LIV Golf In Talks For Second Australian Tournament
Opinions on LIV Golf’s Australian debut in April were overwhelmingly positive after fans turned out in droves to watch the three days of action in Adelaide.
Crushers GC captain Bryson DeChambeau declared, “that’s what LIV should be” while 4 Aces GC’s Peter Uihlein said, “the sky is the limit” for the circuit after its biggest names appeared in a country where top-level golf has been hard to come by in recent years.
Following that response, the AAP reports that talks have begun with CEO Greg Norman to expand its reach in the country from South Australia to Queensland. Queensland's Tourism and Sports Minister Sterling Hinchcliffe said: “Tourism Events Queensland have sat down with Greg and had conversations about the program. It's early days, but we're open to those conversations.”
Queensland is also the state that hosts the Australian PGA Championship, another high-profile tournament given its inclusion on the DP World Tour as part of its strategic alliance with the PGA Tour of Australasia.
While PGA Australia chairman Rodger Davis doesn’t see an expansion of LIV Golf into Queensland as a threat to the tournament, he admitted his organisation can’t compete with the big money backing LIV. He said: "They can [co-exist], but they've got such huge budgets that we can't compete even if we tried."
PGA Tour of Australasia player Louis Dobbelaar also thinks the event can co-exist with LIV thanks to the opportunities the circuit offers. He said: “It [LIV] is an extra avenue for guys and Adelaide looked awesome; the crowds were crazy and the Aussie boys loved it, but for me, I’m grateful for all the work the [Australian] PGA’s done to give us a shot to get on the main stage somewhere.”
He then cited the example of David Micheluzzi, who earned a DP World Tour card after a successful 2022 and played in the AT&T Byron Nelson on the PGA Tour last week. He said: "It's a great pathway for us boys now and we're all stoked for him to have done so well. It's motivation for us to replicate what he did. You always want it to be yourself."
One element that made the LIV Golf Adelaide event such a big hit was its stadium hole on the 12th, which was reminiscent of the famous 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale in the PGA Tour’s WM Phoenix Open. Davis also confirmed that the Australian PGA Championship would have its own stadium hole this year to continue a trend that also saw one at TPC Craig Ranch in the AT&T Bryron Nelson.
Despite that initiative and the opportunities the Tour offers, there is little doubt that any expansion into Queensland would see LIV Golf’s event become the higher profile of the two, particularly considering its financial muscle and string of top-class players, including local hero Cameron Smith.
As LIV Golf seeks a firm foothold in various areas of the world as its 14-tournament League season continues, where Australia is concerned, expansion into Queensland would surely help it achieve that aim.