More Players Need to Take a Stance Against Super Golf League
IT SEEMS that the Saudi Arabia-backed Super League Golf isn’t going away anytime soon. It is believed that the men behind the SLG have been at Kiawah Island sounding out the agents of top players.
And while it is easy to dismiss the whole thing, the amount of money being bandied about is truly staggering. It is believed that Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose have each been offered $30m to take part in the series, which would feature 14 tournaments with 48-man fields. Both the PGA Tour and the European Tour have made it clear that anybody who signs up will be suspended - and that means they would not be able to play in the majors or gather world ranking points.
Let’s put the whole issue of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record to one side. The point is that we already have a global system that works, that rewards tournament golfers handsomely. Why on earth would they risk throwing it all away and, crucially, alienating golf fans in the process?
The latest target for the money men is believed to be Bryson DeChambeau. He has admitted that the whole thing raises some "interesting concepts" but he will let his management do the negotiating before even thinking about making a commitment. It is interesting that he did not rule out participating. DeChambeau had a golden opportunity to stand up and tell the world he had no interest but chose not to take it.
However, the US Open champion is also clearly aware that there is plenty of resentment.
"I'm not trying to make anybody mad," DeChambeau said. "I'm not trying to make anybody side on one side. I just want the best for the players and for the fans, and whatever players do in regards to this Tour or what not is going to make my decision.
"From my perspective it's about the players looking at it in a different way, and if they want to do that, then okay. If the players go, then I'll probably follow suit. But at this point in time, it just doesn't seem like there's enough players.
“I don't know, it's such a weird conversation. And I think the players are in such a weird position, because we're just trying to do what's best for the game of golf and for the fans. I mean, we want to give the fans an amazing experience.
"But from a Super League perspective, this is stuff that's got to be dealt with in the upper management. I'm just a player trying to play golf, so I don't really have a great answer for it."
DeChambeau said that he did not want to be the first player to sign up and be seen as leading a rebellion against the PGA Tour and golf's worldwide governing bodies.
"My agent has been telling me about it, but we don't want to ruffle any feathers," he added. "We just want to go play golf and I would say give the fans the best experience they could possibly have.
"If it's with the Super League then it's with the Super League, but I will never do anything first. I will never be anybody that goes first in something like that. It's got to be the Tour coming together and saying this is better for the fan experience.
"The PGA Tour has given me an amazing opportunity, and there's a relationship there that I don't want to hurt. There's a relationship there that I have with the USGA, the PGA, Augusta and the British Open that we don't want to hurt, and it's a very difficult, weird situation I think the players are in.
"Hopefully it can all be resolved so we can just get past it and play golf and I would say enjoy giving the fans the best entertainment possible. At the end of the day there's interesting concepts, but there's not much I can do personally. I'm out here just playing golf trying to win a major championship.
"It's a complete distraction, but from my perspective, I'd want to know what way to go and just let's go, whatever it is. Whatever is best for the players and for the fans is what I would support.
"Again, I don't know all the details. I don't know everything. This is me just speaking from an outside perspective, that whatever the Tour wants to do, whatever the players want to do, I'm behind the players with whatever they want to do because as a collective group I think we do have a good understanding of what the fans do want.
"There's going to come a point in time where they'll all talk about it, but I'm not there yet. I wish I had a bigger say in things, but I don't, I just play golf.”
Somebody once said that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The PGA Tour and European Tour provide an opportunity hundreds of young men - and not so young men - to make a lucrative living. They are pampered, they earn huge sums of money. It’s time for the game’s leading lights to join Rory McIlroy and make it clear that they will NOT be going the SLG.
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