Opportunity to develop golf? Competitor who – unfortunately – is helping to dilute golf’s talent in various leagues towards a less interesting product? It is still difficult to determine what impact the launch of the all-new LIV series will have on the world of golf. What we do know, however, is that the members of the LIV series will find their former PGA compatriots as early as this week at the United States Open, to be played at Brookline Country Club.
While we know in advance that they certainly won’t be invited to dinner by PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan, it will still be interesting to see how the fans will greet the Series LIV players for the first round on Thursday. The controversial departures of Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed, among others, have undoubtedly left a bitter taste in the mouth of avid golf fans.
Role models for some and inspiration for others, turning their backs on the organization that propelled them to the top and engaging in a tactic that is increasingly being dubbed tactics wash sports in exchange for astronomical sums of money.
While Johnson and Mickelson have already been suspended by the PGA, DeChambeau and Reed have not yet been suspended, although they will be once they step onto the turf for a Series LIV event.
Thursday, when these men arrive at the first tee, the cheering is likely to be rare if not absent. However, this will be a first opportunity for fans to give their opinion on these decisions made by leaders in the world of golf. After many weeks of defending their positions and decisions, the headliners of the new series LIV are no doubt ready to absorb any kind of fan reception, whatever it may be.
However, Mickelson was very courteous to Massachusetts fans in a roughly 25-minute press conference Monday.
“The Country Club is one of the five founding locations of the USGA. The fans here are among the best in the world. They offer an incomparable atmosphere, all sports combined. »
Let’s be honest: This opinion of left handed could be very different in a few hours and it’s a possibility he’s ready to deal with it.
“The spectators in Boston are some of the best in the sport. They have been very supportive and I have appreciated that over the years. I think their energy creates a beautiful atmosphere. Whether it’s positive or negative towards me, I think it will help create a good atmosphere this week,” Mickelson added on the possibility he could be booed in the coming days.
“When the fans leave [et ne me soutiennent plus], I will respect and understand your opinion. I understand that you have strong feelings about this decision and I respect that.”
A motivation for “loyal members”?
If some golfers still thirst for motivation, the presence of those who visibly embody the role of “evil spirits” should be enough to fuel their performance. After all, Monahan said it Sunday: Those who stay on the PGA Tour are “loyal members.” The last thing they want is for the Johnsons and Mickelsons of the world to outperform those who value principles over money.
The first act of that motivation came from Rory McIlroy last week when he triumphed at the RBC Canadian Open. He said it himself after his win: The very notion of beating series LIV promoter Greg Norman by a 21e Victory on the PGA Tour makes this coronation even more magical than it would have been without all that turmoil.
Others are more nuanced in their opinions and words, although they share a strong sense of sadness and bitterness. In the eyes of Justin Thomas, there is no point in getting carried away and launching comments that everyone could do without.
“For people back home who could say, ‘Dustin Johnson is a bad person now,’ that’s not fair. I said that last week, I wish he wouldn’t join series LIV, and I’m kind of sad that he left. But we must move forward. »
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 several decades. We share many memories. Many PGA players are people I admire and respect. I respect them when they disagree, but for the moment it was the best decision. »
On his 31ste Attending the US Open will give Mickelson the opportunity to complete his Grand Slam. It’s the only major tournament missing from his roster to finish 6the Golfers in history to achieve the feat.
A shadow on the board
There are very few points on which the players of the PGA and LIV series agree, but here is what everyone agrees on: the eclipse surrounding 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 successful seasons of recent years. Mickelson could complete his Grand Slam. And yet Brookline’s spotlight is on this dispute.
“It’s sad. It’s the US Open, a place with so much history and all we seem to be talking about is this [la situation avec la Série LIV et la PGA]. That’s a shame. It’s not fair for the USGA, it’s not fair for the US Open and it’s not fair for the players, but unfortunately here we are.” sorry Thomas.
But Thomas wisely 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 all the wrong reasons.
“You have to love what you do. There is no such thing as a large enough amount of money if you don’t like what you are doing. You will always be unhappy, you will not like what you are doing anymore. Even if you’re unhappy in a bigger house or nicer car, it doesn’t mean your life will get better. It’s important for young players to be passionate about what they do and to play for the right reasons, in order to want to get better. »
And just for information, the winner of the tournament on Sunday will receive $2.25 million in prize money.