Written by JC Ruiz
For the first time in the past couple of years professional golf returned to Miami, but it wasn’t your grandparents’ golf tour. It was LIV Golf and regardless of how you feel about who backs it or why the tour was created you couldn’t deny that the LIV Golf Tour brought the excitement and joy of professional golf back to the iconic Blue Monster at the Trump National Doral. The LIV Golf Tour adds it’s own flare to professional golf and it works.
Bucking the traditional 72 holes or cuts to the field, the Team Championship held in Miami was exciting for the players and fans alike. The shotgun time format also helped fans get more bang for their buck as a shotgun format made sure there was a faster pace of play.
The Team Championship featured 12 teams of some of the biggest names in golf such as Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson and more. Each team had a captain who acted as a player and also as a manager for their team. Each team had their own distinct logo and colors just like any other brand, but this wasn’t the brand of golf you’re used to.
With a purse totaling $50 million on the line, the top four seeded teams earned a bye for the quarterfinals on Friday and the remaining 8 teams battled it out to secure a spot for the semifinals on Saturday. The four teams left standing after Saturday went into Sunday chasing the first ever LIV Golf Team Championship and the $16 million-dollar first place prize. While Friday and Saturday consisted of match played format, Sunday was the more traditional stroke play format.
Captain Dustin Johnson and his 4 Aces GC team, which had swept all four LIV Golf Invitational events in the US, came out victorious. The 4 Aces GC team consisted of Johnson, Patrick Reed, Talor Gooch and Pat Perez. While the 4 Aces GC team won the $16 million-dollar first place prize, for the season the foursome evenly split a total of over $28 million.
When asked about the putt to seal the win for his team, Dustin Johnson said, “I do not like stress, so that was a little more stress than I was looking for,” Johnson said. “If that was an individual tournament, it would have been no problem, that putt. It’s straight in from 3 feet. But with it being the team aspect … I had to make that for the team to win – I didn’t like it very much. My hands were not real steady. I don’t know where I hit it on the putter face, but it went in the middle.”
The LIV Golf experience was truly different from any other golf tour. From DJs spinning music that could be heard throughout the entire golf course, to the phone charging stations where guests have to pedal a stationary bike to charge their phone, this tour was more fan focused. Parking was free for guests and throughout the course were water refilling stations and with the South Florida heat, even in October, hydration was key this weekend to enjoying the experience at the Blue Monster.
Guests were also treated to a variety of other events in the Fan Village which had a festival style atmosphere to it. The Fan Village included the LIV Metaverse, where esports and virtual reality exhibits will immerse fans in the game through friendly competition. Guests could also try their luck with putting virtually on some of the toughest holes the Blue Monster has to offer as well as participate in other challenges that benefitted local charities.
When the players were done on the golf course, the LIV Golf experience held concerts featuring some of the biggest names in the music world such as Travis Scott, Snoop Dogg, Nelly, the Chain Smokers and more.
Not only did the LIV Golf Tour bring professional golf back to Miami, it brought an economic stimulus like only a big event can. Jobs were created from vendors to security and everything in between providing an opportunity for people to earn a little extra money in these dire economic times.
The Team Championship in Miami was nothing short of a complete success for the LIV Golf Tour. It had the biggest names in golf and it also introduced it’s brand of golf to a wide array of fans from the first timers to the most hardcore of golf fans. The matches were exciting and there was plenty to do for the fans.
While this may be the inaugural year for LIV Golf, it certainly won’t be the last. It’s brand and type of golf is appealing and has a unique flavor to it which makes it one of the more exciting sporting events offered today.
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