Australia tourney gives the LIV Tour a big boost


OCALA, FL. – No, I wasn’t at LIV GOLF/Adelaide. Last week’s tournament was played in Australia. This was also one of the few LIV events that I didn’t watch on television.

Still, from all I can gather, it provided an opportunity for the fledgling circuit to celebrate.

Australia Golf Digest reported a crowd of 35,000 for the final round.  The LIV Golf League announced an attendance of 94,000 for the week.  I’ve been on hand for four LIV tournaments and attendance – while not insignificant – didn’t approach those numbers.

I don’t doubt the numbers in Adelaide, though.  This is Australia, where LIV commissioner Greg Norman grew up. The tournament also had a dramatic finish.  The team competition, a staple at LIV events, was ideal.  For the first time a playoff was needed to decide the team winner and the all-Australian Rippers were in it.

That didn’t hurt attendance or crowd enthusiasm, nor did the fact that the Rippers beat the all-South African Stingers.  LIV team playoffs call for two players on each team competing with total score counting. Captain Cameron Smith and his mates – Mark Leishman, Matt Jones and Lucas Herbert – were the heroes of the day.

Said Smith:  “This week has far exceeded my vision for what was ahead.  I always knew internally that Australia would really embrace LIV with the culture, with the music, with the entertainment, with all of that goes on around it.  I always felt like this was the place it was going to make it big, and how it’s been (in the Australia events) the last couple years has been insane.’’

The show on his home turf understandably uplifted Norman, who said he was “feeling proud.’’

“With what we’ve gone through over the past 16 months, both as a league and what I’ve copped personally – the hatred – this makes it all worth while,’’ he said.

And that’s not all.

“Vindication is not the right word,’’ said Norman.  “It’s  the ignorance of others who simply don’t understand what we’re trying to do.  “I actually feel sorry for them because they now see the true value of LIV golf and want to be part of it.’’

Well, whether “they want to be part of it’’ remains to be seen, but if LIV supporters needed a boost, the happenings in Australia provided it.

The timing is good, too.  LIV has another event this week, in Singapore, and then two in the U.S., in Houston and Nashville in June. After heading overseas for July tournments in Spain and the United Kingdom the circuit concludes its regular season at the Greeenbrier, in West Virginia, Aug. 16-18.

Two season-ending tournaments – billed as the climax to the third season – follow in September. I feel especially close to this issue because I was told (or at least strongly advised) that one event is coming to the Chicago area, my long-time home base. That was nearly a month ago.

The event wasn’t to be held at Rich Harvest Farms, which hosted LIV tournaments the last two years, and I was unofficially advised that it will be held at Bolingbrook Golf Club, an Arthur Hills design in Chicago’s South suburbs.  A radio station – again unofficially – said it’ll be the individual championship and the dates will be Sept. 13-15.

As I was finishing up this piece I was advised that Bolingbrook would host a press conference on Tuesday.  Could this finally make it official?  We’ll let you know soon.