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Anchor Drop, February 28, 2023: The LIV Golf Fiasco

Welp, so much for the future of golf.

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LIV Golf Invitational - Mayakoba - Day Three Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Good morning.

Optional Musical Accompaniment

Okay, so it’s a slow news day for Vanderbilt sports — I mean, it’s the first day of spring practice but it’s not like there’s a whole lot I can write about that — which makes it a great time to say I told you so:

Yep, that’s right, I’m here again to dunk on LIV Golf, the Saudi money laundering/bribery scheme (no, seriously, look at where they’re holding some of their tournaments) that last summer people were talking up as a threat to the PGA Tour because they managed to bring on Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and a bunch of golfers who have won a bunch in the past but the key modifier there is “in the past.” You were going to care because they were taking the PGA Tour’s biggest names, or so went the very loud Twitter bots pushing this thing and explaining away everything that went wrong. The whole strategy of buying up past-prime superstars struck me as being very mid-1990s WCW, with the important difference that there actually were a lot of wrestling fans who would tune in entirely to watch Hulk Hogan, regardless of anything else going on. That gave WCW a few years of winning the Monday Night Wars before WWF reworked things around a new generation of stars and everybody figured out that WCW was just rehashing the same stale storylines with the same stale superstars.

Of course, LIV Golf couldn’t even get the one guy in golf with that kind of cachet. And after shopping around for a television network and having to settle on The CW after getting turned down by basically everyone else (and it’s possible that LIV is actually paying The CW to put them on the air), they’re getting dunked on left and right now that the first tournament of the season has aired.

And if that’s not bad enough, Dan Wolken is already calling LIV past its prime, like its players. Really, I would say, like Charlie Donovan, that this never had a prime: there was never a market for a competitor to the PGA Tour, but especially not for this:

Something that I thought last summer is that the people in the media who viewed this as a threat to the PGA Tour, and not something that the PGA Tour could fight off simply by making a few long-overdue changes that it finally did make, is that they were being way too deferential to the actual product that LIV was putting out there: the “teams” concept was always pure crap, and giving everybody on the tour gobs of guaranteed money would guarantee that nobody gave a fuck about winning. Instead, you get a “product” that looks more like the preseason of a real sport. It’s a product that apparently is all about appealing to the dipshits who “read” Barstool “Sports,” a website that is only technically a sports website just like LIV Golf is only technically golf. They intentionally put their first tournament of the year up against The Honda Classic, one of the PGA Tour’s non-elevated events, and got clobbered in the ratings as viewers decided they’d rather watch a couple of relative nobodies actually compete than watch LIV’s crew of stars dick around for a few days at the Riviera Maya.

I’ll be glad when this is cooked, Patrick Reed has to try to reapply for PGA Tour membership, and after this showing it’s looking like that will be sooner rather than later. Remember, the whole point of sportswashing is to use sports to make your image positive; not to use sports to embarrass yourself. (Granted, it’s possible that this works out like a Silicon Valley Venture Capital Special where they just throw money at it out of an ideological commitment to destruction, like what The Athletic has done to sports news: swiping committed local reporters only to end up laying them off once it became clear that their business model sucks, and ensuring that the only sports coverage in the future will come from homer bloggers like Wes Rucker.)

Vanderbilt sports news, briefly: women’s golf is in ninth place after the first day of the Hootie and the Blowfish Intercollegiate, and baseball hosts Austin Peay at 4:30 PM CT on the SEC Network+ in its one midweek game of the week.

Bad Gambling Advice

Season to date: 131-131-5 ATS, 124-141-1 totals

  • Florida at Georgia (6:00 PM CT, SEC Network): Georgia +2, Over 144.5
  • Arkansas at Tennessee (8:00 PM CT, ESPN2); Arkansas +6.5, Over 134
  • South Carolina at Mississippi State (8:00 PM CT, SEC Network): Mississippi State -16, Over 124.5
  • Texas A&M at Ole Miss (8:00 PM CT, ESPNU): Texas A&M -5, Under 136

Sports on TV

All times Central. College basketball schedule here. SEC baseball schedule here.

  • 6:30 PM: NBA: Lakers at Grizzlies (TNT)
  • 9:00 PM: NBA: Timberwolves at Clippers (TNT)


NBA: Hornets 117, Pistons 106 ... Heat 101, 76ers 99 ... Knicks 109, Celtics 94 ... Magic 101, Pelicans 93.

NHL: Senators 6, Red Wings 2 ... Canucks 5, Stars 4 ... Bruins 3, Oilers 2 ... Avalanche 3, Golden Knights 0 ... Ducks 4, Blackhawks 2.