Woods takes aim at LIV Golf defectors ahead of St Andrews Open
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LIV Golf are set to release their own edition of a ‘Drive to Survive’ docuseries as the Saudi-backed tour seeks legitimisation. The breakaway series has ruffled feathers around the golf world as it rises as a real threat to the PGA Tour.
LIV Golf is funded by Saudi Arbia’s state sovereign wealth fund and it has left golf fractured after poaching some of the sport’s biggest names from the Tour. A number of the most recognisable players in the world have switched to the breakaway series, including names like Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson.
Amid a high-profile and controversial starting operation, LIV Golf have failed to find a broadcasting partner for their 54-hole invitationals that don’t feature cuts. LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman has thus far failed to feature world ranking points as prizes for performance.
The struggles to get a television partner has left the long-term future of the series in doubt, and bosses now believe the personalities they have acquired need to be showcased on popular streaming platforms. LIV Golf are reportedly planning to replicate a documentary series in the form of Formula 1’s incredibly popular ‘Drive to Survive’ Netflix series.
Netflix have already announced a 2022 collaboration with the PGA Tour for the most recent season, and it was announced before Norman’s series rose to prominence. It is set to allow fans into the inner workings of the professional circuit, with all four major championships chronicled along with the FedEx Cup.
The platform announced the series would showcase the trials and tribulations of the top stars’ careers, but the narrative has surely flipped since LIV Golf burst onto the scene. LIV want to air their series to highlight the particular fortunes of their stars as they compete to win each of the lucrative inaugural events.
Bosses hope taking advantage of the recent rise in popularity of undercover sports series and attract a new wave of fans to their events. LIV Golf will struggle to air its live events without a broadcast partner which undoubtedly limits its growth.
Representatives for the Saudi-backed tour have approached production companies and would ultimately distribute any potential show to a streaming service or network. There is no indication a deal will be completed.
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Ever since ‘Drive to Survive’ sent the popularity of F1 into the stratosphere, leading leagues across the sporting world have sought after emulating the series. The ATP and WTA Tours have commissioned similar efforts as the tennis bodies eye a piece of the pie.
Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka claimed LIV’s last invitational tour title of their inaugural season and a season-ending team event will take place in Miami between 28-30 October with 12 teams competing for a mammoth £45m prize.
Many of the major US networks such as CBS, NBC and ESPN have already penned long-term contracts with the PGA Tour. According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon.com Inc. nor Apple Inc. isn’t interested in streaming the series.
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