Fact or Fiction: LIV Golf Needs to Play Where the PGA Tour Doesn’t

SI Golf’s writers and editors debate where LIV Golf should be playing and if this U.S. Women’s Open would be an upset if No. 1 Nelly Korda doesn’t win.
LIV Golf plays all around the world but some of its U.S. stops are in the same cities as PGA Tour events.
LIV Golf plays all around the world but some of its U.S. stops are in the same cities as PGA Tour events. / Edgar Su/Reuters via USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to SI Golf’s Fact or Fiction, where we're recharged after a Memorial Day weekend where we led the field in strokes-gained grilling.

Once again, we’re here to debate a series of statements for writers and editors to declare as “Fact” or “Fiction” along with a brief explanation. Responses may also (occasionally) be “Neutral” since there's a lot of gray area in golf.

Do you agree or disagree? Let us know on the SI Golf X account.

LIV Golf announced that its team championship will be Sept. 20-22 near Dallas, an area that has two annual PGA Tour events including last week at Colonial. Its individual championship is the week prior outside Chicago, which isn’t on the Tour’s calendar every year. LIV Golf should only play in markets that don’t have annual PGA Tour events. 

Bob Harig: FACT. LIV Golf’s original mantra was that it was to be “additive.” It seems, perhaps by accident, that it is being too competitive. Case in point: playing the same week as PGA Tour signature events, as LIV will go both before and after the U.S. Open. Not sure how that serves the golf fan who might be interested in both products. Same with going to new markets. LIV espouses growing the game and yet eight of its 14 events will be in North America and the Dallas event is in an area already served by plenty of golf. It’s important to note that matching up venues with dates is not easy but you’d think they would want to avoid going to the same market.

John Pluym: FACT. Is LIV trying to go head to head with the PGA Tour? Sure feels that way. Why else would you play in the same markets as the Tour? I’d love it if LIV played at Hazeltine National in Minnesota. We love our golf here and we have some of the best courses in the country. Hazeltine, in fact, has hosted many major golf tournaments and the Ryder Cup. I’m in the mood for some golf club throwing by Jon Rahm.   

Jeff Ritter: FACT. Second Harig’s assessment here. If LIV wants to max out its potential impact, and its on-site attendance in particular, it should make every effort to go where others aren’t. 

John Schwarb: FACT. My town, Indianapolis, hasn’t had pro golf since the LPGA in 2019. Would folks show out for a LIV event? I say yes. How about Louisville, which delivered massive crowds two weeks ago and may not see the pros again for a while? Again, it takes three to tango between LIV and a city and a course and there’s plenty of non-golf factors that can’t be ignored but just from a pure U.S. strategy standpoint, if I’m LIV executives I’m looking everywhere but PGA Tour strongholds. 

This week’s U.S. Women’s Open is headlined by Nelly Korda, a winner in six of her last seven starts on the LPGA Tour. It would be an upset if she didn’t win the season’s second major. 

Bob Harig: FICTION. As great as she has been this year, Korda can’t win them all, as we saw recently when her five-tournament winning streak was broken. It happens. And could very well happen again. Taking Korda against the field is tempting but still not wise even with all of her dominance.

Jeff Ritter: FACT. I mean, she’s the betting favorite, so doesn’t everyone else in the field therefore become an underdog? Nelly’s been awesome. It certainly wouldn’t be a shock if she doesn’t lift a trophy on Sunday, but this event starts with her. 

Nelly Korda hits out of a fairway bunker on the 17th hole at January's LPGA Drive On Championship at the Bradenton Country Cl
Many eyes (and cameras) will be on Nelly Korda this week at Lancaster Country Club. / Mike Lang / Sarasota Herald-Tribune /

John Schwarb: FACT. Anything can happen in golf (see Scottie/Brooks/Rory when the talk was them vs. the field at the PGA) but Korda is at that level of stardom where casual fans just look to see where she is on a leaderboard. If she’s not at the top of a major, in the midst of this run, it’s a mild upset if not more.  

John Pluym: FACT. I have to agree with Jeff and John on this one. Korda has been dominant. Nancy Lopez dominant. Tiger Woods dominant. She’s the betting favorite, so it’d be an upset if she didn’t win. Unless she somehow gets distracted by a traffic violation on the way to the golf course. 

Davis Riley won a custom Corvette Stingray at the Charles Schwab Challenge, which has awarded restored classic cars to champions for several years. These are the coolest winners’ spoils at regular PGA Tour events.

Bob Harig: FACT. The distinction here is regular event, because it would be difficult to top a green jacket or a Claret Jug. But a classic car in addition to the gob of prize money is pretty sweet.

John Pluym: FACT. Who wouldn’t want a custom Corvette Stingray? What a sweet prize. But I agree with Bob. Nothing can top a green jacket or a Claret  Jug. And I’ll add another one: the Wanamaker Trophy is not too shabby, either. 

Jeff Ritter: FICTION. The cars are cool, but give me Arnie’s red cardigan at the API here.

John Schwarb: FACT. Many PGA Tour trophies and tchotchkes are mediocre, and subject to change with new sponsors and tournament names. Charles Schwab—a Tour sponsor for a long time—has had five years of cool rides and I’m looking forward to the next one, which adds some juice to an event in a slow spot on the golf calendar.


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John Schwarb

JOHN SCHWARB

John Schwarb is the senior golf editor for Sports Illustrated whose career has spanned more than 25 years covering sports. He’s been featured on ESPN.com, PGATour.com, The Golfers Journal and Tampa Bay Times. He’s also the author of The Little 500: The Story of the World's Greatest College Weekend. A member of the Golf Writers Association of America, John is based in Indianapolis.

Bob Harig

BOB HARIG

Bob Harig is a senior golf writer for Sports Illustrated. He has more than 25 years experience covering golf, including 15 at ESPN. Bob is a regular guest on Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio and has written two books, DRIVE: The Lasting Legacy of Tiger Woods and Tiger and Phil: Golf's Most Fascinating Rivalry. He graduated from Indiana University where he earned an Evans Scholarship, named in honor of the great amateur golfer Charles (Chick) Evans Jr. Bob, a former president of the Golf Writers Association of America, lives in Clearwater, Florida.

Jeff Ritter

JEFF RITTER

Jeff Ritter is the Managing Director of SI Golf. He spent more than a decade at Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine, and in 2020 joined Morning Read to help spark its growth and eventual acquisition by Sports Illustrated in 2022. He's a member of the Golf Writers' Association of America (GWAA) and has covered more than 25 major championships. He helped launch SI Golf Plus Digital, Golf Magazine’s first original, weekly e-magazine, and served as its top editor. He also launched Golf's “Films” division, the magazine’s first long-form video storytelling franchise, and his debut documentary received an Edward R. Murrow Award for sports reporting. His writing has earned first-place awards from the Society of American Travel Writers, the MIN Magazine Awards, and the Golf Writers Association of America, among others. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. A native Michigander, he remains a diehard Wolverine fan and will defend Jim Harbaugh until the bitter end.

John Pluym

JOHN PLUYM

John Pluym is the managing editor for NFL and golf content at Sports Illustrated. A sports history buff, he previously spent 10 years at ESPN overseeing NFL coverage. John has won several awards throughout his career, including from the Society of News Design and Associated Press Sports Editors. As a native Minnesotan, he enjoys spending time on his boat and playing golf.