The weather issues in California cleared the stage for the final round at LIV Mayakoba, and based on my experience watching the tournament and scrolling through social media, it’s fair to say LIV capitalized on the opportunity.

Anyone who tuned into the event, anecdotally an appreciably larger audience than in past years, likely came away from the experience impressed with the presentation of the tournament. The broadcast featured significantly fewer commercial interruptions than a PGA Tour broadcast, and many more golf shots were shown. Even if LIV’s commercial load increases over time, the prospect of an ad-free tier, like LIV currently offers through LIV Golf Plus, is an attractive offering for fans of the league. Whether or not they understand how television contracts work, golf fans want to watch golf shots; LIV is currently doing a better job satisfying that demand than the PGA Tour is. And it isn’t a particularly close race.

I watched a healthy chunk of LIV Mayakoba on both Saturday and Sunday, and my takeaway isn’t necessarily that LIV is the league of the future, or that it is more (or less) exciting than PGA Tour golf. My main takeaway is that it feels like LIV Golf has turned a corner and should now be taken seriously as a competitive golf product. LIV Mayakoba delivered an entertaining, competitive golf tournament.

In past years, I’ve had very little interest in watching Pat Perez douse himself in champagne after years of minimal relevance in professional golf. This year, though, the LIV roster is decidedly more talented than in 2022 or 2023, and the top half of every LIV field is undeniably strong. The top 10 at LIV Mayakoba included Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, and Cam Smith, all of whom have won major championships since 2017. For the first time in my watching experience, LIV events feel like legitimately competitive golf tournaments as opposed to lucrative, low-pressure exhibitions.

In trying to envision the future of professional golf, it’s unclear how all the fractured pieces will come back together. It does seem clear, though, that the game needs to be reunified. As Joaquín Niemann continued a run of extremely solid golf by winning in exciting fashion, I personally wasn’t thinking about Torque GC’s prospects this season. And frankly, I’m highly skeptical that many people are invested in the team element of LIV, at least for now. Instead, I’d expect most of the conversation to center around whether Augusta National will extend a special invite to Niemann to participate in the Masters, and what Niemann’s major championship prospects are with limited access to OWGR-sanctioned events. In other words, golf fans want to watch the best golfers in the world compete at the best venues in professional golf.

Until the PGA Tour and PIF agree on terms to reunify the game and put the best players in the world back in the same tournaments, we’re only going to see the best version of professional men’s golf four times per year. The PGA Tour side might be feeling confident after receiving a multi-billion dollar investment from the Strategic Sports Group, but they shouldn’t underestimate LIV’s negotiating power, especially as LIV makes inroads with the mainstream golf audience as it did this past weekend.

This piece originally appeared in the Fried Egg Golf newsletter. Subscribe for free and receive golf news and insight every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.