Opinion: Is the DP World Tour a better place with LIV Golfers allowed?

With LIV Golf players competing in the Hero Dubai Desert Classic last week, we saw a tense and exciting finish that grabbed everyone's attention.

Matt Chivers's picture
Tue, 31 Jan 2023
Opinion: Is the DP World Tour a better place with LIV Golfers allowed?

Rory McIlroy made his first appearance of 2023 at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic last week and he thrilled fans once again with his 15th DP World Tour title and his third win at the event.

It was made even more thrilling because he was in a direct battle with LIV Golf's Patrick Reed. They weren't in the same group, but it was a final round that we have never seen the like of before.

A PGA Tour/DP World Tour loyalist who has vocally expressed his dislike of LIV Golf versus a player from LIV Golf whose legal team served McIlroy a subpoena on Christmas Eve.

The Saudi-backed tour has already taken the sport into realms not seen before in terms of legal disputes, public verbal battles between key figures and a start-up entity challenging the big American force in the game.

LIV has not recruited the best players in the world, some of them perhaps, but they haven't arrived in abundance. You feel Norman and his organisation are relying on Cameron Smith and Dustin Johnson to serve up a classic each week to maintain interest.

But what they have done is obtain controversial figures and players who you want to watch. You want to watch them for their golf, but also, in case they say or do anything that is controversial or exciting.

With Reed on the scene at Emirates Golf Club, we were treated to tee-gate and tree-gate and a memorable week in the Middle East.

When compared with the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour is inferior in terms of the quality of players, prize money and overall interest. There are far more eyeballs on the American circuit.

If the DP World Tour permanently allow players from LIV Golf to play its schedule, is that such a bad thing? Would more people tune in to watch? I think they would.

If there was no Reed, or even no Ian Poulter in contention last week, would fewer people have watched? Absolutely yes. It would've been McIlroy playing against a leaderboard which fewer golf fans could get excited about.

Why wouldn't we want a similar clash in future events? We are all frothing at the mouth at the prospect of players teeing it up amongst LIV Golfers at The Masters, so why wouldn't we want this on a more regular basis?

The 'LIV Golf versus The Rest' concept would probably die down eventually, but when you have figures such as Billy Foster describing the old European Tour as "on its arse," maybe the answer is staring us in the face.

The DP World Tour would need more than just exciting clashes down the stretch on Sunday afternoons, as European players with the stature of McIlroy spend most of their time in America anyway.

Also, some players just aren't fussed at what other players choose to do with their careers as Connor Syme told us on the From The Tips podcast, but there is no question that LIV Golfers like Reed add so much more intrigue.

The hearing next month with Sports Resolutions UK will determine if the DP World Tour rightfully implemented sanctions on players last summer for joining LIV Golf despite having their release requests rejected.

The recent information given to the media by the Tour's communications director Scott Crockett suggested we may not discover extra information on their eligibility to play on the Tour and for the European Ryder Cup team at the conclusion of the hearing.

I may judge the DP World Tour to be inferior to the PGA Tour, but Jay Monahan has suspended all players who have made the switch to LIV and they aren't coming back. We won't see Reed, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka or Phil Mickelson on that Tour again.

This could be how the DP World Tour grows a larger audience. LIV Golf players should be allowed to play because it increases the tension and jeopardy that golf fans need as part of their appetite to tune in.