LIV Golf, the Saudi league. LIV, 54 in Roman numerals, the number of holes played in each tournament of a competition that has revolutionized the sport with its mountain of dollars . The echo of war thunders in Saint Andrews as much as the Open does not want the subject to be discussed in such a special event as this 150th edition. They are cursed words, as if to summon the devil.
The enemy must be silenced. Greg Norman, CEO of LIV,He was not invited to the traditional champions dinner despite being a double winner of the Jar of Claret (1986 and 1993). None of the 24 golfers listed in the Saudi league competing in this Open had an official microphone in the previous press conferences. And the most outstanding groups of the first two rounds have been made only with the stars faithful to the American circuit. The rebels look like plague in St Andrews.
In this sauce of controversy, a golfer like the American Patrick Reed, number 41 in the world, moves well. The winner of the 2018 Augusta Mastershe jumped to practice on Wednesday wearing a cap with the LIV Golf logo and the emblem also drawn on his shirt. This Thursday she repeated the image on her head and on the neck of the vest.
If the Open wanted to sweep everything that smacks of the Saudi league under the rug, Reed has opened the box of thunder. Phil Mickelson, another of the insurgents, played without advertising on his clothing, only with his personal logo on the cap. None was specially pointed out by the stands. They are Americans on British soil. The anger was taken by Ian Poulter, a 46-year-old Englishman, a man of the house, booed by some fans at the start of hole one. “I didn’t hear anything, just applause,” he commented. Tradition doesn’t sit well with betrayal at St Andrews.
Nine golfers among the 50 best in the world dispute this Open after signing for the Saudi league. Dustin Johnson is the figurehead, number 18 in the ranking. Two Spaniards accompany him: Sergio García (68th in the world) and Pablo Larrazábal (73rd). Saint Andrews prays that no golfer from the dissident group conquers the holy grail on Sunday in an eternal appointment like this. LIV Golf yearns for one of its own to be crowned in the name of the revolution.
In this clash of heads, the Royal and Ancient, the body that oversees the Open and governs the rules of world golf, has warned that it will review the classification criteria for the great British. The intention is to find the legal formula to close the doors of his temple to the livers. Golf is also played today in offices and uncertainty reigns over possible negotiations for a future great world circuit that guarantees peace. For now, not even the heavenly atmosphere of Saint Andrews is free from noise.