BOB WEST ON GOLF — LIV certain to upstage PGA Tour’s Rocket Mortgage

Published 12:07 am Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Much to the chagrin of the PGA Tour and its Rocket Mortgage Classic being played Thursday through Sunday in Detroit, the professional golf tournament getting the most attention this week will be the one hosted by the increasingly problematic Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Tour.

The LIV, if you have been paying attention, continues to siphon away long-time PGA Tour players with overwhelming amounts of guaranteed money. It has even started to lure away announcing talent like David Feherty. Good grief, LIV even has Charles Barkley’s ear.

Nobody can say for sure where it’s all headed but LIV has already forced a significant sweetening of the pot from the PGA Tour to its upper echelon players. Pro golf is never going to be the same.

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Just how much it changes will likely be determined by how the sport’s majors –The Masters, PGA, U.S. Open and British Open — deal with LIV members. If they are blocked, basically through the lack of World Golf Ranking points, then the threat will be considerably reduced.

That, of course, depends on an outside decision on whether to grant those points for LIV events. Golf purists contend that the LIV’s 54-hole events with shotgun starts aren’t worthy of being treated like 72-hole PGA tests where early, late tee times often complicate a player’s job.

Without those points being awarded, LIV may not have enough oxygen to survive.

Meanwhile, LIV’s golf war has landed in Bedminster, New Jersey, some 50 miles from the site of America’s 9/11 horror. Trump Bedminster CC hosts Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and other PGA defectors starting Friday.

It’s one of two LIV events being played on former president Donald Trump owned courses, with the other at Miami’s Trump National Doral.

The proximity of Trump Bedminster to one of America’s greatest nightmares, and the fact that 750 people from New Jersey died in it, is not a good look for a Saudi-backed event. Protests from the group “9/11 Families United” are going to be vocal and emotional.

They will get massive attention and make some players uncomfortable.

Ratcheting up that attention will be the former president himself. He’s been outraged at anything PGA since the 2022 PGA Championship was pulled from Trump Bedminster after the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the United States capitol. His retaliatory strikes include openly urging PGA Tour players to bolt for LIV.

One has to think Trump will make some sort of appearance at Bedminster and perhaps say critical things about the PGA Tour.

Sorry Rocket Mortgage Classic, your timing is all wrong.

CHIP SHOTS: Miranda Wang, who plays out of Pebble Beach, emerged Saturday as the third champion of the Beaumont Emergency Hospital Babe Zaharias Open. Wang outlasted Lamar ex Julie Aime and Kathleen Scavo of Benoia, California with a final round 68 for a 72-hole total of 11-under 277.

Aime, after winning the inaugural Zaharias Open in 2020, was positioned to win for a second time but let victory slip away with a 37 on the final nine at Beaumont Country Club. She finished three back of Wang with a 280. Scavo, who shot 38 on the final nine, was at 281.

Noteworthy for Wang was the largest ever first place check of $15,000 on the Women’s All Pro Tour. Aime, after collecting $7,500 for winning in 2020, walked away with $7,200 thanks to a purse that doubled in size from 2021 to $80,000.

It was another lost week on the PGA Tour for injury-plagued PN-G exes Chris Stroud and Andrew Landry. Both missed the 3M Open cut, with Stroud posting 148 (76-72) and Landry carding 150 (76-74). Landry is in the field at this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit while Stroud is taking the week off.

Beaumonter Reece Williams got a taste of a big-time tournament last week as a participant in the Optimist International Junior Championship over Doral’s famed Blue Monster Course in Miami. In an event featuring 600 contestants from 23 countries, Williams placed 80th among 162 players in Boys 12-13 with a 54-hole total of 249.

Jaxon Wolf of Groves rallied with a back-nine 35 to shoot 77 at Sunset Groves Country Club in Orange and place first in Boys 15-18 in the final regular season stop on the Southern Texas PGA Junior Tour. Tucker Cherry of Livingston also shot 77.

Other winners included Mattie Purghan of Lake Charles (78 in Girls 15-18), Grace Dai of Beaumont (55 in Junior Links Girls 13-14), Grayson Fletcher of Vidor (56 in Little Linksters Boys 11-12, 9 hole Red) and Maggie Stutz of Groves (53 in Little Linksters Girls 11-12, 9 hole Red).

In the Senior 50 Plus 2 ball at Babe Zaharias Monday, the fivesome of Dwayne Morvant, Don MacNeil, Charles Perez, Larry Johnson and Darrell Mouille won the front with minus 5. On the back, minus 1 won for the team of Kenny Robbins, Lonnie Mosley, John House and Keith Marshall.

Closest to the pin winners were Dan Flood (No. 2, 5 feet, 7 inches), James Smith (No. 7, 1 inch), Aubrey Ward (No 12, 1-3) and Eddie Delk (No. 15, 3-2).

The Saturday Super Senior 2 ball at Zaharias saw at tie on the front at minus 1 between the team of Brian Mirabella, Bill Hanley, Cap Hollier and Ron Hicks and the foursome of Ron LaSalle, MacNeil, Mosley and Jeff Rinehart. Placing first on the back with minus 3 was the foursome of Robbins, Gene Jones, Ward and Dwayne Benoit . . .

The Wednesday DogFight was played in an all-points-count format. Winning with 27 points was the team of Jim Cady, Mosley, Brad Royer and Randy Jackson. Taking second with 26 was the foursome of Gary Whitfill, MacNeil, Caleb Klein and Richard Menchaca.

Closest to the pin winners were Marshall (No. 2), Cady (No. 7), Benoit (No. 12) and Rick Pritchett (No. 15).

Golf news should be e-mailed to rdwest@usa.net.