Local Golf Tourneys Setting a Gold Standard

Time to Boycott PGA Due to LIV/Saudi Blood Partnership

Rick Langenberg


This week marked the nearly 37th anniversary of the annual golf tournament for the Greater Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce and area businesses.


That is an amazing track record, and one we at TMJ were surprised to hear about when it comes to event longevity.  Congratulations to the Chamber and friends. It seems the genesis of the tourney even began when talk originally circulated about a possible bid for a golf course in Woodland Park. (Nearly eight years later, that dream became a reality).


A near record turnout commenced on Friday (despite the appearance of a few hackers from TMJ, known as the Wringers) as did another great participation rate for an earlier tourney to benefit the sheriff department’s head volunteer organization, the Teller County Honorary Deputy Sheriff Association.


Already, the schedule at the Shining Mountain Golf Course in Woodland Park is dotted with events, benefitting a variety of local organizations in the community (see related story). This is part of a trend that is prevalent throughout the Pikes Peak region.



The post-pandemic era has sparked an amazing interest in golf among recreational players and just people wanting to get outside, who don’t want to exercise to amazing extremes. Plus, these more fun-oriented golf tourneys have become a great fund-raising tool for area businesses.


PGA/LIV War Far From Over

So, then the main question persists: With this type of volunteer and charity spirit on the  links,  what has gone wrong with golf on the professional level?


The current battle between the PGA (Professional Golf Association) and the rivaling Saudi-backed LIV golf league is ripping the pro sport apart, with a growing soap opera that gets uglier by the hour, with reports abounding now of secret meetings with the enemy, touted talking points for public appearances and a questionable allocation of millions, maybe even billions of dollars.


Last week, the PGA tour head  operators found themselves  on Capitol Hill getting grilled by a U.S. Senate committee, a process that was more than ugly for such a sport that boasts a rich tradition.


Even five-time British Open champ Tom Watson has not gotten into the brouhaha with a stern letter, asking What the Hell is Going On?  In plain English, Why are we even negotiating with Saudi killers? Why is the PGA trashing military veterans?


The PGA’s recent decision to cave in to the Saudis and their ridiculous public relations and bribery campaign, and cut a  deal and potential partnership with LIV golf, has outraged many. More notably, it amounts to  virtually spitting in the face of the 9/11 victims, who previously lauded the pro tour’s stance in defying the Saudis and rejecting their blood money. The PGA now has blood on their hands and has lost much respect from their own members  by the secrecy they exhibited in meeting with the  Saudi money folks behind closed doors.


With the latest turn of events, it may be time for fans to boycott the showing of their events on prime TV altogether, and showing more support for amateur outings, such as last week’s Chamber tourney.  Give recreation golf and even disc golf, continued support. But unless some definite good explanation come from the PGA management in the next week, it’s time to pull the viewing plug on any more events.


Here are the prime villains of this fiasco.

*Greg Norman, known formerly as the “Great White Shark” during his playing career and the current CEO of LIV.  Greg just can’t seem to avoid his growing role as a greedy “scum-bag,” marking quite a departure from his playing days.  Norman boasts two British Open titles, but could have easily snagged about 10 major championship titles (and was the premiere player before Tiger Woods). He lost some great heartbreakers and the gracious way he handled those defeats made him quite a popular player. (Have to admit, I was quite a fan of Norman in the 1980s and 1990s.) But as a business man, he has displayed absolute greedy, assassin-like  ruthless behavior. Maybe, those qualities are what made him great in post-golf business ventures, such in running and owning a wine empire, but there are limits.


With the help of the Saudi blood money, Greg has pursued a personal agenda aimed at seeking revenge at the PGA from a former battle he had  with the organization in the early 1990s over his original idea for a world tour.


*Phil Mickelson.  Once a fan favorite, Phil has abandoned almost a sure path in becoming a respected hero of the sport, and pursuing an impressive broadcasting career, in kissing ass with the Saudis, even saying how great the royal Saudis are. Very sad.  On a state level, Phil established quite a mark in  Colorado, winning the International at Castle Pines on several occasions.  He always displayed a great love for the fans, spending hours signing autographs. Now, his name almost conjures up images of bad blood, and has resulted in him getting heckled at the few American tournaments he is still allowed to play in.


*Jay Monahan, PGA Tour commissioner. Crazy that the PGA czar crafted a deal with the Saudis and their main money players.  And then, a little more than 24 hours after spitting in the face of 9/11 victims, he takes an unexplained medical leave of absence. The timing of this announcement absolutely sparked question marks. His role as the PGA Commissioner is definitely in doubt.


Now the heroes:


*Rory McIlroe of Northern Ireland, one of today’s top stars.   Rory last made it clear again last week,  he hates Liv and doesn’t want any part of a compromise deal, allowing him and Tiger to own a LIV team, one idea that got thrown around in the recent spat of ugly golf rumors.  He is the one tour player who has been the vocal critic of LIV, and Norman’s role. He wants the Great White Shark to return to his greedy waters and step off the golf management stage.

It’s hard not to like Rory, who displays natural candor with fans and the media alike. Plus, for future game rookies, this is a swing you should try to mimic. No one drives the golf ball quite like Rory McIlroy.


*Tiger Woods.  Although the great one has faced criticism in other aspects of his personal life, Tiger stood strong in combating this international threat to  professional ranks. Tiger may not have used as tough words as Rory in voicing concerns about the LIV invasion, but the fact that he even spoke on the issue emerged as big plus for the PGA.

LIV proponents are merely succumbing to authoritarian rulers who murder journalists and then throw millions at tour players, as part of a greater public relations scam.  Get real. Everyone can see through this plot.


The real losers have been the fans, who can’t figure out what is happening with this bizarre soap opera, and are losing out in the prospects of seeing all the great players in popular venues across the country.


But until  this LIV situation gets resolved, and the odds are less than 50/50 that the latest proposed partnership will even get accepted, boycott the PGA by not watching any of their events on TV or going to their tournaments. The tour, once a model for promoting charity, is not worth our support.


By all means, participate in your local charity golf outings and getting out to play. Oddly enough, the integrity of the sport now rests in the hands of recreational players and teams like the Wringers.