Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images
Each week check out the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors as they break down the hottest topics in sport, and join the conversation by tweeting us Tweet embed. This week we discuss Tiger Woods’ next competitive start, LIV Golf’s failed attempt to earn OWGR points, underrated golf towns and more.
after one day LIV Golf announces a strategic alliance with the Middle East and North Africa Tour Hoping to get instant global ranking points, the OWGR said it has discontinued the league show for them. A review of changes is now in progress. “I don’t think it was a huge reaction,” Brooks Koepka said. “I just hate it when you sit on the fence. Just pick a side. If yes or no, just pick one.” Were you surprised by the decision, and how much of a setback this represents on LIV?
Josh Sens, senior writer (Tweet embed): This was like the patented heel piece from the first tee: you could see it coming. I can’t imagine LIV being surprised. This was more like an attempt by LIV to test around the edges and get a response from the narrow-lipped OWGR. It’s also likely to be part of a long-term legal strategy – evidence they may refer to later to prove they were treated unfairly. I don’t think LIV expected this ending to work in the short term.
James Colgan, Assistant Editor (Lord save her): It doesn’t matter how beautiful the suit is if you weren’t invited to the wedding in the first place. This is a bit like switching your tie at the last second hoping the guard will let you through the door.
Jack Hirsch, Assistant Editor (Tweet embed): I am not at all surprised by this. I have to agree with Josh here, if LIV Golf thought this would work… I don’t even know what to think. I guess why didn’t they try to do it earlier by belonging to the Asian Tour?
Dylan Diether, senior writer (Tweet embed): I don’t think it’s a huge setback, but I think it’s still hard to get a full read of trying LIV here. Was this aggression? Despair? Laying the groundwork for future legal moves? I think the only risk the LIV has here is their legitimacy being shot – but they may have gotten a quick OWGR judgment in return.
Speaking of world ranking points, are they needed? Some have argued that you can get rid of them entirely. Is it plausible that the professional golfer could get rid of them and work the same way or better? Why and why not?
Sense: As fun and interesting as a full free qualification would be, I think there has to be some kind of system for the majors. But there is no reason why the system is OWGR. I’ve heard suggestions for a more flexible point system within rounds (PGA / Korn Ferry, etc) where players can/can move up or down from week to week to fill in the fields. Someone smarter than me would have to know the math but that looks promising, probably fairer as a reversal of the current format and definitely fun, allowing younger stars to go faster etc. OWGR’s recent changes to key points on the strength of the entire field appear clever but the organization itself is opaque, creating doubts about how it works. Whatever happens, things should be more transparent.
Hirsch: Will OWGR become the next BCS? Will there be a professional golf match? Uh wait! We already have it. As a Penn State Snakes football fan, I’d like to see what would happen if the BCS formula was used to determine the CFB playoff game. When it comes to formulas for determining ratings, I don’t think there’s really a way to make everyone happy, but I do think there has to be some way to compare the pros from different rounds. I don’t think this can be done by a board, there must be some equation, and my understanding was that there would be no mathematics, so I would disagree on the creation and criticism of the mentioned formulas.
Colgan: Fortunately, golf isn’t cliched, exclusionary, or slow to recognize its stars, because those things would make canceling OWGR very bad for the sport. (Oh, golf he is these things? Well, maybe we should stick with it!)
Diether: No, this is an interesting thought experiment but ultimately a bad idea. One of the major crowns in golf is the world’s #1 ranking. There is a legitimate value to comparing all the top professionals. The LIV issue will eventually reach an incomplete resolution. The rankings must last.
Tiger Woods announced the star-studded stadium for the 2022 World Champion Challenge which will take place on December 1-4, But Woods was suspiciously absent. 17 players are currently committed, but the host, as usual for this event, has left three places open for exemptions. What are the odds that Tiger will use one for himself?
Sense: If he is satisfied – as in, he feels he has a chance to compete – he will play. I expect that to be the case.
Hirsch: I’d find it surprising to play the father/son role of the PNC with Charlie two weeks after the protagonist, but not to play the hero. He has said he doesn’t want to use a cart on a tour, but that’s not an event on a tour. It’s a flat golf course, he could definitely use a cart and benefit his charity to play it. All signs point to him making contact, if his body is ready for it.
Colgan: Opportunities… very good! I think the bigger question is whether we’ll see Tiger use a buggy (something he’s been unequivocally against) if he scores to play.
Diether: Yes, he will play. why not?
Despite the dominant play streak from Team USA, USA Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson said He doesn’t think they should be favored in Rome in 2023. After all, the United States hasn’t won an away game since The Belfry in 1993. But despite the Americans’ struggles abroad and the rebuilding of the European team, is there any reason to believe the United States won’t be the favorite next time they fall?
Sense: Americans will be the luckiest, and rightly so. But they will not win. I said the same thing before the Paris Cup, which I remind him of with a kind of schadenfreude, only because I’m rarely right.
Hirsch: Americans had never won there in my life, I didn’t know that was an option.
Colgan: History aside, we hardly know who will be eligible to compete in this thing once the event happens next fall. I would be surprised if Euros are the preferred bet (they kinda Start are), but I don’t think we’re having a blast in Rome.
Diether: The US team will be the favorite based on sheer talent as well as score at Whistling Straits. The makeup of this European team is still very much in question, but we can be sure Vegas will favor the stars and stripes. This was the case in France as well, although…
A recent study used 22 key indicators of ‘golf fitness’ Ranking of the best and worst cities for golfers in the United States, with Scottsdale beating Orlando for first place. We won’t discuss the best and the worst here, but we will ask you which city golfers don’t appreciate.
Sense: Cleveland. Great selection of public access at good prices, among them are Manikiki and Fowler’s Mill. And if you somehow manage to pull off a string or two, personnel (including Canterbury and The Country Club) are essential. But.. about these brown ones.
Hirsch: My former hometown is Bend, Oregon. A hidden gem across from the Oregon Cascades from Portland, Salem, and Eugene, there are a few top resorts like Tetherow, Pronghorn, Brasada Ranch, and Sunriver. A couple of notable private clubs like Bend Golf Club (my former home) and Crosswater Club. There are also two distinct daily fee courses such as Juniper Golf Course in nearby Redmond. Drive about 90 minutes into the mountains and you’ll find Tokatti, a trail with stunning mountain views at every turn. Not to mention it’s the perfect appetizer for a Bandon Dunes trip, and it’s the most beautiful five hour drive you’ll ever take with you.
Colgan: Jacksonville has a deceptively many great golf courses available to the public (the cheap and fun kind and the expensive and cheerful kind), but I really like Pinehurst. Rock resort courses. Tobacco Road rocks. Mid-Pines and Pine Needles will be the best courses in a thousand cities in the United States Can in the top five at Pinehurst. And the Country Club of North Carolina – one of the only private courses in the area – is an insanely fun slice of Southern royalty. On a per capita basis, Pinehurst is the center of the world of golf.
Diether: Undervalued? What about Traverse City, Michigan? You have Arcadia Bluffs and Forest Dunes for easy access, top-tier island courses like Historic Wawashkamo, plus plenty of affordable golf at resorts like Crystal Mountain and Grand Traverse—Northern Michigan has good golf.