By Doug Ferguson, AP Golf Writer
NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — The player everyone assumed was a lock to join LIV Golf is still a PGA Tour member and might be the only one capable of making sense without making enemies.
Adam Scott speaks without an agenda, and in these acrimonious times, that can make it difficult to discern exactly where he stands. Actions remain louder than words.
But his comments ahead of the Australian Open are worth digesting.
Scott has listened over the last month as the two strongest voices, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, took turns saying golf cannot come together as long as Greg Norman remains the face of LIV Golf.
“No one is going to talk unless there’s an adult in the room that can actually try to mend fences,” McIlroy said in Dubai.
“I think Greg has to go, first of all,” Woods said in the Bahamas.
And then Sergio Garcia weighed in on behalf of LIV in an interview with the Spanish website Marca. “They say Greg Norman should leave. And (PGA Tour Commissioner Jay) Monahan has to stay or go? It’s very easy to say the other side has to go. And those on your side?”
Golf, but louder? Quiet, please.
Negotiations don’t start with one party getting to decide who speaks for the other. Most curious to Scott was the idea of any peace talks. LIV Golf has spent $2 billion to lure big names and start a rival league and the PGA Tour doubled down by suspending players who left. LIV Golf sued and the PGA Tour countersued.
What’s there to talk about outside of depositions?
“I don’t know what this coming together is,” Scott said last week in Melbourne. “I don’t know, is someone making that up? Is that a possibility? I don’t know. I really am not involved at that level at all, and it seems like all speculation to me.
“I genuinely feel like LIV should get on with what they’re doing and the PGA Tour should get on with what they’re doing and it will all sort out,” he said. “Whether that’s together or not, I have no clue. But I don’t necessarily think that it has to be together or not together for the good of the game. I think the good of the game will prevail, but it’s a big shake-up and we’re not used to that.”
Live and let LIV.
Fresh perspective from Adam Scott, asking a very fair question: Do LIV and the PGA Tour actually need to compromise? Or should they each just get on with it?https://t.co/g1WIsjyFnR pic.twitter.com/srf3rvtn1t
— Dylan Dethier (@dylan_dethier) December 2, 2022
The PGA Tour will start 2023 next month in Hawaii (Scott will be there) and LIV Golf will start in late February in Mexico. Golf fans will attend or they won’t. They’ll watch on television (if LIV Golf has a TV partner by then) or they won’t.
Monahan might have said it best during the Honda Classic in February, when LIV was more rumor than reality. “I told the players we’re moving on and anyone on the fence needs to make a decision,” he said.
If only it were that simple.
Birdies and bogeys now share the stage with motions and rulings thanks to lawsuits in which attorneys might end up making more money than Pat Perez.
Most disingenuous of Norman and LIV Golf is wanting the notion of free agency, that the LIV roster should be able to play wherever they want. That starts, of course, with being required to play all 14 events on the LIV schedule next year.
That’s no different from the PGA Tour requiring its members to play a minimum of 15 tournaments, except they get to choose which ones. Such is the real meaning of an independent contractor. Phil Mickelson once skipped the Tour Championship so he wouldn’t miss Halloween with his kids.
But it raises the question of just what LIV Golf players want out of all this.
Elite players who would be eligible for the majors would already have 18 events on their schedule. How many would they want to cherry-pick? It probably wouldn’t be enough to take advantage of the PGA Tour’s top perk — the FedEx Cup — without reaching the minimum number of tournaments to even be a member.
Meanwhile, the back-and-forth continues with no end in sight. A trial date on LIV’s antitrust lawsuit for now is set for January 2024.
Scott has been Switzerland in all this, fitting since that’s where he makes his home.
He seemed like the perfect fit for LIV. A former Masters champion, Scott is 42. He has preferred a limited schedule since he was 32. More money, less travel. What’s not to like?
“Depending what your goals are in golf, I think the schedule is very appealing,” he said in February. “From that side of things, I would consider doing that, for sure. From a lifestyle side of things, yes.”
So why hasn’t he left?
“Because it suits me best to be on the PGA Tour. It’s as simple as that,” he said in September at the Presidents Cup. “The one thing I think I haven’t grasped is giving up my entire professional life of trying to achieve these things here and just leaving it behind.”
So he presses ahead, mostly keeping out of the conversation, more curious about how this will shake out. He’ll spend two weeks in Hawaii. Nothing will have changed.