Scottie Scheffler recently won 'The 5th Major' but should his victory have an asterisk?
Earlier this month, Scottie Scheffler won The Players Championship - often referred to as the "5th Major" by professional golfers.
But ... he did it against a field that did not include Brooks Koepka; Cam Smith (the defending champion); Bryson DeChambeau; Dustin Johnson; Marc Leishman; Joaquin Niemann; Patrick Reed; Harold Varner III; Jason Kokrak; and Thomas Pieters.
All proven winners in their prime now on the LIV Tour.
After them on that tour comes names like: Phil Mickelson; Bubba Watson; Sergio Garcia; Graham McDowell; Kevin Na; Louis Oosthuizen; Ian Poulter; and Charl Schwartzel. Players with multiple majors and over 100 wins between them still capable of pulling off a surprise victory at a major event.
Sergio holds back:Sergio Garcia with another top 10 on LIV Tour; resists firing back at Rory, PGA Tour | D'Angelo
Koepka doesn't care:Brooks Koepka to critics of move to LIV: 'I don't care, they can think whatever they want to think' | D'Angelo
“So, what,” some may say. “Those players made their bed when they chose to go to the LIV Tour, so they have to pay the consequences.”
That is indeed an accurate statement, but it is not the point.
Scheffler won The Players against a dramatically weaker field than he would have otherwise faced were it not for the “war” between the PGA Tour and the LIV Tour. Now, before any Scheffler fans think I am dissing him, I am not. The truth is, I believe him to be the best player in the world and one of the most decent human beings in professional sports.
Knowing that, the question then becomes: Is it the LIV players who are “paying the consequences” or is it the fans and golfers like Scheffler who are, respectively, missing out on viewing and competing against the strongest fields in the world? The same question applies regarding Official World Golf Ranking points, which are withheld from players competing in LIV events and can affect those fields.
Regarding The Players Championship, back in his prime, Jack Nicklaus won it three times against truly elite fields. But imagine if, suddenly, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Raymond Floyd, Lanny Watkins, Johnny Miller and Tom Weiskopf – or other proven winners of that era - were missing from those fields. Would the Nicklaus wins be somewhat less impressive?
Chris Rock's 'Selective Outrage' appropriate for PGA Tour, sports media
Comedian Chris Rock has an incredibly funny new show out on Netflix called “Selective Outrage.” As only he can, Rock pointedly highlights some of the “selective outrage,” which seems to be dividing us as a nation and as a species.
I would argue that as the PGA Tour continues to denigrate the LIV Tour, some in its camp and many in sports media are practicing “Selective Outrage.” By that I mean that it is rare that when viewing, hearing, or reading a story about the “Saudi-backed LIV Tour,” you don’t also hear or see the word “controversial” spot-welded to “Saudi-backed.”
What makes it “controversial?” The critics of that nation and its government will say it's because of “Human rights violations.”
To be sure, all “human rights violations” should be exposed and condemned. But this is where “selective outrage” enters the bigger picture. All are not exposed nor condemned.
For one example, let us cast our minds back to February 2022. That is when China hosted the Winter Olympics, which aired on the NBC Network in the US.
This would be the same People’s Republic of China that has tortured and killed thousands of Uyghurs and other Muslims in its Xinjian province. A province that houses multiple forced labor camps. Coincidently, a China which also partners with, or bankrolls, Hollywood films, American universities, the NBA, Big-Tech, and multiple US corporations.
Double speak from Golf Channel employee
As NBC was raking in millions of dollars from broadcasting those Winter Games from China, one of its employees – Brandel Chamblee of the Golf Channel – criticized Mickelson and the Saudi government:
“It was not obnoxious greed by the PGA Tour that opened the door, to use Mickelson’s phrase, for a potential Saudi-backed rival league," Chamblee said. "It was the never-ending stream of human atrocities, such as the butchering and dismembering of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, of which the Saudi’s Public Investment Fund, which sponsors this week’s Saudi International event, has been accused of abetting. Horrors such as that are hard to hide and impossible to ignore, which compelled the Saudis to engage in the calculated deception commonly known as sports-washing …”
Chamblee is well within his rights to make that point. What I found disingenuous was his audacity to cite a “never-ending stream of human atrocities” and “horrors such as that are hard to hide” while ignoring the largest human rights abuse of our time: China’s treatment of Uyghurs.
But then, many journalists who go after the LIV Tour because it is backed by “Saudi money” also ignore the largest human rights abuse of our time. “Selective outrage” to be sure.
If LIV Golf is going to be held to a higher standard, then shouldn’t that same standard apply to the PGA Tour, the NBA, and other sports entities who collectively make hundreds of millions of dollars in China or because of partnerships with entities from that nation?
As that question is being contemplated, the absolute truth is that elite PGA Tour players such as Scottie Scheffler, are winning against substantially weaker fields.
Who is really being punished?
Douglas MacKinnon is a former White House and Pentagon official and author of the book: The 56 – Liberty Lessons from those who risked all to sign The Declaration of Independence.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: 'Selective Outrage' when it comes to PGA Tour denigrating LIV Tour