Beef: “Golf is a mess. We need transparency before it’s too late!”

In his latest column for Today’s Golfer, Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston argues why golf needs more honesty from those in charge for the sake of the most important thing of all…the fans.

I love golf, but the men’s professional game is in a f*cking mess. No one knows what’s going on and no one is being honest.

I’m not blaming everything on LIV or saying there should never be change or new tours, but we had it so good before all this. The PGA Tour and DP World Tour were stronger, but now we’re in this no-man’s land where none of us know what is happening or when it’s going to be sorted.

Is it any wonder that golf fans are being turned off from the professional game? I see all the negativity on social media and barring the Majors and Ryder Cup, the fans have been alienated by the money and the mess.

The Tours and players would all do well to remember COVID times when there were no spectators at tournaments, and we were all desperate to have the crowds back. It was miserable.

No atmosphere, no big welcome onto the first tee, no crowds around the 18th holes. You’d hit shots uphill to a blind green and have no idea if it was two inches from the hole or in the sh*t at the back because there was no reaction. But the Tours have lost sight of that.

Beef says that playing with no crowds during COVID was miserable.

Everyone being stubborn isn’t helpful and they need to see the bigger picture. The most important thing about sports is the fans and if TV figures and attendance are dropping next year because people are being put off then that’s a big problem.

I’m hoping Jon Rahm’s move to LIV helps speed the merger resolution along. I know Jon and we get on well – he’s a genuine person and I think his move will be the one to finally stir some action.

I wish he’d come out and been honest about his reasons for moving – there’s no need not to be when the numbers are slapping us all in the face. If any of the guys did that, I think the reaction would be very different. Jon will invest a lot of that money in his foundation, which means this could be one of the moves that does actually “grow the game”.

Jon was pissed off with the PGA Tour because they went behind the players’ backs. But I’m pleased that he’s already said he wants to continue to play on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour and I’m sure he’ll be with Team Europe at Bethpage.

Jon Rahm's ability to compete in the 2025 Ryder Cup could be key for Team Europe at Bethpage Black.

Not having that quality of player at events is just a bit shit. Don’t get me wrong, if I win any trophy I’ll be over the moon because I’ll have beaten 150 other guys, but I want to play in the strongest fields and test myself against the best players, regardless of what tour they’re from.

People have suggested the guys on LIV went there because they weren’t good enough anymore, and that they wouldn’t be able to compete over four rounds. Clearly, that’s not the case with Jon… and try telling that to Dean Burmester and Louis Oosthuizen who both won back-to-back DP World Tour events at the end of last year.

They’re among the best players in the world, but I’m still not on the side of those who believe LIV should have world ranking points. I’ve said from day one that anyone joining LIV knew the score – massive payday, no world rankings status. And that shouldn’t change until LIV becomes an open shop and changes its format. As it stands it’s effectively a guest list. Chase Koepka’s lost his place now, but he was effectively given a spot as part of the deal to sign Brooks.

But I do think the world rankings are a f*cking joke. They’re embarrassing. Look at Tiger’s closed shop no-cut Hero World Challenge event in Barbados, where 20 handpicked players were invited to play for a big cheque and then given more world ranking points than the DP World Tour Championship!

Scottie Scheffler won the Tiger Wood's hosted 2023 Hero World Challenge

The fans can see that the big names are just being rewarded left, right, and center, and half of the time it’s nothing to do with how they play. If the tours want to reward them then just hand over an envelope full of cash and forget about the golf. Don’t even get me started on the Player Impact Program.

It feels like the tours are making things up as they go. Players were told they could play in the LIV qualifying event in Abu Dhabi, only to discover they’d be fined and suspended a few days before the event started.

But there were no details of the amount or length of the punishments, so how could they make an informed decision? It’s no wonder it didn’t attract the quality of field I was expecting. It was too much of a risk when there were only three spots up for grabs and you might be fined millions or banned indefinitely.

And I don’t feel the Tour is being honest with us about the players coming back from LIV. I know of a couple who haven’t played for two years and wouldn’t have a status, but they’re straight back, I can’t get my head around how. But that’s not new, the Tour has always tweaked things to suit.

I remember when they moved the goalposts when Rory hadn’t hit the required number of events. There was another player who got totally shafted by that and lost his card. I’m just desperately hoping that 2024 sees the men’s game united again.

And for that to happen we need more openness and honesty from those in charge and to remember that the fans are more important than any of us.

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About the Author

Andrew 'Beef' Johnston is a professional golfer who plays on the DP World Tour, host of Beef's Golf Club, and contributor to Today's Golfer.

Andrew Johnston – Professional Golfer and Podcaster

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.

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