The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass was the first time that the PGA Tour seemed to be lacking its LIV Golfers.
The event previously regarded as the ‘unofficial fifth Major’ of the men’s game can no longer boast that tag following the breakaway Saudi-backed circuit picking up some of the Tour’s biggest names.
The PGA Tour has done very well to counteract the rebel tour and keep the rest of its stars on-side, but with some big LIV Golf names missing, including the defending champion, as well as Rory McIlroy missing the cut, Jon Rahm pulling out with illness and a back nine procession from Scottie Scheffler, the Players Championship felt like just another ‘designated’ PGA Tour event.
The Players used to stand out from the crowd by a long way on the PGA Tour schedule, but a series of designated events featuring all of the Tour’s top talent means that it doesn’t really boast much of a better field than we’ll be seeing all year long.
It still stands out ahead of every other PGA Tour event in two ways – the iconic course that we’ve all grown to know and love, and the huge $25m prize fund that saw Scheffler pick up $4.5m for his superb win.
But without the LIV guys – Cam Smith, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Joaquin Niemann, Abraham Ancer et al – it simply cannot match up to the fields, and storylines, that the four Majors can now boast over it.
Would I be writing something different if it was McIlroy vs Scheffler coming down the stretch? Or perhaps Spieth and Rahm going toe-to-toe? Perhaps.
The PGA Tour seems to be over-reliant on about six or seven names right now. If Scheffler, Rahm, McIlroy, Thomas, Spieth or Homa aren’t up there in a close, entertaining finish, or if Tiger Woods isn’t in the field, the ‘product’ might not be quite what it was pre-LIV.
While the PGA Tour has been impacted by the loss of many star names, the Majors have been significantly strengthened. Want to watch McIlroy vs DJ? Or Bryson vs Rahm? Koepka vs Scheffler? Smith vs Spieth? There will only be four times a year that these dream scenarios could be possible.
Like it or not, but, as well as the players’ bank balances, the Majors have come out as the real winners from the emergence of LIV. Next month’s Masters is the most anticipated Major I can remember.
To be truly classed as a Major, you need every single one of the world’s…
Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Golf Monthly RSS Feed…