Rory McIlroy vs. Dustin Johnson
Billy Horschel vs. Patrick Reed
Justin Thomas vs. Pat Perez (OK, maybe this one’s a stretch)
So, say it ain’t so. The Twitter / Amazon / Merrill-Lynch Grizzlies battling the Meta / UPS / Fidelity Frogmen for a $250,000,000 winner-take-all event at Oakmont Country Club.
Just my 2 cents.
The Villages, Florida
I think the franchise option for team golf could be a viable option for success, but there are so many questions to be asked and answered for a potential franchise owner that it’s going to take a while for the idea to come to fruition.
First, what’s the cost and what’s the return potential for the franchise owner? How much more is a team featuring Dustin Johnson or Cam Smith worth than a team featuring Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood? Where is the TV deal for U.S. and worldwide exposure? Will players be allowed to wear a franchise owner's logos, where today they can’t? And how does that affect a player's own endorsement deals that they can’t wear on their hats and shirts today? Does the owner control the team makeup of players and the trading or signing of those players?
I guess you could go on and on with questions that need answering, but money rules, so franchising could definitely work — with a lot more work to get it done.
The LIV franchise model will be a huge financial windfall for Liv and the Saudi’s. There is an endless supply of rich, international individuals who would love to own a franchise and will pay massive Dollars/Euros to do so. I suspect round 1 of franchise sales will generate approximately 500 million dollars for the Saudi’s. Using the exact same model as Formula 1 is no guarantee the golfing public will buy in particularly in the USA,UK, & Europe. Will the team concept be a success? Maybe, maybe not. Golf is not auto racing. Not even close. Like the court case, the jury is still out.
What is the difference between golfers wearing sponsor logos on their clothing and golf bags, and being sponsored by a team? Nothing. Go for it LIV.
Good example of team sports for this type of model is tennis. How did that work out? Team golf? Who cares? Nobody.
The First Call invites reader comment. Write to editor Stuart Hall at email@example.com. Your name and city of residence is necessary to be considered for publication. If your comment is selected for publication, The First Call will contact you to verify the authenticity of the email and confirm your identity. We will not publish your email address. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and brevity.