As he prepares to return to DP World Tour action this week in South Africa, Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston explains how he’d take men’s professional golf forwards if he was in charge of the proposed merger.
With the merger of the men’s professional game seemingly up in the air, I’m putting myself in charge of the situation because I’ve had the perfect solution from day one.
Now, hear me out, but I want to see the PGA Tour and DP World Tour merge and play events from January through to August, followed by LIV taking the focus for three months. But here’s where the exciting bit happens – LIV will only feature players who are drafted to teams in the style of cricket’s IPL (Indian Premier League). No guarantees of multi-million-dollar cheques or long-term contracts, you must earn your spot if you want that ultimate payday.
The new-look schedule will mean fewer events on the global tour, but the prize funds will be bigger, especially in Europe, which deserves more focus, and players will have to play around the world if they want the best chance of getting drafted for LIV, which will continue to offer the biggest riches.
By making a global tour we’ll get a better idea of who the best players truly are. They’ll have to travel the world to play different styles of courses and the schedule will give everyone, from the big names to lesser-known players and rookies, the chance to make it to that big, end-of-year series.
The LIV captains could even remain the same each year to guarantee that the standout names like Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, and Brooks Koepka were always involved, but then everyone else would be chosen via the draft. That would be a fantastic thing to watch – can you imagine the chatter on social media?
And there would be fluidity because the teams would change and evolve every year. Just because you’ve played for a team one season, you might get picked for another the following season – or miss out altogether if you’ve not been in form. It’ll put more emphasis on every event throughout the season.
Then we’d have three months of heads-to-head team knockout golf, featuring proper matchplay, group stages, and then knockouts before crowning the champions with a big finale. Rivalries would be created, and it would freshen the game with a different format that the players and fans could look forward to every year.
Can you imagine? We’d effectively have 11 months of huge events at incredible venues with guaranteed drama and something always at stake. Everyone would be eligible for world ranking points and the Majors, golf would be united, all of the players would have opportunities to make big money and the fans would love it.
I also think more companies would be open to buying the teams and getting involved in the franchises and the TV companies would be queuing up to show the season. LIV wanted to create almost an F1 feel to its teams and this would be perfect for that. I’ll be honest, I haven’t watched a single shot of LIV, but I’d watch this.
The DP World Tour needs it to happen, too, to bring some power back to European golf because it feels as though we’re just being used as part of the negotiations and contracts rather than playing a key role in the conversations.
Our ten best players will all gain PGA Tour cards at the end of the season – a business decision that still baffles me – and it’s the PGA Tour that calls all the shots. It reminds me of an older brother dragging his younger sibling along, telling him what to do.
If you were a business looking at sponsorship opportunities next year and could see that none of the world’s top 50 or 100 are playing in an event, why would you put your money into it? You’d spend on the events that are going to get the players and the eyeballs and that’s the PGA Tour as it stands.
I just don’t see how it’s sustainable in the long term. I didn’t know if I’d ever play golf again during my injury, so I won’t be complaining if I finish in one of those ten spots and get back onto the PGA Tour next year, but I didn’t make the decision to put that in place. I care about our tour and don’t want to see it giving up all control and jeopardizing its own future.
For me, my solution is the only way this situation can be resolved. As soon as the merger was announced, Rory reiterated his hate for LIV and the LIV guys were saying they wouldn’t change, so if no one wants to budge then it’s not going anywhere in its current form.
This shows some give and take from all parties but, most importantly, it would create excitement for everyone.
LISTEN TO BEEF’S GOLF CLUB NOW
About the Author
Andrew Johnston, better known as Beef, is a professional golfer on the DP World Tour who has also played on the PGA Tour and in three of the four men’s Majors.
The Englishman, who won the Real Club Valderrama Open de España in 2016, has his own YouTube channel and is the owner and co-host of the hit Beef’s Golf Club podcast alongside fellow Today’s Golfer contributor John Robins. He has also tried his hand in the commentary booth and in front of the cameras at both The Open and the Ryder Cup.
A huge fan favorite, Beef is a Cobra Puma player and is coached by Jamie Gough. Away from golf, he is a huge Arsenal FC fan and lives in Portugal with his wife Jodie and daughter Harley.