Major Money, Big Names But No Love: Lack Of Interest In LIV Golf Speaks Volumes

Cameron Smith won the second LIV Golf event this weekend...
13:00, 20 Sep 2022

For casual sports fans, even on a weekend with reduced events, the LIV Golf event barely nudged the needle. This might well be the first time you realised there was even an event took place from the Saudi-backed series. 

It isn’t being broadcast on any major television channels, while both Apple TV and Amazon turned down offers to show the events due to concerns over the backlash. Apple went as far as saying that it was “too toxic”. So instead, if you wanted to hunt out some of the best golf stars on the planet, you had to watch on LIVGolf’s YouTube or Facebook channels. 

The thing is, hardly anybody did. 


Open champion Cam Smith won the event if you care - which you don’t - and social media reflected the ‘shoulder-shrug’ feeling around the entire thing. The Australian’s winning putt in Chicago got 600 likes on Twitter, and has been watched by just 39k people. But there is a huge golf audience out there ready to consume content. 

At the Fortinet Championship in California, which saw Max Homa edge out Danny Willett in a chaotic finale, the PGA tour got huge numbers on their channels. On Twitter, Willett’s collapse has now been viewed by 877k people and liked by 3.5k. Even the basic PGA posts are massively outperforming LIV Golf’s premium content, with a simple video of Homa carrying the heavy trophy watched by double the amount of people that watched Smith’s winning putt. 

Even the Italian Open this weekend, which saw Robert MacIntyre pick up an important win, outperformed LIV Golf by every metric. Proper golf fans have so much to enjoy that they don’t need, or care about the top players anymore. It’s a clear and obvious warning sign to those football clubs involved in the European Super League that more money and the best players doesn’t always equal success. 

It was hugely profitable for Smith, who picked up his biggest ever tournament prize money at £3.5m. Before joining up with the Saudi-backed tour, he had previously won £3m at the Players and £2m at the Open - his most famous of wins.

But golf needs sporting tales and emotions. Every sport does. It’s why Willett’s collapse was so utterly encapsulating. We know his story. Meanwhile Homa finally got a massive moment of joy with his onlooking wife, having missed 15 cuts in 17 tournaments. 

Macintyre’s scars from being left out of the Ryder Cup squad have slightly healed and now he is back in contention for the next tournament with this win in Rome. But Smith, a multi-millionaire winning some more money? Who the f*ck cares? 

It doesn’t matter who wins. It doesn’t matter who loses. They are all making a boatload of money. Cam Smith’s quote after winning in Chicago spoke volumes of his own insecurity having made the move. 

“I feel I needed to prove to myself, and probably more so to other people, just because I’ve changed tours doesn’t mean I’m a worse player.” 

But the problem runs far deeper than surface ability. Nobody is suggesting that Smith has lost any level of form and ability. It is just that by joining and now becoming one of the faces of LIV Golf, he has made himself less relevant than he has ever been. 

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