Opportunity to develop golf? Competitor who – unfortunately – will help dilute golf talent in different leagues, en route to a less interesting product? It is still difficult to say what impact the arrival of the all-new LIV Series will have on the world of golf. What we do know, however, is that LIV Series members will already find their former PGA countrymen this week, for the United States Open, played at the Brookline Country Club.
If we know from the start that they certainly won’t be invited to dinner by PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan, it will still be interesting to see how fans welcome the LIV Series players on Thursday for the first round. The controversial departures of Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed, among others, have undoubtedly left a bad taste in the mouth of avid golf fans.
Role models for some and inspiration for others who are turning their backs on the organization that propelled them upward, participating in what is increasingly described as a tactic of sports wash in exchange for astronomical sums.
While Johnson and Mickelson have already been suspended from the PGA, DeChambeau and Reed have not yet been suspended, although they will be as soon as they arrive on the pitch for a LIV Series event.
When these men hit the first tee on Thursday, applause is likely to be few, if not non-existent. However, this will be a first opportunity for fans to express their views on these decisions made by leading figures in the world of golf. After many weeks of defending their positions and decisions, the new LIV Series headliners are undoubtedly ready to absorb any kind of fan reception, whatever it is.
Mickelson, however, was very complimenting to Massachusetts fans on Monday, at a roughly 25-minute press conference.
“The Country Club is one of the five foundations of the USGA. The fans here are some of the best in the world. They offer an unrivaled atmosphere, all sports combined. “
That said, let’s face it: this opinion of Left-handed it could be very different in a few hours and it’s a possibility he’s ready to tackle.
“The Boston crowd is some of the best in the sport. They have given me a lot of support and I have really appreciated it over the years. I think their energy creates a great atmosphere. Whether it’s good or bad about me, I think it will help create a good atmosphere this week, ”added Mickelson on the possibility of being booed in the next few days.
“If the fans leave [et ne me soutiennent plus], I will respect and understand their opinion. I understand that they have strong feelings towards this decision and I respect it. “
A motivation for the “faithful members”?
If ever some golfers are still thirsty for motivation, the presence of those who visibly embody the role of “evil ghosts” should be enough to fuel their performance. After all, Monahan said it on Sunday: those who remain on the PGA Tour “are loyal members”. The last thing they will want is to see the Johnson and Mickelsons of this world be more successful than those for whom principles are more important than money.
The first act of such motivation came from Rory McIlroy last week when he triumphed at the RBC Canadian Open. He said it himself after the win: the very idea of beating LIV Series promoter Greg Norman with a 21And the PGA Tour victory makes this coronation even more magical than it would have been without all the fuss.
Others are more nuanced in their opinions and words, although they share a strong sense of sadness and bitterness. In Justin Thomas’s eyes, there’s no point in getting carried away and throwing comments that everyone could do without.
“For the people at home who might say ‘Dustin Johnson is a bad person now’, that’s not fair. I said it last week, I wish he didn’t join the LIV series and I’m a little sad he’s gone. . But we have to go on. “
Once again Mickelson has been vague, even evasive about the relationships and interactions that await him this week, with friends and former compatriots.
“I have the utmost respect for the players on the PGA Tour. I have developed many friendships over the course of several decades. We share many memories. Many PGA players are people I admire and respect. I respect them if they disagree, but right now it was the best decision. “
At 31 years oldAnd participation in the US Open, Mickelson will have the opportunity to complete his grand slam. It is the only major tournament missing from his roster to become number 6And golfer in history to achieve the feat.
A shadow on the board
There are very few points on which the actors of the PGA and the LIV Series can agree, but everyone can agree on the following: the eclipse around the conflict between the two leagues certainly overshadows one of the biggest events of the year in the world of golf.
Fran Quinn qualified for the tournament at the age of 57. Scottie Scheffler is looking to continue one of the most prolific seasons of recent years. Mickelson could complete his Grand Slam. Still, Brookline’s spotlight is on this dispute.
“It’s sad. It’s the US Open, it’s a place with so much history, and all it looks like we’re talking about is this [la situation avec la Série LIV et la PGA]. It’s a shame. It’s not fair to the USGA, it’s not fair to the US Open and it’s not fair to the players, but unfortunately that’s where we are. “Sorry Thomas.
But wisely, Thomas jumped on the controversy to send a message to future generations … and perhaps an arrow to some golfers who may have left the PGA Tour for the wrong reasons.
“You have to love what you do. There isn’t a high enough monetary amount if you don’t like what you are doing. You will always be unhappy, you will not like what you do anymore. Even if you’re unhappy in a bigger house or a nicer car, that doesn’t mean your life will be better. For young people it is important to be passionate about what they do and to play for the right reasons, to want to improve. “
And for information only, the tournament winner will receive a $ 2.25 million grant on Sunday.