LIV released its 2023 schedule this week. There had been rumors, and semi-official claims by various venues, and draft schedules bandied about for months. But this was official, at least on paper. The schedule is as follows:
- Feb. 24-26: El Camaleon Golf Club, Mexico
- March 17-19: The Gallery Golf Club, Tucson, Arizona
- March 31-April 2: Orange County National, Orlando, Florida
- April 21-23: The Grange Golf Club, Australia
- April 28-30: Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore
- May 12-14: Cedar Ridge Country Club, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
- May 26-28: Trump National Golf Club, Washington, D.C.
- June 30-July 2: Real Club Valderrama, Spain
- July 7-9: Centurion Club, England
- Aug. 4-6: Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
- Aug. 11-13: Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster, New Jersey
- Sept. 22-24: Rich Harvest Farms, Sugar Grove, Illinois
- Oct. 20-22: Trump National Doral, Miami, Florida
- Nov. 3-5: Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
We convened a quick Fried Egg staff roundtable to dissect and react to this disruptor league’s second season of trying to take flight, or at least get higher off the ground.
Overall, is this a good schedule? Does it do anything to elevate LIV in its second year?
Garrett Morrison: Here are, as far as I can see, the positives:
- There are 14 events, up from eight in the inaugural 2022 season
- El Camaleón, Valderrama, and Greenbrier are recognizable venues poached from established tours
- Punch GC will get its longed-for homecoming event in Australia
That’s pretty much it? This feels less like LIV 2.0 and more like LIV 1.1. You’ve got some Trump courses, some Escalante Golf properties, and a lot of undistinguished architecture. LIV Golf, But Slightly More of It.
Will Knights: No, it’s not a good schedule. The courses suck, the year is drawn out nearly as long as a wrap-around PGA Tour season, and the top players are going to have a lot of time on the road surrounding the major championships. Then there are two awkward, month-long breaks toward the end of the year. I’m clearly rooting against the organization but I just don’t see how any objective person could see this schedule as a win.
Brendan Porath: The golf courses stink. They had a chance to add some unique value prop there and distinguish themselves from the TPC Tour, and they whiffed, save for a choice or two. I concede that finding places to take them in was also probably a part of the equation here.
What’s your primary concern or critique about it?
Meg Adkins: A frustrating result of LIV avoiding scheduling conflicts with the biggest PGA Tour events is that they end up conflicting with the biggest LPGA events. Adelaide, Centurion Club, and Bedminster are the same weekends as three women’s majors, the Chevron, the U.S. Open at Pebble, and The Women’s Open respectively. While broadcasting conflicts won’t be an issue, LIV and its players have a knack for grabbing the attention and focus of the golf world, and I hope that’s not the case during three of the biggest weeks of the year for women’s golf.
Will: The tough travel schedule in between majors is obvious but the most notable change from last year is moving the year-end team championship to Saudi Arabia. If you want any sort of drama in that year-end event, you need a raucous environment. That’s not happening in KSA.
Garrett: Does Six of 14 events outside of the U.S. make a “global tour”?
Greg Norman has been on a 30-year mission to create an international alternative to the PGA Tour. He had a chance in the mid-1990s, but Tim Finchem outflanked him, Tiger Woods arrived, and the PGA Tour became an 800-pound gorilla. Now nearly all elite golfers live in the U.S., and no matter what they say in public, they don’t want to commit to an actual global tour.
Brendan: It’s an actual schedule, which I suppose should be handed a modicum of commendation given the fact LIV did not really exist a year ago. But it’s not a good schedule, and I think it’s not particularly friendly to its players. They can cry in their $100 bills I’m sure. The biggest issue is these players, at least the elite ones, now must play certain weeks and travel to certain far-flung locales during the men’s major season. You want to stay home and rest or practice certain things ahead of the Masters? Too bad, get your ass to Orlando to play an event at the venerable “Crooked Cat” on your way to Augusta. These high-end pros set their schedules around majors, and each player has his unique approach. Now that approach is largely set in place for them. They’re at the mercy of an assigned schedule, which includes trips to Australia and Singapore between the Masters and PGA. But it could be possible some of the LIV guys aren’t even that motivated by the majors, and peaking for them, anymore.
Smash ⚡ @SrixonGolf pic.twitter.com/APG0Yzt9aJ
— Brooks Koepka (@BKoepka) January 25, 2023
What’s something about this schedule you find preferable or advantageous to other Tour schedules?
Meg: Fourteen events is close to the twenty-ish number I think is the sweet spot for a professional golf season. The Tour’s 48 events is obnoxiously excessive.
Garrett: I’ll echo Meg: the idea of a tour that consists of 14 Super Bowls of golf is appealing. But LIV, especially since almost everyone but Greg Norman has evacuated the C-suite, is probably not the organization to pull this off.
Brendan: Agree with the above: it’s more “snackable” or digestible, to use some en vogue terms of the content business from the past decade.
What’s the best course on the “rota?” Is there a worst or snooziest event?
Garrett: Of the courses I know, the Old White TPC at the Greenbrier, designed by Seth Raynor and restored by Keith Foster, is by far the best. I’ve also heard good things about the Grange in Adelaide.
Moving the team championship to Jeddah seems like a terrible decision. Last year’s season-ender at Doral generated something vaguely resembling buzz. But good luck getting anyone—especially in the U.S.—to follow the action at Royal Greens in November.
Will: I’m intrigued by the Australian course as it has received largely positive remarks since being announced as a host venue. As for snooziest, you have a lot to choose from. Friend of the program Bunkie Perkins called Cedar Ridge the fifth best course in Tulsa so I’ll go with that.
Meg: Old White is the best and there isn’t a close second. The course was a staple on the PGA calendar for a decade and has hosted both the Ryder and Solheim Cups. The Greenbrier is “America’s Resort,” and LIV adding it to their rota is a legit get.
There is a lot of “snooze” to choose from in the schedule, but I’ll wager that The Gallery Golf Club in Tucson will be the snooziest. This decision is strictly based on its snoozy name.
This piece originally appeared in The Fried Egg newsletter. Subscribe for free and receive golf news and insight every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.