Every now and then, golf – like any other sport – throws up a press conference you simply can’t take your eyes off. It will come as little surprise that all of those instances this year have involved LIV Golf.
Ahead of the Portland event – the second of the eight in 2022 and first on US soil – were always going to be fascinating affairs. Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Pat Perez – famous introverts who rarely speak their mind – were among those thrust in front of the microphones as they prepared for their first foray into the breakaway series.
And once again those who were listening were treated to a series of answers so sociopathic and narcissistic that they would make Boris Johnson blush.
Before we get started though, just one more time for those in the back – or, in this instance – the front: We know you joined LIV Golf for the money. (Yes, we would all do the same. Blah blah blah.)
First up was Koepka, Perez and Reed…
“It’s been incredible, way different from the PGA Tour vibe where everybody is on their own and everybody keeps to their own camp. It’s been amazing, seeing guys I’ve seen for a long time, been on the Tour a long time, but to be able to hang out. The three of us hung out the other night and had some drinks and some laughs, and we’ve never done that before, so that was kind of cool. It’s just a whole different vibe. It’s amazing, though. Everybody’s happy to see each other. You know, you got music on the range. It’s just a way different deal. I couldn’t be more excited to be part of it.”Pat Perez
The PGA Tour, of course, famous for not letting the players do whatever they want and hang out with whoever they want before a tournament.
Perhaps, Pat, the reason you can go out and sink a few yardies beforehand is because, really, you don’t give a shit where you finish in the event because you’ll still be banking mega bucks.
“I’m really excited. Anytime I can bring that team aspect and go out and play for something other than just myself. I’m out there playing not only for family and everybody like that, but I’m also playing for my teammates. And for some reason that gives me a little more of an edge, a little more of a drive to go out and play even harder. So having 14 opportunities to do that throughout the year is unbelievable. I can’t wait, and honestly, for me it’s going to be a lot of fun.”Patrick Reed
Ah, yes, the team aspect of this whole debacle. Patrick, I’ll double the money LIV Golf are paying you if you, or anyone, can explain to me how the team aspect works.
“You guys will never believe me, but we didn’t have the conversation until everything was done at the US Open and figured it out and just said I was going to go one way or another. Here I am.”Brooks Koepka
Well, part of this sentence isn’t a lie, I suppose. For the record, Koepka removed the PGA Tour from his social media profiles the day after the US Open. He was all-but confirmed as a LIV Golf player a few hours later.
“For me, what I’ve had to go through the last two years – my knees, the pain, the rehab, all this stuff – you realise you need a little bit more time off. I’ll be the first one to say it, it’s not been an easy last couple of years, and I think having more breaks, a little more time at home to make sure I’m 100 per cent before I go play in an event and don’t feel like I’m forced to play right away. That was a big thing for me.”Brooks Koepka
Koepka has played 16 times this season, 20 last season, and 14 the season before that. He chose to play in all of those – a freedom he will not be afforded in the LIV series.
“[The 54-hole format] is more suitable to see who the best player is that week, because everyone starts at the exact same time. There is no such thing as a draw anymore. Now you’re on the golf course the exact same time. Whatever the weather is that day, that’s what you’re playing.”Patrick Reed
You just couldn’t resist, could you? If anyone has followed this closely, Reed’s burner account on Twitter has regularly accused the PGA Tour of giving the 2018 Masters champion a bum draw. Some might say having to play golf in the afternoon when you want to play in the morning is not really a justification to get into bed with a murderous regime.
“I’m 46. I’ve played 515 events. I’ve been on the road since 1998. I’ve been on the road longer than Matt Wolff has been alive. I have an almost four-year-old. I missed my son’s birth last year. August 18, I get a call my wife’s going into labor. I’m in Jersey. I’m getting ready to start the FedEx Playoffs. I’m 116 on the list. I can’t leave. I can’t miss it. I can’t get back. I can’t get there and back without spending 150 grand on a private flight. I’m not doing that. So I had to suck on it and I had to miss my son’s birth. Fortunately I made the cut and I moved up my status by playing all right, but it still sucked. I have to tell him one day why I wasn’t there.”Pat Perez
A valid reasoning, of course, but thousands of people miss the birth of their children for whatever reason – whether work or otherwise. But many of them won’t have the opportunity to point at a huge mansion and say: “This. This is the reason I wasn’t there when you were born.”
I do quite like the fact Perez just doesn’t seem to give a damn. He’s like a guy who’s walked into his local pub bragging about the fact he’s just sold his house for twice what he paid for it and everyone wants him to shut up and leave but he just sits there supping his pint and telling everyone what a genius he is.
“Seeing how miraculously the purses now all of a sudden went skyrocketing back up on the PGA Tour, it just shows that they obviously believe that this is not only a true threat, but a great tour as well if they’re going and copying what we are doing.”Patrick Reed
A moment of reflection for Reed’s use of “we” there. Just tremendous.
“I think 2018 or 2019 when this whole thing was brought up, so the conversation has been going on for a while. What’s that, three years?”Brooks Koepka
Koepka, here, answering a question about when his discussions surrounding LIV Golf first started. Remember when he said nothing was mentioned until the day after the US Open?
“We actually have an off season where not only can we get healthy.”Patrick Reed
From September 5, 2021 to January 9, 2022, Reed played in six events. All his own choice.
The previous season, he played in the rescheduled US Open and Masters, as well as the Zozo Championship between July and January.
The season before that, he played in the Ryder Cup – he loves team golf, remember? – the WGC, and the 18-player hit-and-giggle-in-paradise Hero World Challenge between September and January.
And the season before that, he played in the Zozo, WGC, Hero World Challenge, and Presidents Cup – he loves team golf, remember? – between August and January.
I think that’s probably enough.
“You’re not doing a month on the road anymore. I don’t have any kids – that I know about – so being at home is not really a thing for me, but life does go on. There are things we miss at home, being friends, family, a lot of birthdays. It would just be nice to be home a little bit more.”Brooks Koepka
The remainder of this LIV Golf season will see these guys play two events in July, as well as the Open, two in September, and three in October. All in different corners of the globe.
Next year there will be 14 events squeezed into – let’s say, given Reed is talking about an off season – eight months. Plus the four majors.
You’re going to be on the road a bit, chaps.
“We’re trying to grow the game.”Brooks Koepka
The QI buzzer has just gone off. So how?
“Well, considering that the fact that there’s more golf on TV, I mean, yeah, that’s going to grow the game; right? More people watching. I mean… the more golf’s on TV, the more golf’s in front of you, I mean, right? It’s technically putting it in front of people, putting golf in front of people if it’s on, what, half the time people are on their phones looking at Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, whatever it is. They’ll catch clips from out here, clips from wherever. It doesn’t matter.”Brooks Koepka
Glad you could clear that up.
We haven’t even got to the other press conference, yet. Is anyone still reading? OK, we’ll battle on.
Next up was Bryson DeChambeau, Abraham Ancer, and Matthew Wolff. We’ll start with BAD on the team aspect…
“It’s different. It’s wild. A lot of strategic decisions have to be made now. I feel like my life has changed in a really unique way, and just being able to have certain players and strategise who’s going to be in certain positions and how we’re going to move forward on this golf course to even having potential coaches that coach the team or managers and how that all fits in the puzzle. It’s all just this new unique opportunity that I’m excited to kind of puzzle piece together and figure out and make it a Team Crushers. That’s my goal is to make Crushers have a unique identity, something that’s different and can hopefully be something that people look forward to watching every week.”Bryson DeChambeau
I mean, that’s pretty much the answer we expected from Bryson, right? If anyone can explain how the team format at these events works, it’s him. (Spoiler alert: He can’t.)
“In every other sport, you’re on a team.”Matthew Wolff
Already you know this is going to go well.
“Unfortunately I haven’t been on any [Ryder or Presidents Cup] teams yet, but you see so many guys that step up to the occasion, and the best comes out when they’re on a team, and they try really hard to play not only for themselves, but everyone else.”Matthew Wolff
SOMEONE PLEASE ASK THEM HOW THE TEAM FORMAT WORKS.
“It’s going to be amazing for Mexican golf. I’m pumped to see where Mexican golf is headed. I will have a little bit more time to be involved and be actually there trying to grow the game over there.”Abraham Ancer
We’re sure you’ll find plenty of time to do that between schlepping from Thailand to Saudi Arabia for tournaments you absolutely have to play because the boss says so.
“I run and operate my golf as a business as well as wanting to be one of the better players in the world. It’s going to give me more resources and opportunities to reinvest in my local community in Dallas and back at my original home in California where I can do things for junior golf tours, improve my foundation, and also build the multi-sport complex I’m going to build shortly.”Bryson DeChambeau
Bryson, you don’t have a soul, remember? You sold it to the highest bidder.
I have a question for LIV Golf. Why did you decide to do these press conferences? As entertaining and downright baffling as they have been for us, they were always going to end badly for you – especially if the players are going to continue to behave in such a hostile manner.
That being said, I’m off to watch it again…
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