The moment has arrived perhaps quicker than anybody expected. A LIV Golfer has won a Major championship.
Brooks Koepka sealed a two-stroke victory at Oak Hill Country Club to pick up his fifth Major title and third PGA Championship after years of injury struggle and less than 12 months after leaving the PGA Tour for Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed start-up circuit.
Once the full roster was confirmed last summer, many fans may have only thought a few of the LIV players were still capable of winning golf’s biggest events and that the likelihood of that happening would dwindle as time went on and their games deteriorated in the life of Golf, But Louder.
Cameron Smith had just won the 150th Open (while still a PGA Tour player) and reached 2nd in the world so he was never discounted, neither really was two-time Major champion Dustin Johnson or even Joaquin Niemann – who started 63-63 to win Tiger Woods’ Genesis Invitational at Riviera last February to crack the world’s top 20.
Brooks Koepka, though? He was now ‘washed up’, like most of the other LIV players, injured and never going to get back to the player he once was – that’s why he took the money after all! It was this kind of narrative that many golf fans took and it turns out they were completely wrong.
LIV’s events certainly have more of an exhibition feel to them. They are shorter. There is no cut, with guaranteed six-figure prize money going to the last-placed player even if they shoot three consecutive 85s. Would the players be bothered to practice like they used to when there’s guaranteed money up for grabs? Surely it’s not good preparation for four round, demanding Major championship examinations.
While most level headed people probably took all of these assumptions with a healthy pinch of salt, they were still questions out there in the open and what Brooks Koepka has done is silence them. Make no mistake about it, it’s a huge win for LIV Golf.
There might even be an argument now that LIV’s events are helping the players ahead of the Majors. They’re only 54-holes so players remain fresh and without the worry of missing a cut, players get a guaranteed three rounds of competitive action. LIV players also may be fresher, as they’re playing fewer tournaments and fewer rounds.
In 2023 so far, there has already been eight designated events on the PGA Tour plus two Majors, meaning that most have played 10+ times already this year. The LIV guys have…
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