Reaction: Netflix Cup a wild ride from start to finish

The Netflix Cup promised a fresh take on golf, but the final product missed the cut due to poor production and a lack of comedic relief.

Johnny Percival's picture
Wed, 15 Nov 2023
Netflix Cup

Netflix's first foray into live sporting events saw four PGA Tour players and four F1 drivers teaming up to tackle the Wynn Las Vegas course in an action-packed golf match.  

The highly anticipated tournament was star-studded from the players to the commentary box, with big names from across the sports and entertainment industry flocking to Vegas to catch a piece of the action. 

The match featured four teams, each consisting of one PGA Tour player and one F1 driver, who were going head to head in a scramble format that also featured some surprise holes and challenges.

The four PGA Tour players involved were Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Max Homa, and Tony Finau, who was drafted in at the final hour, with Collin Morikawa having dropped out at the last minute due to a back injury.

Representing Formula1 was Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon and Lando Norris. 


So, what did we make of the Netflix Cup? 

All in all, the event offered a fresh take on golf that will have undoubtedly appealed to the crossover audience it was aimed at. Was the golf great? At times. Was the production level good? Absolutely not. So who was the real winner? In our eyes, the Las Vegas Sphere stole the show. 

The competition got off to a quick and amusing start, with all four players from each match teeing off at the same time in a race to see who could finish the hole first. 

In all honesty, the start was probably the most entertaining part of the whole event. Seeing four players hitting their tee shots at the same time was a novel addition, and it did look pretty cool seeing all four balls in the air at the same time, followed by the players scrambling to get into their carts for a race to the green. 

Watching the chaos unfold as everyone tried to figure out which ball was theirs was both comedic and fast-paced, two things golf is often accused of lacking, so our hopes were initially high following the first hole. 

What then followed was somewhat less entertaining. For the next eight holes, the competition followed a well-trodden formula of scramble golf, with all four players taking turns hitting shots and then using the best shot from each of their players. 

While a scramble formula is more entertaining than stroke play, it's something that we've all seen before. Combine this with the fact that the audio production led to players and commentators constantly talking over one another, and the final product was quite frustrating to watch.

One thing that wasn't frustrating to watch, though, was the Las Vegas Sphere. The enormous spherical screen provided the backdrop for a number of holes, and it displayed a variety of images throughout the day.

Our favourite, without a doubt, was the large yellow face that appeared to react to the player's tee shots on the 2nd hole. It looked particularly perplexed by Thomas' tee shot as it sailed right of the fairway.

Another gripe that we had was there was far too much time spent talking to celebrities while the golf was going on. On the second hole, both Norris and Fowler had a putt for an eagle, but instead of listening to them discuss how they were going to approach it, we instead had to listen to Mark Wahlberg wax lyrical about a McLaren car he had parked in his driveway. 

Comedic relief was supplied in the form of former NFL player Marshawn Lynch and PGA Pro Joel Dahmen's commentary; however, even that fell flat by the 5th or 6th hole due to the players and commentators constantly competing to be heard. 

In an attempt to shoehorn another one of Netflix's shows into the production, the competition also featured a Squid Game hole, where golfers had to hit their shot without a massive, creepy doll looking at them. If the doll wasn't enough added pressure, the PGA Tour was also offering $4.56 million to charity if one of the players made a hole-in-one. 

Did this added feature bring an element of drama to the broadcast, or was it just an opportunity for Netflix to flog its new reality TV show? We're going to have to side with the latter on this one. 

The final deciding hole saw Thomas and Sainz taking on Finau and Gasly in a closest to the pin decider, which Thomas and Sainz eventually won in a relatively tame manner, with Thomas's effort being the closest at roughly 15 feet. 

The prize ceremony saw both winners awarded black and white chequered jackets, reminiscent of something from Talladega Nights, and a trophy that appeared to be made from plywood after it crumbled to pieces when Sainz dropped it from the podium in one of the more amusing moments from the night. 

All in all, the Netflix Cup was a very expensive hit and giggle that really struggled to deliver the giggles. The lack of chemistry between teams and the overindulgence of celebrity cameos saw the show fall flat, and we wouldn't be surprised if this were the first and last Netflix Cup we see grace our screens.

How did the internet react?

In typical internet style, the reaction to the Netflix Cup was as mixed as the golf we saw. Some loved the entertainment it provided, while others found the broadcast 'embarrassing'.

Here's a collection of some of the best reactions we've rounded up from X (formerly Twitter).

The Good

The Bad

And The Ugly

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