LIV Golf counting on team-oriented approach as cornerstone

LIV Golf counting on team-oriented approach as cornerstone

Last fall at Whistling Straits, Greg Norman attended the Ryder Cup for the first time. He said it opened his eyes to the power of team golf. 

Norman was mesmerized and energized by what he witnessed — the passion from players on both the American and European sides and by the rabid fan interaction. 

He saw it as “a game-changer’’ watching the fans and players “engage’’ in a way he’d never seen in all of his years of playing tournament golf. 

Norman recalled being at the first tee and watching Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger fire up the crowd by chugging beers and thinking, “There it is. That is exactly what the fans are looking for.’’ 

He said the entire scene gave him “goosebumps.’’ 

Fast-forward to Wednesday at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., where Norman’s Saudi-backed LIV Golf venture officially announced its 12-team, 14-event format for 2023, featuring 48 players, ahead of the third LIV Golf event of this season, which conducted its second round on Saturday. 

There are grand plans on the part of Norman and LIV Golf to turn these teams into rival franchises like Yankees-Red Sox, Giants-Cowboys, and Rangers-Islanders, with passion becoming a part of the fabric the way it is in our mainstream sports. 

Team captains Dustin Johnson, right, and Carlos Ortiz
Team captains Dustin Johnson, right, and Carlos Ortiz
Getty Images

There are visions of team merchandise becoming as hot a commodity as an Aaron Judge or Pete Alonso jersey. 

The question is whether that ever will be possible, whether this team golf scheme is nothing more than a pipe dream. Because, right now the LIV Golf team element, while an interesting idea, feels more like a gimmick, much like the tour’s shotgun starts and 54-hole format. 

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