While the golf world has been divided by the battle between the PGA Tour and Greg Norman’s LIV Golf, the fierce rivalry between the two has actually been good for the sport.
That’s the view of former golfer turned social media star, Paige Spiranac, who says the last 12 months has revitalised a “boring” sport.
Australia’s Cameron Smith, who in 2022 won his first major title at the Open Championship, is amongst those to have been banned by the PGA Tour after pledging his allegiance to LIV Golf.
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It means the opportunity to see the best golfers from each side compete against each other will be limited to the four major tournaments, which are organised independently.
Speaking to the Nine podcast Yesterday’s Heroes, Spiranac called for a Ryder Cup-style tournament between the two warring tours.
“I think that would be incredible,” she said.
“I think that would be absolutely electric and something that everyone would want to see.”
One of LIV Golf’s fiercest critics, world No.3 Rory McIlroy, has conceded Norman’s tour has been good for the PGA Tour, saying recently that it “has benefited everyone that plays elite professional golf”. He noted that the PGA Tour had become complacent without a direct rival.
That’s a view shared by Spiranac.
“I think that, in a roundabout way, it’s been really amazing for the game of golf,” she said.
“We’re talking about the viewer experience and thinking about golf as entertainment, which sometimes I think we don’t always think about.
“When we look at other sports, it’s always the entertainment aspect. We have music, lights and fireworks and they really try and make it something that’s exciting for people whether you like the sport or you don’t like the sport.
“With golf, it’s always been about tradition and not doing anything that’s going to be too groundbreaking, there hasn’t been too many changes throughout the years.”
McIlory pointed out that LIV Golf’s arrival had resulted in a “ton of innovation” on the PGA Tour, noting that the PGA Tour wasn’t just competing with LIV Golf for viewers, but social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok.
“With the emergence of LIV Golf, it’s been interesting to see the developments on the PGA Tour and how they are picking and choosing what’s good and what they want to do to improve,” Spiranac said.
“I think all in all it has been a real positive and the viewer experience has been better. It’s raised the level of competition on the PGA Tour and the guys are so passionate about what they’re doing.
“It has been great, I’m excited to see what’s going to happen in the next couple of years.
“I’ve been excited talking about it too, because at times golf can be quite boring and not much drama,” she added.
“Before all of this was happening we were talking about Tony Finau’s McDonald’s order. That was the biggest story that was going on in golf! It was like, I can’t talk about that any more!
“Having a little bit of drama and people being interested in golf for the first time who have never really heard about golf, they’re now talking about golf. I’ve been excited to see that.”
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