We should be spending this week talking about how Matthew Fitzpatrick, a young English lad who wears braces, won the US Open. How Fitzpatrick, who dresses in oversized polos that I guarantee are hand-me-downs from an older sibling, stormed through the back nine on Sunday at Brookline to defeat Will Zalatoris and Scottie Scheffler by a single stroke. We should be talking about his long putt on 13 and the ensuing awkward fist pump, the approach on 15 that was anything but adolescent, and the fairway bunker strike on 18 that caused me to call my local orthodontist in hopes of improving my iron play.
Instead, we return to the ongoing saga of the PGA Tour versus LIV, the Saudi-backed golf league plucking noticeable names from the PGA with promises of untold riches, minimal work, and a series of soulless exhibition tournaments. It is fracturing the sport of professional men’s golf and honestly, nobody wins here. The PGA Tour has spent decades refusing to improve their product, stuffed corporate sponsorships down the throat of every single fan, and continually leaned into a brand of dartboard golf that is boring at best and embarrassing at worst. It is not coincidence that the three most scintillating tournaments of the year—the US Open, The Masters, and The Open—have nothing to do with the PGA Tour.
A sports newsletter that will not scorch you with takes.
Sign up for the weekly Chris Rawle newsletter, a thoughtful exploration of the world through the prism of sports.
Unfortunately for fans, LIV improves on nothing the PGA Tour offers. Brooks Koepka is the latest to defect to the Saudi venture, joining big names like Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and Bryson DeChambeau. Despite repeatedly claiming he doesn’t care about monetary pursuits, it seems as though Brooks may indeed play golf for the money. Shocking! I’m not here to call out anybody for making an individual choice, but I can speak about my own experience. And any decision I’ve made strictly for financial purposes has ended up in a bleak, dead-end alley painted in the words of Bob Dylan: money doesn’t talk, it swears.
Professional golf seems determined to descend to the abyss. We’ll end with the depressingly accurate words of Kyle Porter, the excellent golf analyst for CBS Sports: “Forensic work on players’ social accounts to try and determine the future, overpaying for splashy names who are fun on paper but past their primes, and guys publicly clapping back at rumormongers. Professional golf is now the NBA.”
The week in podcasting: