The battle for the soul of pro golf is on.
In one corner, the PGA Tour stands. On its side is legacy, prestige, and a host of established players who have committed themselves to saving it. In the opposing corner looms LIV Golf, strapped with boatloads of cash, a limited schedule, and an ever-growing list of accomplished stars.
The PGA Tour vs. LIV battle had been bubbling below the surface for a couple years prior to 2022, but this summer, things have been ramped up to a whole new level. Ever since the Saudi-funded league staged its first event six weeks ago, the temperature has increased to never-before-seen levels.
With momentum on their side, LIV has made considerable progress in recent weeks picking off some big names from the PGA Tour. However, according to one former pro, there is a strategy the PGA Tour can employ to regain the momentum in their fight to save pro golf.
“[LIV] is selling themselves to the young players, and the PGA Tour is going to have to do that,” Hunter Mahan said on this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar.
LIV has already signed the likes of No. 2-ranked amateur Eugenio Chacarra and reigning U.S. Amateur champ James Piot, so for the PGA Tour to keep up, they’re going to need to lock down the future stars of the game.
“They’re coming after the young guys,” Mahan said. “Pierceson Coody — who has already won on the Korn Ferry Tour — if I was the Tour, I’m probably going to walk to him and say, ‘You’re on the PGA Tour now. We want you on this tour … You are the future of golf. We don’t need to go through the whole process, we want you here right now.’ They’re going to have to sell themselves to the young college players.”
Mahan explained that he believes the PGA Tour is going to need to use the NCAA ranks as a feeder system — much like the NFL does with college football — if they want to retain the future stars of the game.
“I think they’re going to have to start doing creative things like that,” Mahan said. “They’re going to have to start selling themselves like that and making themselves super aggressive in changing their model.”
Check out the entire episode of Subpar below.