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On June 9, 2022, the professional golf world changed when 48 players teed off in the inaugural LIV Golf event at Centurion Golf Club outside London. For many of us, this is one of the biggest stories ever as it relates to the business of sports, and it just happens to be the sport where many of us earn our living.

Most of us are not old enough to remember the American Basketball Association, American Football League or World Hockey Association. These were rival leagues to the NBA, NFL and NHL and all eventually resulted in acquisition or merger to those dominant leagues still in operation today.

Many of you might recall the United States Football League from the mid-1980s or, more recently, the XFL. All the talk about LIV Golf kind of reminds me of the first time the XFL launched. It did not last. I seriously doubt version 2.0 will either, but let’s talk about LIV Golf.

How is it we are two short years removed from PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan ringing the bell on Wall Street, announcing a new television rights deal worth estimates of $2.7 billion over the life of the contract that runs through 2030 and the PGA Tour being the first major sport to return to action during the COVID-19 pandemic?

One would think the PGA Tour was literally on top of the golfing world. Yet here we are 24 months later with players resigning their PGA Tour membership and signing to play in this rival upstart league. What went wrong and why would players think this risk is worth taking?

Those questions and more are obviously for other writers and publications. But the situation made me think: What are our LIVs? When was the last time you thoroughly examined and evaluated your team, golf course, membership and/or customer base?

Have you and your facility’s leaders conducted a SWOT analysis recently to identify the weaknesses and threats where a LIV could rival you? It would be easy to still be riding the wave of increased revenue brought about by the increased rounds played from the pandemic and not see a threat like the PGA Tour clearly missed or underestimated.

The business of golf was not dead contrary to widespread belief prior to the pandemic, but things were definitely stale. The pandemic brought about a boost nobody could have predicted and suddenly we are in a boom.

Now, two years later, inflation is rising and fuel prices continue to climb. I’m not mentioning this as it relates to our budget-line items, but rather how it relates to our members, guests and patrons. Playing golf is still achieved via discretionary income. As quickly as new folks discovered the game, it is becoming more expensive to live. This might curb newfound enthusiasm to chase a white ball across charming countryside.

Let me be clear, I am not here to be Chicken Little. In fact, I do not believe the sky is falling. But everybody should understand that when you think things are at their absolute best – and nothing could possibly go wrong – is sometimes the exact moment you must be on guard.

Time will tell whether LIV Golf becomes a staple of our industry or a passing fad that will exist as merely a blip on our game’s history. We are living in history right now. That is exciting regardless of your feelings on either side.

Speaking of history, for the 150th time a group of players will tee it up this month and compete for what I believe to be the coolest trophy in sports: the Claret Jug. My apologies to those of you who feel that way about Lord Stanley’s Cup or Wimbledon. The Open Championship will be contested at the home of golf, The Old Course at St. Andrews.

The first Open was contested in 1860, the oldest championship in professional golf. You have a long way to go LIV.

Matthew Wharton, CGCS, MG, is the superintendent at Carolina Golf Club in Charlotte, North Carolina and past president of the Carolinas GCSA. Follow him on Twitter @CGCGreenkeeper.