When Kings Of Leon drummer Nathan Followill was told he would have to cover up his tattoos if he wanted to play at a prestigious Sydney golf course in 2022, the sport’s pale, manly and stale reputation was revealed to a new audience of potential players who ready to say ‘ happen’.
But not only are tattoos not forbidden at LIV golf events, you can even get one on the spot.
The “Ink Station” at the LIV event in Orlando offered the opportunity to get tattooed to support your chosen team of the 12 such as:
The tattoos may be temporary, but their availability speaks to the new notion of what Greg Norman’s Rebel Tour is trying to create in a game that’s still successful in its traditional format but lacking in innovation aside from being already huge Prize purses are topped up to sums that matter most to people’s heads.
A total of more than $100 million in sign-up bonuses for LIV’s initial influx of players made it seem like cash, and bucketfuls of it, controversially provided by the oil-rich but politically questionable Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, was the new league’s difference.
The ‘Ink Station’ at the LIV event in Orlando provided an opportunity to get tattooed to support your chosen team in the 12, such as the all-Australian ‘Ripper GC’, created by the game’s most famous mullet, Cam Smith , is cited (pictured). )
With more than $37 million on offer at each of the events, with Adelaide being one of 14 in 2023, plus guaranteed money for anyone who serves with no-cuts, limited fields and only 54 holes to play, critics found her luck hitting targets easily and en masse, as Norman’s self-proclaimed golf “revolution” appeared to be simply a fast-food version of the established game with a little more color and movement.
It’s no surprise that like the wrecking ball the Aussie legend always wanted, the players Norman has lured into a venture that has hit the sporting world and the US PGA Tour are universally lauded
Throw millions of guaranteed dollars at anyone and most, apart from those who see LIV as a Saudi “sportswear” company, will tell you how good the product is.
But the smiles on players’ faces at a crowded driving range in Orlando, where everyone was warming up to music blaring in the background before all teeing off at once, spoke volumes of their true joy.
A LIV event is as different as Norman boasted, and at least players love it.
“It’s just pumping, it’s so good,” said Australian Marc Leishman of the mood surrounding the events and it’s hard to deny.
Norman explained the way LIV operated was “what the fans want,” and large crowds flocked to Florida when ticket sales in Adelaide were exhausted.
The Australian legend insists that apart from the PGA Tour, critics have been silenced and LIV have increased their presence at four tournaments in their second season.
At the LIV event in Orlando, fans flocked to the driving range in droves
Norman explained that the way LIV works “is what the fans want,” and huge crowds flocked to Florida when tickets sold out in Adelaide (pictured, Australian LIV star Cam Smith).
“We’re doing the right thing for the players. We’re doing what’s right for the game of golf,” Norman said.
“Do we have a headwind? 100 percent. Will these headwinds ease and go away? yes they will
“A friend of mine, Jack Welch, used to run General Electric. Jack and I played a lot of golf together. Jack always said, Greg, find something the masses want. So was golf something the masses wanted? Yes, well it was, but it was just one product on the platform and we had to accept it.
“To go beyond that and take Jack’s vision of something that the masses want, that’s it, it’s stimulating and gives them entertainment as well as the sports product.
“You don’t have to be here at 6:30 in the morning and wait until 6:30 to leave. They’re here for half a day, five hours of golf and then a bit of a concert. It’s really a cool experience to see that.”
Fans definitely want what is dubbed the “Watering Hole.” Taking the lead from the Party Hole at the PGA Tour’s Phoenix Open, the stands will be packed with fans from tee to green on the par 3 12th hole every three days.
Norman firmly believes that apart from the PGA Tour, the critics have been silenced and LIV has increased its presence at four tournaments in its second season
While traditional golf tournaments demand quiet from the crowd while players hit a shot, LIV keeps music blaring the entire time (Brooks Koepka, pictured).
There will also be constant music, like on the fires and 10th tees, fed from speakers just feet away from the players and they love it.
“They agree 100 percent with that,” Norman said.
As with most golf events, volunteers will be holding signs around the green politely asking for silence, signs made redundant by the music from the Orlando hospitality suites behind the 9th and 18th greens.
Every player is greeted by the tunes at a LIV event, just as every player plays in the same conditions on the same course at the same time, eliminating a variable that has long scourged regular golf events.
The erratic hustle and bustle at a LIV event, on and off the course, prompted much to suggest that this wasn’t “real golf” but that they would be shown at the majors. Three LIV players in the top four at the Masters suggest otherwise.
But making the noise Norman wanted required a billion-dollar investment, an investment that the Saudi Public Investment Fund could not match through ticket sales or its current TV deal with niche US broadcaster CW Network or Channel 7 recovered in Australia.
Norman remains undeterred, however, confident that he and LIV made “history” with their concept, one that he is confident will have its place in golf for a long time to come.
“It hasn’t even been 12 months since we started… so just seeing what we’ve created within the family of LIV… has really hit me pretty hard, emotionally, honestly. It’s proof that we understood what people wanted,” he said.
“And our product is not going anywhere. We will keep going, we will keep innovating. We just keep growing.”
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