For golf fans, Max Homa is arguably the best follow-on Twitter.
He interacts with his fans often and is quite funny. He also opens up on his life, talking about his experiences as a husband, as a father and as a player on the PGA Tour.
On Christmas Day, he provided a treat to the golf world, coming “out of retirement” to rate his followers’ golf swings. He asked whether anyone wanted him to roast their swing on Christmas Day. Thousands of fans responded to the tweet, and Homa, a five-time winner on Tour, got to work.
Here’s a look at some of the best responses.(Click here)
Article By: Golfweek USA.Today
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With his carefully curated image of a man swaggering across the global stage disrupting industries, dictating terms and settling scores, Greg Norman exhibits a delusion common among courtiers who imagine themselves in the vein of those for whom they labor. But far from earning comparison to MBS, or even with Yasir al-Rumayyan, the Crown Prince’s bagman at Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, Norman increasingly calls to mind another legendary figure from the region: Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf.
Al-Sahhaf is better remembered as “Comical Ali,” a derisive moniker he acquired while serving as Saddam Hussein’s spokesman during the Iraq War two decades ago. His every utterance defied ample evidence to the contrary, most memorably his insistence that American troops had been slaughtered outside Baghdad, even as U.S. tanks rolled through the very neighborhood in which he stood. The hapless shilling for middle eastern autocrats and a refusal to acknowledge reality seems eerily familiar today, although Norman lacks the levity provided by Al-Sahhaf’s obvious lunacy.
After a year during which it made a splash, LIV’s novelty value is diminished and the time is nearing when it will sink or swim. Thus Norman is grasping for positives with the same determination he did on many a Sunday night at major championships.
This week, he gamely presented the fact that Justin Thomas took a meeting with LIV—and didn’t immediately squat on the concept—as evidence of the league’s success, while omitting that the conversation took place some time ago and that Thomas has since been vocally loyal to the PGA Tour. The contortions continued when Norman said that Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy “have no idea what they’re talking about” and accused them of being childish for saying he had to be replaced as CEO, before adding that the door to LIV remains open for them, much as a drowning man’s arms are open to anyone who wishes to toss him a life vest.
Despite reports that he could be replaced by former TaylorMade CEO, Mark King, Norman insists his position is secure. “I have got the full support from my chairman. One hundred percent. One thousand percent. There has never been one thing to suggest otherwise. I’m totally confident,” he said, with the blithe assurance he often displayed on Saturdays. But security is scarce in LIV’s well-fed food chain, and Norman knows it.
At the league’s recent season finale in Miami, the chief operating officer, Atul Khosla, was wheeled out to talk about plans for a broadcast rights deal and corporate sponsorship of teams. This week, he was shown the door, leaving a business landscape largely unchanged from when Sean Bratches quit as chief commercial officer seven months ago: no TV deal, no traction with fans, no audience for live streams, no sign of mass player defections, no sponsor interest. Still, Norman’s perfunctory statement confirming Khosla’s departure took care to trumpet LIV’s “successful inaugural season.”
Article By: Golfweek USA.Today
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LIV Golf doesn’t just want big names on the course.
According to a New York Times report, the Saudi Arabia-backed circuit “considered assembling an all-star board of business, sports, legal and political titans” including the likes of NBA legend Michael Jordan, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as well as business executives Ginni Rometty (former IBM chief executive), Randall Stephenson (former AT&T chairman) and Mark Parker (Nike executive chairman).
“I didn’t know I was on the list, and I have never been approached,” Stephenson said to the Times. A board member for the PGA Tour, Stephenson said he’d decline if LIV asked, noting that “it would be a quick conversation.”
A player handbook said a LIV board would include 10 members, but the Times reported nine of those identified as targets had never been approached.
The findings came from a larger Times article that analyzed hundreds of confidential documents from Project Wedge, a proposal conducted for Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. The PIF is governed by Yasir al-Rumayyan, who also serves as chairman of the Saudi Arabian Golf Federation, English Premier League team Newcastle United and Saudi Aramco, the state-owned petroleum company which serves as a sponsor for the Ladies European Tour.
With the PIF as its monetary backer, LIV Golf has long been criticized as a way for the Kingdom to sports wash its human rights record. Saudi Arabia has been accused of wide-ranging human rights abuses, including politically motivated killings, torture, forced disappearances and inhumane treatment of prisoners. Not to mention, members of the royal family and Saudi government were accused of involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist.
Experts told the Times that Saudi Arabia’s $2 billion investment shows the Kingdom “has aspirations beyond the financial.”
“The margins might be thin, but that doesn’t really matter,” Simon Chadwick, a professor of sport and geopolitical economy at Skema Business School in Paris, said to the Times. “Because subsequently you’re establishing the legitimacy of Saudi Arabia — not just as an event host or a sporting powerhouse, but legitimate in the eyes of decision makers and governments around the world.”
McKinsey & Company, a longtime Saudi adviser dating back to the 1970s, analyzed the finances of a new golf league and deemed LIV to be “a high-risk high-reward endeavor.” The Times also reported a McKinsey document that detailed 12 top players targeted by LIV. Only four – Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson – have signed so far.
A day after Tiger Woods unloaded on LIV’s leadership and called for CEO Greg Norman to lose his job, LIV recently announced part of its schedule for 2023, where 12 teams and 48 individuals will compete for a total of $405 million in prize purses. Rosters for the new season, the first as the re-branded LIV Golf League, have yet to be finalized.
Article By: Adam Woodard
Date Published: December 11, 2022
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To think it all started at a Monday qualifier 15 months ago.
Thirty-two events and $4,710,612 later, Steven Alker has reached new heights. On Sunday, he clinched his first PGA Tour Champions series title at Phoenix Country Club, punctuating his win with a big smile and a fist pump on the 18th green.
Alker shot a final-round 68 to finish solo third, which was a whopping eight shots back of tournament winner Padraig Harrington, but still good enough to clinch the series title for the first time. With a Harrington win, any finish inside the top five would have been good enough for Alker.
“Amazing. Honestly, just having friends and family and the support here this week has been amazing,” said Alker, who has lived in Arizona since 2002. “Playing with Padraig today, it was kind of difficult because ‘Do I chase him, do I protect?’ … I just tried to play my game as good as I could, but he played amazing and just glad to be champion.”
This moment is the culmination of a rapid-fire success rate for Alker since joining the senior circuit.
In 2021, 18 days after he turned 50 which made him eligible for the PGA Tour Champions, Alker flew to Seattle looking for an outside shot at getting into the Boeing Classic. He got in thanks a strong Monday qualifier score, a rout he had to take because he had no status on the tour.
He hasn’t played in a PGA Tour event since 2017 and he spent the majority of his pro career slogging through Korn Ferry Tour events. According to Harrington, Alker grinding on the Korn Ferry Tour into his late 40s is what most likely set the table for his amazing run now.
“The fact is he was always a nice player,” Harrington said Wednesday before the championship got started. “He’s probably as physically fit now as he was 20 years ago, so he hasn’t gone backwards. The players who tend to do nicely out here are the ones who are still trying to be competitive from 45 years of age to 50 years of age. Those are the ones. You can’t give the game up for five years or eight years or 10 years and hope to come out here and find it again, you know, unless you were a world-class player. You’ve got to keep being competitive and he did that. That’s why you’re seeing his good play now. He was still on the Korn Ferry Tour when he was 49 years of age. There’s not a lot of guys at 49 who could do that.”
Rounds of 67-73-67 in his first Champions event netted him a tie for seventh in the 2021 Boeing Classic, and that would be it for his Monday qualifying days as that top-10 finish earned him a spot in the field the next week at the Ally Challenge, where he finished solo third. From there, he kept getting into more Champions events because he kept stacking up top-10s.
In fact, he posted six straight top-10s and earned a spot in the 2021 Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs. In the second of the two playoff events last year, Alker found victory lane at the TimberTech Championship. A second-place finish at Phoenix Country Club the following week capped a whirlwind stretch and put $1,146,207 into his bank account.
The calendar change to 2022 didn’t slow him down. Alker won three times before June 1 and then won for a series-tying fourth time to open the Schwab playoffs.
By the time they got to Phoenix, Alker had a commanding lead in the points race. Even Harrington’s blistering weekend scores of 62 and 65 had no bearing on the steady Alker. He didn’t make a bogey until the 12th hole Sunday. He had another one on 13 but then birdied the 14th. A birdie on the 16th was his 21st of the week.
Alker’s third-place finish is worth $210,000, bringing his 2022 total $3,544,425 and career total to $4,710,632.
“Just a lot of hard yards. It’s just, you know, I’ve played everywhere, I’ve played everywhere and I think that kind of helped today in a way just playing the PGA Tour and Australasia and Asia and Korn Ferry,” he said. “I’ve played everywhere. It’s been an amazing journey and just to be here and to have this opportunity has been amazing.”
Now it’s time to celebrate, but how?
“I like red wine,” he said. “I don’t want to mix drinks tonight, won’t be a good idea, but we’ll have a couple. It will probably sink in a bit more tomorrow, but yeah, this is neat, it’s so cool.”
Alker will also collect $1 million in bonus money for winning the Schwab Cup series title, money that will be paid out as a lump sum deposit into a Schwab brokerage account.
Article By: Todd Kelly
Date Published: November 13th, 2022
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