When Kings Of Leon drummer Nathan Followill learned he had to cover up his tattoos if he wanted to play at a prestigious Sydney golf course in 2022, the sport’s pale, masculine and outdated reputation was exposed to a new audience of potential players ready to say ‘pass’.
But at LIV golf events, not only are tattoos not banned, but you can get one on the spot.
The ‘Ink Station’ at the LIV event in Orlando provided the tattoo opportunity to support your team of choice from the 12 like the All-Australian ‘Ripper GC’ led by the game’s most famous mule, Cam Smith.
The tattoos may be temporary, but their availability speaks to the new notion of what Greg Norman’s Rebel Tour is trying to create in a game that still succeeds in its traditional format, but lacks innovation beyond that. boost already monster scholarships to sums that bring in the most money. people’s heads are spinning.
Totals of over $100 million in signing bonuses for LIV’s first influx of players made it seem like cash, and tons of it, controversially provided by the Investment Fund The oil-rich, but politically questionable Saudi public was the new league’s point of difference. Also.
The ‘Ink Station’ at the LIV event in Orlando provided the tattoo opportunity to support your team of choice from the 12 like the ‘Ripper GC’ All-Australian led by the game’s most famous mule, Cam Smith ( photo )
With more than $37 million on offer at each of the events, Adelaide being one of 14 in 2023, plus guaranteed money for anyone who makes it with no cuts, limited pitches and just 54 holes to play, critics found their targets easily and en masse as Norman’s self-proclaimed golf “revolution” simply seemed like a fast-food version of the established game with a bit more color and movement.
It’s no surprise that when you ask the players Norman lured into a business that hit the sports world and the US PGA Tour like the wrecking ball the Aussie legend always wanted him to be, they are universally enthusiastic in their praise.
Throw millions of dollars guaranteed at anyone and most, other than those who see LIV as a Saudi “sports wash” company, will tell you how good the product is.
But the smiles on the players’ faces at a packed driving range in Orlando, where everyone warmed up as music blared in the background before they all drove off at once, spoke volumes about their actual happiness.
A LIV event is as different as Norman boasted, and players at least love it.
“It’s just pumping, it’s so good,” Aussie Marc Leishman said of the mood around the events, and it’s hard to deny.
Norman said the way LIV operates is “what the fans want” and large crowds in Florida poured in as ticket sales in Adelaide sold out.
The Aussie legend is adamant critics, barring the PGA Tour, have been silenced and LIV has bolstered its presence four tournaments into its second season.
Fans flocked to the driving range at the LIV event in Orlando
Norman said the way LIV operates is ‘what fans want’ and large crowds in Florida flocked as tickets to Adelaide sold out (pictured, Australian LIV star Cam Smith)
“We do the right thing for the players. We do the right thing for the game of golf,” Norman said.
‘Do we have headwinds? 100 percent we do. Will these headwinds dissipate and go away? Yes, they will.
“A friend of mine, Jack Welch, ran General Electric. Jack and I played a lot of golf together. Jack always said, Greg, find something the masses want. So, was golf something the masses wanted? Yeah well it was but it was only one product on the platform and we had to accept it.
“To go beyond that and embrace Jack’s vision of something the masses want is that, it’s energizing and gives them entertainment as well as the sporting product.
“They don’t need to get here at 6:30 a.m. and wait until 6:30 a.m. to leave. They are here for half a day, there are five hours of golf and a bit of a concert afterwards. It’s really a really cool experience to see that happen.
Fans really want what’s been labeled “Watering Hole.” Taking the lead in the Party Hole at the PGA Tour’s Phoenix Open, the stands from tee to green on the par three of the 12th hole will be filled with fans for all three days.
Norman is adamant critics except the PGA Tour have been silenced and LIV has strengthened its presence four tournaments into its second season
While traditional golf tournaments require silence from the crowd when players hit a shot, LIV has music at all times (Brooks Koepka, photo)
There will also be constant music, like there is on the fires and 10th tees, fed from speakers a few feet away from the players, and they love it.
“They’re 100% okay with that,” Norman said.
As with most golf events, volunteers hold up signs around the green politely asking for silence, signs rendered redundant by music coming from the hospitality suites behind the ninth and 18th greens in Orlando.
Every player is greeted by the air at a LIV event, just as every player plays under the same conditions, on the same course at the same time, removing a competitive variable that has long been the bane of regular golf events.
The erratic occurrences at a LIV event, on and off the course, made many suggest that it was not “real golf”, that they would be featured at major tournaments. Three LIV players in the top four at the Masters suggest otherwise.
But creating the noise Norman wanted required a billion-dollar investment, an investment that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund won’t recoup through ticket sales or its current television deal with the niche American broadcaster. CW Network, or Channel 7 in Australia.
Norman, however, remains unfazed, convinced that he and LIV have made history with their concept, a concept he believes will have a place in golf for a long time to come.
“It’s not even been 12 months since we launched…so just to see what we’ve created within LIV’s family…really hit me pretty hard, emotionally, very honestly. It’s a testament to the understanding of what people wanted,” he said.
And our product is not going anywhere. We will continue, we will continue to innovate. We continue to grow.
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