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With three events under its belt, LIV Golf has proven that it is no fluke. The Saudi-backed circuit has exceeded expectations out of the gate, which has sparked even more questions about what the future of professional golf may look like.
The biggest question on everyone’s mind, however, has been the same since LIV Golf became a reality: can the PGA Tour and LIV Golf co-exist?
At this point of the proceedings, that question doesn’t have a clear-cut answer and likely won’t for quite some time. The situation the golf world finds itself in is both unprecedented and messy, but LIV CEO Greg Norman doesn’t necessarily see it that way.
LIV Golf and the PGA Tour have two different business models, which is precisely why Norman thinks it’s “easy” for the Tour and LIV Golf to co-exist.
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Norman sat down with OutKick founder Clay Travis at Trump Bedminster, the site of LIV Golf’s third tournament, and explained why he sees LIV and the Tour operating both simultaneously and smoothly.
“The PGA Tour being a monopolist, think they’ve got control of you and think we work for them instead of the opposite way, they work for us,” Norman told Travis.
“They don’t like disruption because they’ve had control for 53 years. At the same time, it’s such an easy place for us to co-exist because our business model was built from the ground up to work within the ecosystem. Yet, if you sit back there and make a judgment call on LIV without understanding the business model, shame on you, to some degree.”
Norman’s comment about working “within the ecosystem” is both an interesting, and truthful one, when looking at schedules.
LIV Golf made it a point in its inaugural season this year to not step on any big toes. None of LIV Golf’s biggest events have been held or scheduled the same week as a major championship, international team events, or heritage events.
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The same is true for next year’s LIV Golf schedule which will expand from eight events this year to 14 events in 2023.
This is a smart move by Norman and LIV Golf for a few different reasons. By not scheduling tournaments the same week as major championships and other well-known events, LIV Golf is sticking to its unofficial motto of it being all about the players making their own decisions regarding their schedules.
On top of that, the scheduling strategy doesn’t put LIV Golf in a bad spot and puts all the pressure on the PGA Tour and golf’s other governing bodies.
The PGA Tour indefinitely suspended all LIV golfers from competing on Tour shortly after the first LIV event took place in London. Whether LIV golfers will be able to tee it up in future major championships is still in question, and one that each of the four governing bodies will have to come to a decision on.
LIV Golf appears to be doing its part to provide players an opportunity to not only make a lot of money on its own tour, but still compete in different parts of the golf ecosystem, just as Norman explained.
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Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris