You have to watch something or have given it a chance in order to comment fairly but it was hard going finding much to love about yesterday’s first day of play at the LIVGolf challenge.

It was broadcast on YouTube having dome too late to the party, and with a fair amount of baggage to have secured more mainstream TV deals in this part of the world. There is nowhere to hide on that platform though with live streaming numbers shown alongside and to be fair there were points when that number ticked over 100,000.

Yes, there is a curiosity factor and it has been the most publicised new sporting event in what is probably forever. Yes given the amount of money on offer it is not beyond the budget to have incentivised viewers around the world to log on. But still, there was an audience.

Sports commentary is something everyone thinks they can do and any half-decent one has practised in the garden as a kid. The commentary team yesterday were enthusiastic, and well briefed on the history-making nature of the event, but sometimes less is more and there was not much ‘less’ about the enthusiasm for what, in sporting terms, did not have an abundance of jeopardy.

If you have to be told repeatedly how brilliant something is, you begin to wonder what you are missing, or would they just dial it down a bit.

PGA Strike

When tees went in the ground at 2.15, with the players having been ferried to a shotgun start by a fleet of London Taxi’s, the US PGA struck its own drive by emailing all its members announcing that the players who were in action in London were now suspended from playing in tour events.

There will be inevitable legal challenges but suspension for a breach of rules cannot fall under restraint of trade as an expulsion or lifetime ban might. To fight and win would set a precedent that would impinge on anti-doping and general disciplinary matters so the players will just have to wear their punishment as they are counting their Riyal prize money.

The suspension does not apply to the Major tournaments though and the US Open next week followed by the 150th Open Championship will be the test of how willing players are to brave the inevitable chill of their rivals, fans and tour officials.

Back to the coverage though and talk of the crowds flocking in was hardly borne out by their scarcity around most of the greens. Graeme McDowell is pictured above finishing out the final putt of the day, he missed to return +4 on his round, and the gallery was not much more than was in evidence at yesterday’s Dublin Chamber of Commerce Golf Day at Luttrellstown Castle.

The on-screen graphics were based on what we are familiar with from F1 with constantly moving leaderboard on permanent display. There may be something in this given that all the players are in action at the same time but adding in the team logos made it visually confusing and it does not help that a number of the players from the Asian Tour in particular have very long names and less familiarity outside their home base.


Three-letter abbreviations are fine in a football match where there are two opponents, less so for a field of 48 individuals.

Ten of the 48 players shot under par rounds, 15 hit a score of +4 or worse with Andy Ogletree completing his 18 holes in +12. That might have struggled to make the leaderboard at Luttrellstown.

Organisers will be relieved though that Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson are tied in 7th place having shot -1. The €320 million payment to them to tee up did demand them putting something of a game together.

The tournament continues today after a James Morrisson (2007 Brit Award winner) played a gig last night and will complete tomorrow with a DJ set from Melanie C (Spice Girl 1994-2000). The ‘Future of Golf’ has lots of money behind it but a distinctly retro look to its stars. It’s just the beginning though and pride as well as the Saudi Public Investment Fund will not allow it to fade away quickly or quietly.

In case you have not been following the drama over recent weeks the BBC News and reporter Ros Atkins produced this 8 minute montage of the different story arcs which is a great reprise of some of the most cringeworthy moments for the now wildly richer stars that have thrown their weight behind it…



Sport for Business Partners