LIV: Not Golf But Louder — Golf Made More Confusing

Charles Howell III, LIV Golf, Mayakoba,(Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
Charles Howell III, LIV Golf, Mayakoba,(Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /

I never had the patience to watch LIV golf online.  But with the addition of CW, which most people know because of Supernatural, the Arrow, and Superman & Lois; at least it was a location on TV.

So, I watched when NBC went to commercial on the Honda Classic because I was interested in what they would do and what they would show, and how it would compare to normal golf.

Ratings, according to John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal, were lower than dismal.

Ratings aside, what I found was that their leaderboard was confusing, their choice of golf shots was illogical and the information was lacking, compared with the standards we are accustomed to seeing on Golf Channel, NBC, and the granddaddy of golf TV, CBS, which gave us the roadmap we all expect in golf viewing.

"Its ratings on the CW were appallingly bad."

For a first-time telecast of a new golf league that was supposed to be in your face in attitude, I expected them to lead with Bryson and Brooks and Phil and Dustin with maybe a sprinkling of Sergio. That’s five first-name identifiers that don’t need the last name for golf fans to know who they are.

Their big names were mostly missing in action. OK, every once in a while, we’d see Bryson or Brooks hit a shot. I remember seeing DJ hit once or twice. That doesn’t mean they didn’t show more. My sample was based on snacking on the program on Sunday mainly during the NBC commercials. I never saw Phil. Not once. He was invisible.

LIV, Mayakoba, LIV Golf, Phil Mickelson, Charles Howell III, Brooks Koepka, TV Ratings
Dustin Johnson, LIV Golf, Mayakoba, (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /

What I saw was a lot of Paul Casey and Charles Howell III, not that they aren’t great guys.  They are. I was happy for Howell with his victory. At least I think he won the individual portion. But when you have “stars” you’ve got to showcase them. And they didn’t.

Aside from the Casey and Howell contest, every once in a while, you’d see some arbitrary guy hitting a shot for what seemed like no particular reason. It’s possible that his outcome affected the team scores, but no one said that. Team scores were rarely mentioned although they did take up screen space.

LIV, Mayakoba, LIV Golf, Phil Mickelson, Charles Howell III, Brooks Koepka, TV Ratings
Paul Casey, LIV Golf, Mayakoba, (Photo by Juan Luis Diaz/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Compare that to what we saw at Riviera.  All Tiger All The Time TV.  Ratings were great for that because network television knows that if Tiger is even tying a shoelace, people want to see it.

LIV is Phil and Brooks and Bryson and Sergio and Bubba and Ian Poulter and a few other guys, half of whom seem to be injured, which is the reason they took the money.  But we hardly ever saw the guys who drive interest from fans.

LIV Golf’s big names were mostly missing in action.

The scoring was too much at once. We, humans, were trying to watch the next golf shot which often happened at the same time that information popped up on the left side of the screen to tell us I can’t remember what.

I think the player’s name got bigger and maybe the hole he was playing was identified, but by the time I figured that out, I had missed the shot he was hitting. Very annoying. Of course, it could be an acquired taste. Timing is everything in those situations, and LIV missed the boat there, in my opinion. I don’t have four eyes and two optic nerves to send information to my brain.

I’m not a big fan of showing those five leaders all the time, by any network. I’d like scoring information on more players. Fewer drives me to my phone and the PGA Tour app, the updated version of which, I truly dislike. Like how do you find the schedule?  Where is the tab that says schedule? It’s an accidental find is what it is.

Usually, I end up walking into my office and getting it from the computer because that’s faster than the hunt I have to go through to find it on my phone. Who does these apps and thinks they are good? But, I digress.

On the LIV telecast, I also had the feeling they kept showing the same two golf holes all the time, or else the holes on the course look remarkably alike, or every time I switched channels, they happened to be on the same hole I saw before.

In addition, I never had any idea where the big-name players were. It was a shotgun, sure. But, what fans want to know is where’s Brooks, where’s Bryson, where’s Phil, where’s DJ on the golf course?

LIV, Mayakoba, LIV Golf, Phil Mickelson, Charles Howell III, Brooks Koepka, TV Ratings
Phil Mickelson, LIV Golf, Mayakoba, (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /

There was no Trackman, which is the best golf invention ever since the Pro V1. Even if it’s not totally accurate, it gives you a general idea of where the ball is headed.

There was a little bit of how far it was to the hole, but insufficient information on what the golfer was trying to do, what club he was hitting, all the things we have become used to having in a golf telecast. So, I left thinking that they had a long way to go there.

They had the team score on the screen, which they could have dropped most of the time in favor of showing more players. In fact, the idea of showing more players on a leaderboard of some kind is possibly the best idea LIV has, although I think they borrowed it from racing. No matter. It gives a better idea of how more people are doing.

Or they could have scrapped the individual leaders in favor of doing team results the whole time. It was like the team thing was kicked to the curb. Because the teams are a new concept, they rotated them at the bottom of the screen, which you could watch while a player was making a practice swing, if it didn’t get overshadowed by the graphics in the scoring area. There’s a rule that says everything can’t be important at the same time, and LIV’s telecast failed on that.

You could tell the team merchandise thing was working because there were some people with logoed items.

Next. A tree helped Chris Kirk to a tree-mendous victory. dark

So, in a nutshell, those are some of the reasons why I thought LIV golf’s debut telecast might have been – on site — Golf But Louder.  But from a TV standpoint, it was both Golf Without The Stars You Promised and Golf But More Confusing.