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  • Tee Times x @LIVGolfUpdates Q&A #1

Tee Times x @LIVGolfUpdates Q&A #1

Jan 10th, 2024 Question and Answer

@LudvigTracker on X

While there are still roster announcements to be made in the coming weeks (hopefully sooner than later), without a doubt the most impactful player joining LIV Golf (not named Jon Rahm) thus far is Andy Ogletree. The beauty of this addition is that he played his way onto the tour by winning the International Series Order of Merit. He also won the Asian Tour Order of Merit. With 3 professional wins since November of 2022, Andy has the potential to be one of the games next stars.

He's just 25 years old and here’s a quick glance at his resume:

- 2019 US Amateur Champion

- 2020 Masters Low Amateur (T34)

- 3 International Series wins

- 4 other top 10s on the International Series in the 2023 season

Just having a quick glance at their current rosters, I can only pick out a few teams that wouldn’t immediately want to add a player of his quality. He’ll be joining Phil Mickelson’s HyFlyers GC for the 2024 season, replacing James Piot. While Piot is a talented player, Ogletree is in a different class and has a good bit more experience under his belt. If Phil’s been putting in the time this offseason I can see HyFlyers finding their way onto the podium several times this year, and wouldn’t be surprised to see them win one.

@jamiereideltsn on X

@PismoLiving on X

Two questions in one here as they’re closely related.

There was some question if Rahm might join Cleeks as a captain for the season and expand to his own team in the 2025 season, but it’s looking like he’s going to go ahead and grab the metaphorical bull by the horns.

The 13th team in LIV Golf, formed by Jon Rahm will be called “Legion XIII” or “Legion 13 GC”.

As part of his agreement in forming his own team he’ll be taking one player from the LIV Promotions Event. With Kalle Samooja joining Cleeks this would leave Jinichiro Kozuma or Keiran Vincent. Additionally they could pull another player from that like Laurie Canter if those two have been allocated to a team already.

As for the other two roster spots, I believe he’ll be looking to add a mix of young talent, potentially a top amateur player, and a big name major champion currently playing on the PGA Tour. If these player additions materialize, Legion XIII will be immediately be one of the strongest rosters with the most upside in the future.

@GolfLoverUK on X

To theorize which team will have the most improved season on LIV Golf in 2024 we’ve got to start by looking at the 2023 season rankings.

Immediately, to me, this seems obvious. Brooks Koepka’s Smash GC will undoubtedly improve from their 8th place finish in 2023. Smash was part of a multi-team trade that RangeGoats GC’s star and 2023 Individual Champion Talor Gooch join in return for Matthew Wolff. Bubba assures us that this makes sense in the long run, and while no one is more bullish on Matt Wolff than I am, the numbers aren’t adding up in my head. Either way, this trade, in addition to the signing of Graeme McDowell to replace the relegated Chase Koepka, drastically improves the potential of Smash GC. They were a team that often times had two players performing well, and a third score dragging them down the rankings. To look at this roster shakeup strictly through a statistical lens:

The scoring average of Chase Koepka and Matt Wolff is 70.48, and the scoring average of Talor Gooch and Graeme McDowell is 69.69. That’s over a full shot improvement per round of golf. 3 shots over the course of each LIV event.

Expand that over the course of the season and Smash GC is going to see some significant improvement in their finishes. Couple that with the improved form of Brooks Koepka in the latter half of the season, Smash will undoubtedly see a drastic improvement from what was honestly a lackluster result in 2023.

Also, and I don’t have the stats to back this one up, but I really wouldn’t be shocked to see a big improvement from Majesticks GC. Obviously easy to do given where they finished last year, but they’ve got the talent to be a competitive team and I’d expect to see them on the podium a couple of times this season.

@LIVGolfNation on X

I would be very surprised if 9 months from now we aren’t talking about the season from the young Spanish player David Puig. Former Torque GC member, transferred to Sergio Garcia’s Fireballs GC in the offseason, he’s poised to have a fantastic year in 2024.

Currently TUGR ranks David Puig as the 81st best player in the world, and DataGolf has him 123rd, but I would suspect that many people that don’t closely follow LIV or the international golf circuits aren’t too familiar with him. He turned professional and joined LIV Golf in 2022 after an impressive amateur career and tallied a win in 2023 at the International Series Singapore event. An impressive wire-to-wire performance where he won by 5 strokes (and shot 1 over in the final round). That wasn’t his only strong performance of the year as he also finished T5 in at LIV Valderrama, T3 at LIV Greenbrier, T4 in the International Series England event, and T3 at the BNI Indonesian Masters. By all measures David’s game is trending upward and I really think he’s poised to have a breakout year in 2024.

@MikeJDunks on X

This one’s certainly a bit tougher than the others. The past 18 months any objective observer can see that there has been an all out effort from the PGA Tour to stop the emergence of LIV Golf, and a major part of that was utilizing their partnerships and effectively forcing everyone to “pick a side”. I doubt this was done through something as clear as being told to “bash LIV”, but more of an unwritten understanding that they may be risking ties with the tour if they cover it.

The PGA Tour is the most influential member of an intricate web of partnerships between manufacturers, brands, and media outlets. They have substantial influence over the entire industry through this deeply interconnected ecosystem. The desire to maintain positive relationships with sponsors and need to preserve access to players exerted unspoken pressure on media outlets to align with the PGA Tour and their sponsor’s interests.

While this looked different to the consumers, I think most outlet’s handling of LIV Golf portrayed a relatively accurate reflection of their brand and character. Just looking at couple podcasts to use a specific examples:

Fore Play – Barstool Sports: The majority of their coverage wasn’t positive, though generally was more lighthearted and displayed an incomplete understanding of what LIV was as a product, and how it had the potential to transform the golf world. Not necessarily entirely their fault, the messaging from LIV could use some work, but pretty on-brand for them as they present themselves as casual fans or the “common man”. Recently, post merger, they’ve come around and been more interested in LIV as they’ve learned they’re no longer risking access by covering it and featuring LIV players in their content. Looking forward to seeing what they do in the future as they broaden their horizons and the golf world slowly comes back together.

No Laying Up: Their coverage of LIV was, from what I consumed, almost exclusively negative. My perspective on this is that it’s a combination of protecting their sponsor interests and the brand they’ve built as a whole. While some of their video content is really enjoyable I think a lot of their more serious golf coverage has had vibe that portrays “you’re either on board with what we’re into, or you’re not in the cool crowd”. They love people knowing that they are “in the know” and almost have a “we’re better than you” feeling. This comes through with their coverage of LIV it feels they are actively trying to convince their listeners that they shouldn’t be interested in it.

That’s just a bit of my perspective and opinion on why coverage can feel like it’s skewed depending on where you consume it, and some of the outside pressures these outlets may feel from sponsors. I’m certainly open to feedback on this and open to the idea that I could just be way off, but that’s my perspective.