In its Second Full Season is Liv Actually Moving The Needle?

It's fair to say that in its second full season, the jury is still out on whether LIV is having the impact on men’s professional golf that its founders had hoped.

When LIV was launched it was promised to be golf, but louder. Whilst that is certainly true with the music that is pumped out across the course, the reality is that viewership numbers are yet to catch alight and LIV’s role in the game still remains in question.

With seemingly no end in sight when it comes to striking a peace treaty between the two tours, let’s take a look at what LIV has achieved and what it still needs to do in order to capture the imagination of the public.

It is still viewed as an attractive place to play

Despite its divine impact on the game, LIV has shown no signs of stopping when it comes to trying to recruit the biggest names in the sport. Few can argue at the quality of the fields when Jon Rahm, Phil Mickelson, Cam Smith are all in attendance Brooks Koepka but with Mickelson aside, none have been able to garner the eyeballs that LIV desperately need.

The mega deal of signing Jon Rahm has certainly helped boost the profile of the breakaway tour, but if we are honest the signing of Rahm alone isn’t enough to shift the needle. 

Few players have been able to make golf universal, however, Tiger Woods’s return to action at the 2024 Masters showed the pulling power he still clearly has. Despite LIV’s best efforts to capture the signing of Woods, the fifteen time major winner has always rejected the league’s advances and for now it looks like Woods’ permanent home will remain on the PGA Tour.

In the absence of a true superstar, expect LIV to continue to poach some of the best names on the PGA Tour. Whilst Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas have all repeatedly said they aren’t going anywhere, Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schaufelle are two names that keep cropping up in LIV circles.

To make their tour viable, LIV needs competitive leaderboards week in and week out, the only way of doing that is positioning LIV as the best place to play.

Work out a way to ensure LIV can earn World Ranking Points

Work out a way to ensure LIV can earn World Ranking Points

When the theory of LIV was being drawn up, few would have believed that the tour would have gone on to enjoy the levels of success it currently has. However, one huge stumbling block that could stop the tour’s growth is the lack of world ranking points that LIV currently offers.

Despite the mega money available at the top of the game, the four majors still rank as golf’s ultimate prize. Currently, only those playing on the LIV tour who have won a major are eligible to play in the majors and a whole string of talented players such as Adrian Meronk, Joaquin Niemann, Carlos Ortiz and Sergio Garcia all find their chances of competing at the majors severely limited.

For those on the PGA Tour who wouldn’t be exempt from the majors, the lack of world ranking points on offer is a major hurdle to joining. The reason why the golf authorities are still refusing LIV ranking points is because of LIV’s 54 hole format and limited fields.

With the golf bodies refusing to yield to LIV’s demands, Greg Norman and Co will need to think of a way of accepting the OWGR’s demands or the Tour as they know it might end up having a limited life span.

Reshape its calendar

Currently the LIV calendar is made up of fourteen different events and moves all over the world. From Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore, the U.S. and the UK, nobody can dispute that LIV is a true world tour.

Over the first two seasons of LIV the undoubted jewel in the crown has been the event held in Adelaide. Attracting huge crowds, the atmosphere has been raucous and it’s clear to see that a new breed of golf fan has been awoken. 

LIV Adelaide feels like a real tournament, the atmosphere is electric and you can see that the players are happy in its surroundings. However, this is rare.

Whilst no one can dispute that taking the game to spots where golf rarely goes is a bad thing, the crowds at some LIV events are still on the sparse side. 

LIV is trying to move away from the criticisms that it is purely an exhibition event. When you see the scenes in Adelaide, it is well on its way to achieving that, but more of that is needed. 

If Norman wants to move the dial, taking LIV to areas where he can attract loud and boisterous crowds must be high on his to do list. 

Make more of the franchises 

Make more of the franchises

For LIV fanatics, one of the aspects they love about the LIV Tour is the team element.

For those new to LIV, as well as battling it out for individual glory, each player is a part of a four man team. With team names ranging from the 4 Aces, Rippers GC, Ironheads and the Range Goats, LIV’s franchises are what helps keep it unique. 

However outside of LIV circles the team aspect has yet to catch on and very few understand the value that they bring. 

The idea behind the franchises was that sponsors could invest into them and the franchises would start to have a life beyond the Tour. So far, that sponsorship is yet to happen and the franchise element of the Tour is yet to boom.

Although there is a signature team event, much more could be done to bring the appeal of the franchises to the masses. If the team angle is enhanced, LIV could really take off. 

Could LIV sit inside the current golfing calendar?

In its current guise nobody is enjoying men’s professional golf. With viewership numbers down on the PGA Tour, the dilution of the sport at the top level is having a negative impact on the game as a whole. 

Golf fans want to see the best players take on one another and at the moment the only tournaments where this happens is in the majors

In other sports such as cricket, franchise tournaments have been encompassed into the global calendar and certain months of the year have been dedicated to franchise events.

If LIV is to be integrated into the current PGA setup, there is an argument that the PGA calendar dedicates a few months to the Tour which would allow its best players to play for some of the franchises and then compete back on the regular tour.

Although this would see LIV take on a restricted calendar, the presence of the world’s best players would bring more eyeballs to the Tour and would ultimately help LIV achieve its aims.

With talks of both tours being reunited still on the shelf, fans of the game will be hoping that a solution can be reached which will see the best names in the sport take on one another much more regularly.