I can’t believe I’m typing this, but Charlie Woods is, in today’s marketplace, the most valuable golfer in the world. We’re already obsessed with him, and his journey through golf will include his dad as coach, caddie, bodyguard, head cheerleader, sports psychologist and sundry other roles. He’s a great-looking kid with cross-cultural roots, a fascinating backstory and one of the most famous last names in sports. Half a billion would be a bargain for LIV.
This time last year Collin Morikawa would have been the easy choice, but as we’ve seen, a lot can change in one season. He clearly regressed in ’22, but I liked Morikawa’s recent fire responding to Trevor Immelman’s critique. And the first step on the road to recovery is admitting you have a problem; that Morikawa recently hired his first putting coach hints at a big rebound next year. Justin Thomas has a gear the other two players don’t possess, but he remains a tad too flighty. It will take a career to get to five majors, and JT seems to get beaten down by the nadirs. Can he keep pushing through? I love everything about Scottie Scheffler, but he’s been a world-class player for only about a year. I need more more of a sample size before anointing him. I mean, five majors is a monumental number. We’re talking Seve and Lord Byron territory. I’m not sure any player other that Rory McIlroy will get there. (I guess Brooks Koepka has to be in the conversation, if only because he’s already at four.) But to your question, I’ll take Morikawa.
I think we need more info on the Bubba front. Surely, if he received these kinds of appearance fees, he wasn’t alone. And I can’t imagine that if such appearance fees were being given, it would have had “open secret” status. Is this something you knew about before his comments? @GolfSpyMPR
Yes, it has been know to golf insiders for forever that PGA Tour sponsors find ways to put money in the pockets of players they want to tee it up at their tournament. It’s such an accepted practice that Bubba’s comments got no pushback from any players on the PGA Tour, and the Tour confirmed it! The classic “sponsor-related activity” is to show up at a cocktail party and press flesh for half an hour, or perhaps do a little Q and A. It’s not exactly heavy lifting, and I’ve heard number as high as $300,000 for these de facto appearance fees. (In the hour after this posted, I heard from two inside sources that, for the biggest stars, the tab has run into seven figures. One Hall of Famer is reputed to have asked for an $8 million donation to his foundation!)
Does your phone auto suggest Janewattananond at this point, or do you take pride in properly typing it out? #AskAlan@JWilliams263
Honestly, I cut and paste it every time. It took me a solid five years to have confidence in Schauffele and Oosthuizen!
Are there certain tea leaves you guys in media can read in terms what players from pga are leaving for LIV? Are there certain events/obligations that if player shows up (or doesn’t show up) that gives you a clue? How do you know what to look for other than official announcement? @KeithKhorton
After nearly a year of being surrounded by rumors, subterfuge, mixed signals, retractions, pump fakes, waffling and flat-out guesswork, I’ve learned one thing to be true about the LIV rumors: No one knows what the hell they’re talking about. Until a player is announced by LIV Golf, and shows up at one of its events, everything is subject to renegotiation and change-of-heart and all the noise is meaningless.
This is the biggest no-brainer in all of golf, and that it hasn’t happened is an indictment of the leadership of both tours. If it comes to pass, I hope they go all-in on the format: one round each of best-ball, alternate shot, worst-shot scramble and both-balls-count. It would instantly be must-see TV.
The U.S. side is very, very deep, but losing two of the best players in the world, who happen to be close friends and were a powerhouse duo at the most recent Presidents Cup, would be a huge blow. Barring a sea change, the Americans will already have to do without Dustin Johnson, who went 5-0 at the last Ryder Cup. Europe has a powerful home-field advantage—if Cantlay and Schauffele go LIV, the U.S. would lose its status as the favorites in Rome.