The LIV Golf occasion in New Jersey felt significantly political this weekend.

Getty Pictures

Welcome again to the Monday End, the place our new league, LUV Golf, is searching for funding. Attain out for particulars. Let’s get to the information!


Golf has entered America’s Nice Tradition Battle.

If there’s a permanent picture from this week’s LIV Golf occasion at Trump Bedminster, it’s an assembled crowd of spectators chanting “Let’s Go Brandon” as former President Trump basked of their adulation, flanked by his son Eric, Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and Fox Information political commentator Tucker Carlson.

For the uninitiated, the mantra had nothing to do with Branden Grace (though, to his credit score, the South African is the unofficial chief of LIV’s cash checklist, incomes practically $7 million by means of three occasions). As a substitute “Let’s Go Brandon” has develop into code for “F— Joe Biden,” and, effectively, you may learn extra about that backstory right here.

That was hardly the one instance of the weekend’s buzziest match turning into one thing of a political rally. LIV Commissioner Greg Norman egged on chants of “4 extra years!” on a minimum of one tee field. Trump was in fixed contact with LIV gamers; he hosted 20 or so for dinner on Tuesday night time, chatted them up on the pro-am social gathering Wednesday, shook palms on the driving vary, was a relentless presence all through the weekend and even greeted winner Henrik Stenson post-round.

liv presidential suite

When LIV Golf and Trump converge, sports activities and politics are inextricable


Alan Bastable

It’s not simply that it was a pro-Trump crowd. It was additionally, partially, an anti-PGA Tour crowd. Trump’s son Donald, Jr. underscored that sentiment when he tweeted a video of Stenson holing his successful putt.

“The best F/U within the historical past of Golf simply occurred,” he wrote. Stenson “favored” the tweet.

What a wierd place we discover ourselves! No one would have ever accused the PGA Tour, nor golf extra broadly, of occupying any house within the left wing of America’s political spectrum. However Trump’s south Florida course was dropped by the PGA Tour in 2016 within the midst of a contentious presidential marketing campaign. And in 2020, Trump’s New Jersey course was dropped by the PGA of America as PGA Championship host after the storming of the U.S. Capitol. Trump, who had all the time relished golf’s function in his life, felt scorned by its establishments. He had that in widespread with Norman, who had a decades-old bone to select with the PGA Tour. The 2 had been pure allies. Maybe their union isn’t such a stunning growth in any case.

Getting Trump on board has introduced extra consideration to LIV, too. He’s fashionable with {many professional} golfers and with a lot of LIV’s early crop of defectors, together with Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson, his pro-am enjoying companions on Thursday. And Trump’s endorsement of the breakaway circuit signaled to his followers that they, too, may activate the PGA Tour. The best way LIV has positioned itself even has some similarities to Trump’s personal marketing campaign. Traditionalists can’t imagine its success. It’s been written off a number of instances, solely to outlive. There’s little doubt LIV continues to be gaining momentum. And there’s an anti-establishment bent to the entire thing.

There are unusual contradictions at play, after all. Right here was the “America First” president internet hosting a Saudi-backed upstart tour that’s threatening the way forward for the U.S.-based PGA Tour, drawing moral ire for utilizing the presidential seal within the course of. Early LIVers who crowed about how they weren’t politicians had been participating in one of many extra explicitly political sporting occasions in current historical past. And whereas everyone likes speaking about LIV, and people who have attended appear happy with their expertise, it’s nonetheless unproven how many individuals are or will probably be excited by watching it; YouTube viewership is averaging beneath 100,000 and declined from Portland to Bedminster, per one research. However the checks positively maintain clearing (extra on that later) and the names will maintain coming, too (extra on that a lot later).

What’s the purpose? Golf is now a sport divided. Trump has aligned himself with the LIV tour. The “institution” is aligned with the PGA Tour. To be clear, you don’t must subscribe to at least one aspect of the divide or the opposite. You may just like the PGA Tour and LIV. You may like President Trump and the PGA Tour. You may dislike President Trump and dislike LIV, too! I’ll depart all choices accessible to you. However the battle traces appear to be hardening. And this was hardly a one-off — LIV’s crew finale will go down at Trump Doral this October, simply weeks earlier than the U.S. votes in midterm elections.

Buckle up.


Who gained the week?

Tony Finau, once more

Tony Finau gained the Rocket Mortgage Traditional, making it back-to-back PGA Tour wins after final week’s triumph on the 3M Open. Finau’s win virtually counted double; he validated his exhibiting in Minnesota in addition to including one other trophy to his shelf. I can solely think about how relieved he felt returning residence to celebrations in Utah on Sunday night time, having doubled his profession win whole.

Will we anticipate extra of Finau going ahead? Positive. However a four-win profession is already nothing to shake a stick at. And he doesn’t have to fret about accusations he can’t shut after 4 back-nine birdies on the 3M and 4 extra on the Rocket Mortgage. Plus there was this winner of a quote post-round:

Ayaka Furue, course record-holder

There’s successful after which there’s successful in fashion. Ayaka Furue did the latter on the Ladies’s Scottish Open, firing a course-record 10-under 62 within the closing spherical to leapfrog the leaders and win her first LPGA title. Furue is simply 22 years previous and has already gained seven instances on the Japanese Tour. Now she has formally introduced her sport can journey, too — a minimum of so far as Dundonald Hyperlinks.

Sean Crocker

This professional took to St. Andrews’ favourite pub after greatest win of his profession


Sean Zak

Sean Crocker, Corona drinker

Only a couple hours after Sean Crocker completed off his win on the Hero Open on the Fairmont St. Andrews, he bumped into our personal Sean Zak on the Dunvegan, the enduring pub simply up the road from the Previous Course. Crocker missed 9 cuts in a row earlier this season. Little doubt that solely improved the style of los cervezas on Sunday night.


Patrick Cantlay had that look about him on Sunday in Detroit, making 5 birdies in his first eight holes and including an eagle at No. 14 to get himself into competition in case Finau faltered. Finau didn’t falter, however nonetheless — after this ho-hum final-round 66 and a runner-up end, it seems like we’re attending to Cantlay Szn.

Lydia Ko co-led heading to Sunday however couldn’t discover a spark on the Ladies’s Scottish Open. She stalled out with a final-round 71 to complete T5, however now she’s on to extra vital issues at this week’s AIG Ladies’s Open.

Eddie Pepperell got here on the Drop Zone podcast final week to speak about LIV but additionally to speak about the place he’d misplaced monitor of his golf sport. It seems simply the method of speaking about it was all of the golf remedy he wanted; Pepperell rallied for a T11 end after our chat final week after which practically gained this week’s match, ending solo second. His key to success? Eliminating apply rounds. (Sure, significantly.) We’ll gladly take all of the credit score, and you may hearken to the remainder of the interview beneath or on Apple Podcasts:


Golfers securing the bag.

Forbes launched its checklist of the yr’s 10 highest-earning golfers, measured from July 3, 2021 to July 3, 2022, offering a surprising reminder of simply how a lot money LIV has immediately dropped into the skilled golf ecosystem.

Phil Mickelson has had an attention-grabbing yr. However per Forbes’ estimates, he’s come out forward, a minimum of financially. His $138 million windfall put him at No. 1 for an athlete in any sport and in addition helped him eclipse $1 billion in lifetime earnings.

Whereas Mickelson was the one golfer to hit 9 figures this season, Dustin Johnson ($97 mil) Bryson DeChambeau ($86 mil) and Brooks Koepka ($69 mil) are every LIV golfers who’ve skilled an inflow in money, too. A lot so, the truth is, that they’ve out-earned Tiger Woods, who sits in fifth place with $68 million in earnings, simply $43,500 of which got here on the golf course.

There are different non-LIVers on the checklist, together with No. 6 Rory McIlroy ($43 mil) and No. 8 Jordan Spieth ($39 mil) nevertheless it’s jarring to see their names beside No. 7 Sergio Garcia ($42 mil) and No. 9 Patrick Reed ($37 mil) and one thing greater than jarring to see No. 10 Charl Schwartzel ($34 mil) nipping at their heels.

You may see the whole checklist right here.


Three issues to observe this week:

1. Tony Finau’s champion’s press convention

You already noticed the quote from above. An even bigger dose of Champion Finau ought to do you effectively.

2. Finau’s celebratory airport greeting

Your reminder that no person on Tour can transfer just like the champ:

3. The AIG Ladies’s Open at Muirfield

Prepare for what the locals will name a correct Open at a correct hyperlinks course: historic Muirfield, which is welcoming the ladies for the primary time. For a sneak preview, listed here are some snazzy visuals from the Fried Egg:

We’ll see you subsequent week!

dylan dethier

Dylan Dethier Editor

Dylan Dethier is a senior author for GOLF Journal/ The Williamstown, Mass. native joined GOLF in 2017 after two years scuffling on the mini-tours. Dethier is a 2014 graduate of Williams Faculty, the place he majored in English, and he’s the writer of 18 in America, which particulars the yr he spent as an 18-year-old residing from his automotive and enjoying a spherical of golf in each state.

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