Best of: Thoughts on LIV Golf for Women — Must-click women’s golf links
The IX: Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, July 14, 2022
I hate not being able to pump out something new for you all today, so for now, I’ll leave you with this article to read from GolfWeek on the likelihood of LIV Golf introducing a women’s league and a reiteration of my thoughts on the never ending LIV Golf saga. See you next week!
I’ll confess…I hadn’t given the LIV Tour an ounce of my attention until about eight days ago, when Dustin Johnson announced his resignation from the PGA to sign a four-year, $125 million contract with the Saudi-backed golf tour. For reference, Tiger Woods’ total career earnings from just golf is estimated at $121 million (he also just made the Forbes billionaire list last week). And since I’m throwing out numbers, keep in mind that only 2 weeks ago, the USWO had a historic $10 million purse.
Golf media has been obsessed with the LIV Tour and the amount of money being tossed around, which I agree, is newsworthy, but the storyline has run tired already. I don’t mean to oversimplify the situation but I see money, ego, and greed being disguised as wanting to ‘grow the game’, and I call B.S.
LIV being backed by the Saudi government is problematic for a number of reasons. If you missed this ELLE magazine article from last week’s link, go back and read it! It highlights a network of detention centers known as, ‘Dar Al Reaya’, within Saudi Arabia where women are sent for disobedience against their male family members. The level of abuse and the allegations against these women sent to these prisons is gut-wrenching. Let’s also not forget about the 92 executions carried out by Saudi Arabia this year — 81 of which occurred in March alone.
But it’s not just the men of the PGA Tour who are toeing the ethics line for the sake of more money, the Ladies European Tour or LET, which falls under the umbrella of the LPGA, are also accepting and carrying out events sanctioned by Aramco, a Saudi oil company. In fact, there’s an event happening in London at this very moment. This week’s London leg is the second of five $1 million Aramco Team Series tournaments on the LET calendar for 2022. It is famed for its unique format, in which three LET professionals play in teams with one amateur player.
But enter the dilemma, or at least, the issue I take with LIV/Aramco Series vs. the PGA/LPGA. Like so many of us, we believe in the history and the tradition of golf’s organizations. For 70+ years, these institutions have been the gold standard of what it means to ‘make it’ in golf, but now that’s not enough anymore. Players want the big payouts, I can’t blame them.
Last week, Beth Ann Nichols of Golfweek, asked the question…how vulnerable is the LPGA now that the LIV Tour is up and running? “It’s hard, because morally I have an issue when everything that goes on there [Saudi Arabia], especially towards women…but as Rory put it, $100 million isn’t going to change his life. But a couple million changes my life completely,” said Brittany Altomare, a nine-year vet on the LPGA.
It’s a luxury to be concerned about your legacy rather than money. A lot of LPGA players rent Airbnbs together, carpool to tournaments, stay with hosts families, and start GoFundMe pages for the sake of covering travel expenses.
By now, you all know how much I want women’s golf to catch up the men’s golf in terms of money and exposure, but I just can’t get behind the Aramco Series — not when the abuse of women in Saudi Arabia is being treated as an elephant in the room.
The debate on whether or not athletes and other public figures should be vocal about things like geopolitics is ridiculous. They are people, they have thoughts and ultimately I’ve reached this conclusion: someone, somewhere values their opinion and believes that they hold influence. It may not directly influence me but it impacts someone else, and for that reason alone, they should speak out. Regardless of stance or position, make a choice and stand firm in it. Athletes have some authority in public opinion and what they do/say matters.
Golf media should continue to dish out the LIV Tour and Aramco Series questions, but enough of the money talk, let’s start the conversation and address the blooming moral dilemma that’s facing all of us, and what side of history we want to be on.
This week in women’s golf
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This week, the LPGA Tour rolls on into Midland Country Club for the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational (which has been extended through 2029). The Dow GLBI is a 72-hole, stroke-play tournament that will feature 72 teams competing in the foursomes and four-ball formats for a $2.5 million purse. Here’s how you can watch it.
10 teams to watch this week, featuring stars Nelly Korda, Jessica Korda, Lexi Thompson, Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb and Leona Maguire!!!
Happy Open Week!! Round one is underway…enjoy this incredible photo-op:
Anna Nordqvist and other big stars are ready to rock at the Big Green Egg Open (an incredible tournament name). The tournament is underway…follow along here.
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