The three Rs

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Every month of the ongoing LIV saga has made it more abundantly clear that only four golf tournaments really matter.
Posted on
December 11, 2023
by
Robert Green in
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

I don’t know if you have been keeping up with the government’s travails surrounding its attempts to get illegal immigrants sent to Rwanda. I am not referring to whether you think the plan is imperative or immoral. I am talking about the fact that the government has not managed to deport a single person despite having so far spent £290 million (a figure that is doubtless rising) on the scheme, and with no prospect of anyone being put on a plane to there any time soon. In anyone’s book, that is a tremendous waste of money. And it is a great deal of money. I mean, £290 million! Depending on whose guesstimate you go for, that’s nearly as much as LIV Golf spent on signing Jon Rahm!

Yes, it has come to this. A vastly expensive aspect of UK government policy concerning tens of thousands of people a year actually involves less money than a Saudi-backed investment vehicle is prepared to pay in order to lure a solitary golfer. On the one hand, the Saudis have got their man. On the other, the government hasn’t got rid of any of its men. And we think the PGA Tour has got problems?

What the PGA Tour, nor the DP World Tour, does not have is a major championship. Every month of the ongoing LIV saga has made it more abundantly clear that they are the only four golf tournaments that really matter. Oh, with one other. Following on from Rwanda and Rahm, we come to our third R: the Ryder Cup. It was announced at the end of last month that Luke Donald would again be the European captain in 2025 following the success of his team in Rome this past autumn. That’s old news now, of course. By the beginning of this month we had Rory McIlroy - the fourth R, if you like – saying: “The European Tour are going to have to rewrite the rules for Ryder Cup eligibility; I certainly want Jon Rahm on the next Ryder Cup team.” (Which makes for a pretty rapid transformation from idealism to pragmatism regarding all things Saudi on the Irishman’s part.) Paul McGinley more likely had it right when he told The Times: “We don’t have a lot of leverage left against an unimaginable amount of wealth but what we do have is that all the LIV players want to play Ryder Cup. Conceding straight away, rewriting the rules, would not be a wise thing to do.” Like everything else around this subject, including whether the main established tours will reach an accommodation with LIV or whether battle will be resumed in the new year, there is much to be resolved.

A final thought for now on the Ryder Cup. This time next year the prominently LIV-supporting Donald Trump may be about to return to the White House. In his mind, the PGA of America (which runs the Ryder Cup on that side of the Atlantic) totally shafted him when it took the 2022 USPGA Championship away from his course in New Jersey in the aftermath of the assault by his supporters on the Capitol in January 2021. Given that Trump has made it plain that among the items at the top of his agenda should he become president again would be ‘vengeance’, if I was in charge of the golf operation at Bethpage Park, designated venue for the 2025 Ryder Cup, I wouldn’t regard anything as certain. I am sure Donald would think Sam Ryder’s gold trophy would look just dandy amid the chandeliers and fountains of Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.

Merry Christmas!

You can follow Robert Green on Twitter @robrtgreen and enjoy his other blog f-factors.com

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About Robert Green

Robert Green is a former editor of Golf World and Golf International magazines and the author of four books on golf, including Seve: Golf’s Flawed Genius. He has played golf on more than 450 courses around the world, occasionally acceptably.

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