Off The Fringe – Prelude to U.S. Open

Like and Follow Golf Oklahoma

By ED TRAVIS

With the U.S. Open starting this week a lot can be said about the state of men’s professional golf. The topic foremost in people’s minds is getting all the world’s top players playing against each other rather than in the four major championships. The talks between the Saudi Public Investment Fund’s LIV Golf and the PGA Tour over a potential merger of commercial interests have been going on for a year.

Now, after the initial announcement of a possible PGAT/LIV combine we still have no answers and no insight. There are plentiful signs that interest in men’s pro golf is starting to decline highlighted by the resignation of two PGA Tour Policy Board members with one saying the talks with PIF are going nowhere.

The situation became a lot spicier when in January the PGAT announced a $3 billion investment by the Strategic Sports Group into PGA Tour Enterprises, a new for-profit corporation with approximately 200 PGAT players receiving equity in the company. Tour Enterprises will broaden the business in which the Tour can be involved including the DP World Tour, digital and data platforms, the Tour’s international interests plus other investments.

Open week may be one big drama after another, and I don’t mean on the course.

Speaking of on the course a reasonable question is how many LIV golfers will be in the 156-man field and the answer is ten. Eight of the ten including Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson received exemption for past major wins. Nineteen other LIV players attempted to qualify and of those that went that route just two will be playing in Pinehurst, Dean Burmester and David Puig.

Memorial Question
One story coming out of the Memorial this weekend was tournament founder Jack Nicklaus’ dissatisfaction with the new spot on the PGAT schedule the week before the U.S. Open. During his career Nicklaus rarely played the week before a major championship and liked having his tournament two weeks prior so players could have the same schedule he used so successfully.

The PGAT asked Nicklaus to change due to spacing out the limited field Signature Events with the major championship. The Memorial is one of the Signature Events with a purse bumped up to $20 million.

Memorial winner Scottie Scheffler–his fifth this season–but an oddity for this 11-time PGAT champion is it’s the first time he has a victory in a month other than Feb., Mar., or April going back to his first, the Waste Management Phoenix Open Feb. 13, 2022.

Bones is Back
In a copyrighted USA Today article by Adam Schupak golf fans got the good news Jim MacKay will be working as an announcer on the NBC and Golf Channel telecasts starting with the U.S. Open.

“Bones,” as MacKay is nicknamed, is on a short list of the best caddies of all time and was on Phil Mickelson’s bag for over two decades until he did a stint with NBC in 2017 as a walking reporter. After four years with NBC, he came back on Tour with Justin Thomas’s bag, but they split in March of this year.


Facebook Comments
Receive Our eNews!

No spam guarantee.

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )

Ed Travis

Ed Travis is a national award winning golf journalist and has had a life long love affair with the game. He has competed in tournament golf both as an amateur and as a senior professional and though his competitive days are behind him he still plays regularly and carries a handicap of 2. He and his wife live in suburban Orlando.

GOLF OKLAHOMA