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  • John Cockayne

A letter from the editor

BGM Issue 3 Vol 2: Editor’s Letter

Golf’s future sits poised at a fork in the road.

What a week it proved to be - the 150th staging of the Open Championship at Saint Andrews, where the ‘old course’ provided the perfect backdrop to such an important moment in golf ‘s rich history.

The on-course action was electrifying right to the end, so how sad it was that the off the course events did not match up.

The indications that the R&A were not going to join in the ‘discussions’ about the LIV Series were strong, as evidenced by its own decision not to invite Greg Norman, because it was felt that his presence might prove to be a ‘distraction’ during the Open Championship.

However, the association then did an almost immediate 180 degrees’ turnabout, by generating the distraction themselves, by talking about the LIV Series in its opening address to the media!

In this ‘talk’, the CEO pronounced on the R&A’s belief that the LIV Series is not good for the perception of golf.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but I thought that the R&A’s constituency was primarily focused on the rules of golf, running several tournaments, including the Open Championship, and the development of the amateur game?

Perhaps the R&A consider that the slight areas of overlap i.e., PGA coaches and club professionals coaching in R&A development programmes, and the fact that the fields for The Open, Senior Open and Women’s Open, are predominantly made up of tour professionals, gives them the platform to share their opinions, on what is a matter that affects professional golf?

Whatever their motivations might have been, perhaps they should know that the amateurs that I have spoken to, don’t actually give two hoots about the LIV Series / Tours debate, especially given the glaring levels of hypocrisy involved.

Most of them are more concerned about their own level of the game, and matters like why the rules demand that they still have to play out of a divot from the centre of the fairway (on the relatively rare occasions, for many of them, that they hit any part of any fairway!), and also wonder why the R&A, has chosen to involve itself in this matter.

I’ve said it before, but if you and I opened a new type of hybrid golf club / resort / estate, would we be considered ‘traitors’ or ‘turncoats’ by the estates’ sector?

I would hope not, and I would also seriously doubt this ever being an outcome.

We might well be seen as business disruptors, and the ‘competition’ might also step back and assess what we are doing, but would they try to (or even be able to) institute a campaign to stop estate agents selling our development’s property, or attempt to have builders and developers banned from working on the site?

To add more fuel and ‘hysteria’, it was disappointing to see that one BBC journalist, even used the verb ‘defect’ to describe the decision by some players to go to play in the LIV Series.

The definition of the verb ‘defect’ is to ‘forsake one cause, party, or nation for another often because of a change in ideology’ ( - online dictionary).

As you can see, none of these descriptions are remotely connected with the scenario, where a group of players who play golf to earn a living, have decided to exercise their free will, to go and earn money by playing in another set of tournaments, as opposed to those that they usually play in.

We know that none of the arguments about the source of the funding hold any water, at least by those using them as some sort of justification for their own indignation!

However, as a curious observer (only an observer because I have no skin in this game), I have three real concerns.

The first, is that in this developing tale, no one is talking about the possibility that the LIV Series might well be an on ramp to golf, in terms of getting people interested in watching golf, and then by extension, playing the game, because it is different?

It would not be a far stretch to compare what is going on now in golf, with what happened in cricket some years ago.

The second concern, is that I am not aware that there have been any meaningful discussions, just increased levels of name calling and finger pointing.

This is a matter which needs to be discussed and worked on by everyone, as the arrival of the LIV Series on golf’s stage, presents a great opportunity for the game.

Any rapprochement will only come about through dialogue, and therefore my third concern, is that as the LIV Series appears unlikely to ‘go away’ any time soon, then the opportunity for golf to evolve is being missed, in what is becoming an increasingly polarized, and unnecessarily fractious confrontation.

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