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#pounditThursday, February 2, 2023


Video: Nick Faldo cries during final CBS golf broadcast

Nick Faldo and Ian Baker-Finch

Nick Faldo announced earlier this summer that he is leaving CBS after a 16-year run, and his final broadcast with the network was on Sunday. The occasion was a very emotional one for the six-time major champion and his colleagues.

CBS paid tribute to Faldo during the final round of The Wyndham Championship. Both he and Ian Baker-Finch fought back tears as they said farewell to one another.

The moment was a bit of a full-circle one for Faldo. The first ever PGA Tour event that the 65-year-old played in was the Greater Greensboro Open 43 years ago. That tournament later became The Wyndham Championship.

Faldo’s contract with CBS is set to expire, and he listed several reasons why he has decided to step away. Broadcasts on CBS and the Golf Channel will not be the same without him.

Ex-major champion ‘begged’ for LIV Golf spot

Greg Norman looking ahead

June 10, 2022; St. Albans, UK; LIV golf chief executive Greg Norman looks on during the second round of the inaugural LIV golf invitational golf tournament at the Centurion Club. Mandatory Credit: Paul Childs-Action Images/Reuters via USA TODAY Sports

Plenty of golfers have gone from the PGA Tour to the controversial LIV Golf league this year, and John Daly apparently wanted to be the next Tour defector.

The Saudi-backed league has been able to lure away some of the best players on the Tour with massive amounts of money.

During an appearance on “Piers Morgan Uncensored” in late July, Daly shared that he had interest in joining LIV to make more money than he currently does on the Champions Tour. But LIV CEO Greg Norman shut him down.

“I begged Greg Norman to let me be on the LIV tour,” Daly said, via Todd Kelly of GolfWeek.

“I play two to three pro-ams every week on the Champions tour and we don’t play for a lot of money on the Champions tour so I almost feel like, ‘OK, I’m not getting a lot out of this. What are we doing?’” Daly said.

According to Daly, Norman told him that the league was not looking to add any more players.

Norman was able to attract plenty of high-end talent to LIV this year, including Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka and a two-time Masters champion.

The 56-year-old Daly, known for his unconventional appearance and colorful personality, has five career PGA Tour wins. He won the PGA Championship in 1991 and the Open Championship in 1995.

H/T Bleacher Report

Lawsuit reveals major bombshell about Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson gives a thumbs up

May 23, 2021; Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA; Phil Mickelson gives a thumbs up to the fans while walking on the 2nd hole fairway during the final round of the PGA Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

Phil Mickelson was among the golfers who were suspended by the PGA Tour back in June after he took part in the first LIV Golf event, but it turns out he had already been banned by the Tour for months at that point.

A group of LIV golfers filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour on Wednesday. One of the claims made in the suit is that Mickelson was suspended by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan on March 22 for “attempting to recruit players to join [LIV Golf],” among other supposed violations. The suspension was supposed to be for two months, but Mickelson was not granted reinstatement when he applied for it on June 20.

According to the lawsuit, the Tour told Mickelson he was banned through at least March 31, 2023 when he first applied for reinstatement. The suspension was then extended through March 31, 2024 after the 52-year-old took part in the LIV Golf event in Portland on June 30.

Mickelson stepped away from golf voluntarily earlier this year. He apologized after he was criticized for some of his comments about working with the Saudi-backed LIV league. He was then suspended along with his fellow golfers when the PGA Tour made its initial ruling in June. However, this is the first we have heard about Mickelson or anyone else being banned for a minimum of nearly two years.

LIV golfers file antitrust lawsuit against PGA Tour

Phil Mickelson in golf gear

May 22, 2021; Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA; Phil Mickelson reacts on the first green during the third round of the PGA Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

A group of LIV golfers is taking major action against the PGA Tour in a bid to play in the FedEx Cup Playoffs beginning next week.

Eleven members of LIV Golf, including Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour on Wednesday, according to Louise Radnofsky and Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal. Three of the plaintiffs — Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones — are seeking a temporary restraining order in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that would allow them to take part in next week’s FedEx Cup event, which all three had qualified for prior to their defections to LIV.

The Tour is reportedly expected to respond by defending its practices and arguing that the plaintiffs do not face a real emergency, had been aware of the situation for some time, and would be costing other golfers opportunities by insisting on their participation.

This does not come as a surprise, as LIV had indicated for some time that legal proceedings were an inevitability if the PGA Tour followed through on excluding LIV golfers from major events. Once the Tour followed through on that threat by suspending all defectors, this was only a matter of time.

The controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit has attracted a number of top players, partly by offering substantially more money and more luxurious accommodations to those who join. The Tour has responded by attempting to block any defectors from participating in Tour events and established majors.

Henrik Stenson takes shot at Ryder Cup team after LIV win

Henrik Stenson looking ahead.

May 20, 2022; Tulsa, OK, USA; Henrik Stenson looks on from the ninth tee during the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Southern Hills Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Henrik Stenson took a shot at the European Ryder Cup team after winning the LIV Golf Invitational Series event at Bedminster, N.J. on Sunday.

Stenson was playing in his first career LIV event after announcing he was joining the upstart league. Stenson shot 11-under par over the 54-hole event to win by two strokes. Afterwards, he took a jab at the Ryder Cup team.

“I guess we can agree I played like a captain,” Stenson said.

Stenson was alluding to what happened with the European Ryder Cup team.

Stenson in March was named the captain of the European Ryder Cup team for the 2023 event in Italy. But he was stripped of his captaincy in July and was disappointed with the move.

“I want to thank everyone I have worked with to date to prepare for Rome in 2023, I am hugely disappointed to not be allowed to continue in my role but wish you all the best in your ongoing preparations,” Stenson said.

Stenson also expressed that the sides could eventually reach a resolution.

“It is a shame to witness the significant uncertainty surrounding the Ryder Cup, who will be eligible to play etc. I sincerely hope a resolution between the tours and its members is reached soon and that the Ryder Cup can act as a mechanism for repair amongst various golfing bodies and their members.”

Stenson may no longer be the European team’s captain, but he still feels he deserves the role.

Luke Donald takes shot at Henrik Stenson

Luke Donald finishing a shot

Feb 29, 2020; Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA; Luke Donald hits his tee shot on the first hole during the third round of the 2020 Honda Classic golf tournament at PGA National (Champion). Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Donald took a shot at Henrik Stenson during the week while talking about Europe’s Ryder Cup team.

Donald is in line to be named the captain of Europe’s 2023 Ryder Cup team, according to a report. Though he is not willing to confirm anything yet, Donald did not hesitate to criticize Stenson.

Stenson was removed as Europe’s captain because he decided to join LIV Golf. Donald is hoping to become the replacement captain. He says he won’t pull a Stenson if selected.

“If I got this captaincy I would live up to my word and see it through,” Donald said Thursday via Golfweek. “Let me put it that way. I wouldn’t be doing a Henrik.”

Donald made an attempt to become the captain earlier this year when Stenson was announced. Donald recognized at the time that LIV participation could cause complications. His observation was prescient and could result in him now becoming the captain.

And if he is chosen, he won’t let Europe down like Stenson by leaving for LIV.

Success of LIV Golf reportedly hinges on 1 thing

Greg Norman looking ahead

June 10, 2022; St. Albans, UK; LIV golf chief executive Greg Norman looks on during the second round of the inaugural LIV golf invitational golf tournament at the Centurion Club. Mandatory Credit: Paul Childs-Action Images/Reuters via USA TODAY Sports

LIV Golf is throwing around big money and attracting many big-name players. So far, they seem to be off to a good start. But the future of the upstart league apparently hinges on whether the team aspect takes off.

Golf Digest’s Dan Rapaport is at the LIV Invitational Series event at Bedminster this week. He said based on his discussions with LIV Golf executives that the success of the league depends on the team aspect catching on.

LIV Golf needs a TV deal of course, as Rapaport mentioned. But the team aspect is what would likely make the league profitable.

Unlike other golf tours that are centered around individual play, LIV Golf has 48-player events featuring 12 teams of four. They aspire to have ownership groups buying in to the teams and selling corporate sponsorships.

With the exception of the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, golf fans are used to seeing the professional sport take shape as an individual thing. Selling it as a team sport will involve reshaping the way many golf fans think. That won’t be easy, but for LIV, it will be necessary.

Between what we’ve learned about the team aspect and what we know about the future relegation model, we’re understanding much more about LIV’s plans.

Charles Barkley makes decision on LIV commentary gig

Charles Barkley holds a microphone

November 23, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Turner Sports sportscaster Charles Barkley before The Match: Tiger vs Phil golf match at Shadow Creek Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Charles Barkley has made a definitive statement on a potential broadcasting gig for LIV Golf.

Barkley told Andrew Marchand of the New York Post that he would not do broadcast work for LIV, citing his commitments to Turner Sports and “Inside the NBA” as the key reason.

“I want to thank Greg Norman and LIV for their interest in me,” Barkley said Friday. “I wish those guys great success and nothing but the best. But, in my best interest, and being fair to Turner — because Turner and basketball have given me every single thing in my life. It is best for me to move on and I’m staying with Turner for the rest of my TV career.”

Barkley added that he made his decision on Thursday because he did not want to leave Turner and his sponsors hanging.

LIV and Barkley had been engaged in a rather public flirtation recently, especially when Barkley took part in the new tour’s pro-am event this week. He had suggested that it would take a huge offer to get him to accept, so the possibility was perhaps remote all along.

Barkley may have been more open to the job if he could do it while simultaneously upholding his TNT responsibilities. That apparently was not an option, which probably helped with the quick decision.

Report: Former Masters champion latest to join LIV Golf

LIV Golf logo

LIV Golf has added yet another major champion to its roster ahead of this week’s LIV Golf Invitational Series event at Trump Bedminster.

Golf Digest reported via Twitter on Wednesday that Bubba Watson has signed with the Saudi-backed league.

According to’s Bob Harig, Watson’s addition will be officially announced this weekend.

LIV is expected to implement a 14-tournament expansion for 2023 with 12 four-player teams. Harig said that the 43-year-old Watson will be one of the team captains.

Watson, who has not played in any tournaments since May following a torn meniscus, won the Masters in both 2012 and 2014. He joins an impressive list of past Masters champions to leave the PGA Tour for LIV, including Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed and Charl Schwartzel. One recent major champion could be the next player to join the league.

The money and perks that LIV can offer have been making it hard for players to say no, regardless of the backlash some have received for going back on their original support for the Tour. One of those perks includes a fancy method of transportation that LIV provides to its players.

Watson turned pro in 2002. He has 12 wins and 74 top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour.

LIV Golf has relegation system planned

Greg Norman looking ahead

June 10, 2022; St. Albans, UK; LIV golf chief executive Greg Norman looks on during the second round of the inaugural LIV golf invitational golf tournament at the Centurion Club. Mandatory Credit: Paul Childs-Action Images/Reuters via USA TODAY Sports

LIV Golf isn’t throwing money around and signing golfers without some sort of long-term plan in place. They seem to have their playing system very carefully planned out.

SI’s Alex Miceli published a lengthy article on Monday that outlined LIV Golf’s plans for the future.

The PGA Tour rival currently has 48-player events (12 teams of four players). They plan to continue having 48 players compete in their Invitational Series events this year and next year. But after the 2023 season, they will begin to enact their long-term plan, which includes relegation and qualification.

According to SI’s article, the bottom four players will be relegated, while the top 24 finishers will keep their status. Finishers 25-44 might also not be back the following year depending on their contract status and the decisions of team captains.

LIV Golf will also have some exemptions planned for certain players based on contractual commitments. For instance, they probably would not allow their most high-profile players to be relegated.

Players who are relegated will have a chance to earn their way back to the Invitational Series through a “Promotions” event. This event will debut in 2024. The event will be open to amateur and professional players who meet certain qualifications, such as winning tours/majors/amateur events. Golfers who rank in the top 75 in the Official World Golf Rankings will be eligible to compete in this event, as will golfers ranked Nos. 2-32 on the money list from the International Series. SI shared the full details on the event.

This year’s Invitational Series is just the beginning of some grand plans for the new league.