The Sport of golf has been in the public sports discussion more than usual over the last year. The reason is simple: LIV Golf. The PGA Tour’s rival has pumped in almost a billion dollars in their first year of operations. Huge names in the sport like Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and Cameron Smith have made the move to LIV. Each one of these guys have won Majors in the last 3 years, and are some of the biggest names in the sport, all with world wide appeal. LIV made news in January after securing a tv rights deal with The CW that has live LIV coverage on television on Saturday’s and Sunday’s. It seems like everything working nicely for the upstart tour. There is just one problem: nobody is watching LIV golf.
YouTube to The CW
In LIV’s inaugural season every shot was only available via free streams on YouTube. I can’t find hard data, but as someone who streamed many of the Friday rounds, I never saw the number go above 100,000. That doesn’t seem like a large number when the entire world is able to access it. But there was no way to know for sure how many people actually consumed the produce. Well, now we know that basically nobody is watch LIV Golf. At least not in America. The Saturday broadcast did a measly 0.2 rating. It wasn’t even the most successful broadcast on The CW this weekend. “World’s Funniest Animals” outdrew LIV Golf.
The Problem with LIV
In defense of LIV, it was a pretty bad leaderboard. But this is the problem with LIV golf. There is no incentive to bring your A game week in and week out. These guys are competitive and want to win when they show up to a tournament. But are they competitive enough to keep their game sharp in the offseason? When Cam Smith has a rumored $100 million in the back is he really going to go to the range every single morning? I think the answer is becoming more obvious. LIV really needs one of their big named players in their prime to contend a win a Major to put this notion to bed. Cameron Smith, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, and Brooks Koepka will show up to Augusta with these questions to answer.