Xander Schauffele’s faith in Tiger Woods could sink Greg Norman’s PGA Tour-LIV golf plans

via Imago

LIV Golf and TGL seemed to be on a collision course. Both want to shape the future of the game. And both are trying to ‘grow the game.’ TGL has avoided a clash with the PGA Tour’s regular schedule. That hasn’t been the case for LIV Golf. Although both leagues are in talks to align their commercial interests, TGL might threaten LIV’s position in the current landscape.

Xander Schauffele believed the innovative, tech-infused league would be quick to find a base among young fans. Debuting on ESPN Primetime only aids the process. Explaining the aim of TGL, the 2024 PGA Championship winner said, “We are really trying to bring more eyeballs to golf. We are trying to grow the game.

Schauffele indicated that TGL wants to bring in a much younger demographic with its innovative format. Three players from each team will tee off in the first session in a match-play format. The first nine holes will be played in an alternate shot format.

The next six holes will be singles among three players against three from the opponent. The first player will go up against the first player from the opponent team on holes 10 and 13, the second player on holes 11 and 14, and the third on holes 12 and 15. The team with the lowest score after 15 holes wins the match.

In cases of ties, a 3-vs-3 closest to the pin match will decide the result. Moreover, TGL will also have a shot timer to penalize golfers for slow play. Schauffele, who is part of Steve Cohen’s New York Golf Club, said, appearing in ESPN Sportscenter, “It’s a hi-tech platform that we are playing and it’s indoors; it’s much quicker; it should be more fan-friendly; it’s interactive.

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TGL was read as Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy’s answer to LIV Golf. Schauffele’s comments somewhat affirm that TGL will likely compete with the Greg Norman-fronted side despite the merger talks between the PGA Tour and PIF, the financial arm that powers LIV Golf.

TGL might threaten LIV Golf’s growing popularity 

‘Growing the game’ has been the stated aim of Greg Norman and his entourage of trusted soldiers. From Jon Rahm to Phil Mickelson, LIV Golfers have cited the PIF-funded side’s impact on the game as their main reason for switching to the other side. However, Schauffele’s comments reveal that TGL is set on the same course to attract a new demographic.

While LIV has changed the format—a 54-hole event, team play, and accompanying music on the course—TGL wants to leverage technology to take the game a bit further. Tiger Woods, the architect of the tech-infused league, has dubbed LIV Golf confusing. Whereas, with TGL, he wants to simplify the game and make it more exciting at the same time.

Interestingly, the 15-time Major champion was at the center of the discussion between the PIF governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, and the player-directors of the PGA Tour. Woods is also on the Transaction Committee, which will oversee the day-to-day activities regarding the negotiations. But it appears that even if a breakthrough is reached, TGL will continue to vie for the limelight, which might impact LIV’s fanbase in the States and perhaps globally.

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