- Alistair Tait
A LIV v the World Masters? Yes Please!
Updated: Apr 1
Anyone else hoping a LIV player wins the Masters? Wouldn't that turn the genteel world of golf upside down? Not sure the Green Jackets will know what to do if they have to slip another of their gaudy dress coats on Phil Mickelson's shoulders, or Dustin Johnson's, or, heaven forbid, Patrick Reed's or Sergio Garcia’s.
Can you imagine the crowing from Reed or Garcia?
This quartet is among the six LIV players who already own green jackets. Bubba Watson and Charl Schwartzel are the others. They, too, can call on local knowledge to win again.
How about proven major winners like Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen or Bryson DeChambeau conquering the Cathedral in the Pines for the first time?
How juicy would it be if one of the so-called rebels took what many believe is golf’s most coveted prize? Chances are good. There are 18 LIV players in the smallest of the major fields, a tournament with an inordinate amount of no hopers in the shape of beyond-their-best past champions, and amateurs with little or no chance of becoming the first amateur major winner since Johnny Goodman in 1933. No wonder it's probably the easiest major to win.
How about LIV members Joaquin Neumann, Abraham Ancer or Thomas Pieters joining the major club? It’s not beyond the realms of possibility.
Can you imagine Jay Monahan's reaction to a LIV victory? Or Keith Pelley’s. I’d love to dive deep into the psyches of the respective PGA Tour Commissioner and European Tour Chief Executive to measure their reactions.
There might be a wee bit of fire in the LIV bellies considering they’ve been made out to be the pariahs of the golfing world. Given the hype surrounding the LIV golfers attendance, it’s no wonder at least one rebel is intent on proving to the world that he can still play with the best. Reigning Open Champion Smith said as much to SI.Com golf writer Bob Harig:
“Obviously first and foremost for me, I’m trying to go there and play the best golf I can. (But) I think it is important for us to go there, really show a high standard of golf which we know we’re all capable of.
“Most of us will get four cracks at it this year (the majors), and hopefully we get maybe a win out of it. Maybe we just show a really hearty effort. I think for us, internally, there’s a lot of chatter going around about 'these guys don’t play real golf anymore.' And I think it’s BS to be honest. And we just want to show people that."
I think it’s BS too, but then so much of what has been written about LIV versus the rest of the world is just so much BS. I mean, you’d be forgiven for thinking the past champions dinner is going to feature a bun fight, with 1992 champion Fred Couples throwing rolls for the rest of the world with Garcia flinging them back as LIV golf’s general.
Just think, though, we have the prospect of a putative good guys versus bad guys week, with white-hatted Rory McIlroy trying to win the Masters not only to complete the career grand slam, but keep one of those pesky, black-hatted varmints from getting his hands on the title.
Own up, wouldn’t you love to see McIlroy playing with Reed in the final two-ball on Sunday afternoon? A rematch of Dubai earlier this year, but with oh so much more riding on the outcome. Or McIlroy against DeChambeau, or Koepka, or a return bout with last year’s Open nemesis Smith?
Oh, how juicy.
I’ll no doubt get pilloried from some quarters for hoping a LIV golfer wins. C'est la vie, the trolls have trolled before. Water, duck’s back. But given the shameful treatment of these players from some quarters, it would serve a lot of people right if one of them donned the green jacket. Maybe there would be a greater chance of a grown up conversation between LIV, the PGA and European Tours if a LIV player won at Augusta, rather than the current petty, ugly squabble that’s doing professional golf no favours whatsoever.
We can but dream….
#JustSaying: “I feel like I’ve played my best golf I’ve ever played around there (Augusta National). I feel like I’ve got a pretty good record around there." Cameron Smith, a Masters runner-up in 2020, and third last year