What Now For The Likes of Pablo Larrazabal?
YOU will no doubt be aware that Jason Kokrak, Charles Howell II and Henrik Stenson are all in the field for LIV Golf’s latest dollar extravaganza this week after becoming the latest golfers to sign up.
Once again there will be a 48-man field at Trump National chasing a first prize of $4m. But if they keep attracting new players and restricting their fields to 48 it is clear that not everybody who originally signed up can be accommodated.
You may not be aware that Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed-series appears to have cut loose a number of golfers who played in the first event at Centurion Golf Club in St Albans, including Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal and American Andy Ogletree.
The DP World Tour fined Larrazabal £100,000 for taking part. Ogletree was suspended by the PGA Tour. They may now both be wondering if it was worth all the trouble. And with more star names being linked to LIV, it is inevitable that other players are going to suffer a similar fate.
LIV chief executive Greg Norman continues to put a positive spin on things, but he would, wouldn’t he?
Check out this from the Australian: “It’s been an historic two months for LIV Golf as we’ve established a new era for the sport that delivers unique energy, camaraderie, and competition.
“In just six rounds of live action, we have created a golf environment that has captured the world’s attention and attracted young, passionate fans around the globe.We are excited to take another giant leap forward at the beautiful Trump National Golf Club Bedminster where our players are eager to tee off in pursuit of the third individual and team titles of the season.”
Camaraderie? On what planet has he been living? Yes, his golf environment has captured the world’s attention but perhaps not for the reasons he had hoped. And he cannot be serious in his assertion that a load of forty-somethings well past their prime have attracted “young, passionate fans”.
But with more than $4m in the bank as a result of his efforts in Portland, it may well be that the likes of Branden Grace has accepted that the sport’s four biggest prizes - the majors - are no longer important to him.
A lack of competitive action must, however, be a real concern for these guys. They are now playing a limited schedule and no matter how talented you are, if you are not putting yourself in the heat of battle on a regular basis then your sharpness and form must suffer.
Larrazabal will, no doubt, be looking for a way back with the DP World Tour - it will be interesting to see how he is received by both fans and fellow players.
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