Check out the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors each week as they break down the hottest topics in the sport and join the conversation by tweeting us @golf_com. This week, we’re looking forward to the next game, talking about LIV Golf’s free agency (!), Augusta National jobs and more.
1. According to multiple reports, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas will star in the next edition of The Match, which is tentatively scheduled for December 10 in the Tampa, Florida area. This will be the first of seven editions of The Match that will feature four professional golfers instead of a one-on-one battle or a star from a different sport. Do you like the idea of going back to basics or would you rather see another famous athlete you don’t see on the golf course every week?
Josh Sens, Senior Writer (@JoshSens): Better to mix. With most of these made-for-TV confections, personality matters more than profession. The tiger is an exception. Most of us want to see him in almost any setting, even though he rarely says anything interesting into the microphone. Otherwise, though, I’ll take good chemistry and engaging banter, and the relatable experience of watching a non-Tour pro struggle. The worst versions of these events feature Tour pros making lame jokes and forced conversations with their birdies. Like this torturous Bryson-Brooks event. Elite Ball Strike? The regular season already offers a lot. These unique pieces should be more geared towards offbeat fun, and you’ll be less likely to get it if you stick strictly to Tour pros.
Dylan Dethier, Senior Writer (@dylan_dethier): The timing of this event is pretty ideal and so are the staff. While Phil Mickelson’s personality carried the early iterations of this event, Tiger Woods might be more comfortable with this crew, and we’re all looking forward to seeing him mix it up. Sens is right that offbeat is better — I loved the QB-only showdown this summer — but if we go back to all the players on the PGA Tour, that’s about as intriguing as it gets. These guys aren’t exactly playing for their legacy, but that’s okay. I can not wait to be there!
James Colgan, Associate Editor (@jamescolgan26): I dig it! The format was becoming unmistakably stale and, in a weird way, ditching Phil’s clearly made-for-TV antics might help in the long run.
2. Just days after the end of LIV Golf’s inaugural season, ESPN announced that Peter Uihlein would join Dustin Johnson’s team, with Talor Gooch joining Bubba Watson’s team. Sure, a minor move for a league trying to gain traction, but is LIV’s ability to trade players like this through free agency a major feather in his cap to increase interest going forward , or just another minor detail?
Meaning: It reminds me of that time in the late 70s when the Red Sox traded crafty left-handed pitcher Bill Lee for infielder Stan Papi. You remember that, don’t you? Of course not. Maybe there will come a day when this whole team thing will make sense to me – the weird names, the exaggerated payouts that somehow get us excited, the trades. But right now, this all seems like something only a tiny number of fans are interested in, and I’m not one of them.
Dethier: In theory, the team concept and the free agency side could both be intriguing. Free agency is undeniably interesting; in the NBA, it gets as much discussion as the actual season, arguably more. But it’s hard to create teams and allegiances from scratch. If the 4 Aces all moved to Buffalo, NY, for example, and took on the sponsorship of a Wegman, their franchise could attract loyal followers. As of now, it’s unclear what’s at stake for fans.
Colgan: LOL, Meaning. Your point is well understood. Until we know a bit more about the financial and competitive implications of a free agent/transfer market, it’s not worth the ground it sits on.
3. Woods and McIlroy’s joint venture, TMRW Sports, is on its way to becoming a much more joint venture, thanks to investments from an incredible number of professional athletes, such as Stephen Curry, Serena Williams, Sidney Crosby and a myriad of… ‘others. does all this mean to us, though?
Meaning: I hate to continue playing the role of Scrooge here, but I don’t think it means much beyond the fact that some high-profile athletes (and/or their advisers) see it as a good investment. I don’t see how that changes the product that the rest of us will see. Woods and McIlroy have enough gravitational pull to bring whoever they want into their productions, so it’s not like they need any extra help on that front. About these productions, as they’ve been described so far, they sound a bit like a love child to The Match series and Holey Moley. I will refrain from commenting on how interesting this seems to me.
Dethier: I don’t think it’s for you, though, Josh! And I think that’s fine. I think most diehard golf fans will initially be skeptical of the TMRW business, and that’s fine too. But that’s also true for Holey Moley, and it tops many “significant” PGA Tour events. So what’s the harm?
Colgan:I find myself increasingly skeptical of any group of “celebrity investors” influencing anything, but that’s probably not the worst thing in the world for TMRW’s long-term aspirations that a bunch of A-listers put their name behind it.
4. The latest ranking of the top 100 GOLF courses in the United States will be revealed on GOLF.com next week. What is a course that hasn’t historically been in the Top 100 that should be?
Meaning: Can I choose two? One is Chambers Bay. He enjoyed a passage on the list, but no more. His reputation took a hit after hosting the US Open in less than optimal conditions. But I think it’s unfair at this point. It belongs to the American Top 100. I feel the same way about The Loop, the imaginative design by Tom Doak in Michigan.
Dethier: I’m glad Sens claimed Chambers Bay so he wouldn’t have to die on this (glorious, inspiring, scenic) hill. I’ve always been fascinated by the Greywalls course at Marquette Golf Club in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Robust and formidable.
Colgan: Philly Cricket Club remains on my Mount Rushmore of golf courses about two years after I first played there, ahead of other Top 100 locations. It’s an easy choice.
5. Ironically, in a week in which GOLF.com ran mini-articles on a dozen of the best jobs in golf (you can check them all out here), we also came across jobs for Augusta National! The Masters has a temporary workforce like no other, and right now they’re hiring for Masters 2023. Quick, what job would you gladly apply for to land for Masters week 2023?
Meaning: Honorary holder. The first topped tee shot ever struck in the history of the ceremony.
Dethier: “Player” would be fun. Otherwise, I’d like to be the quiet security behind Amen Corner. It would be pretty cool to have a solitary view behind the 12th green where you could catch the action.
Colgan: 15th hole scoreboard adjuster.