Asian Golf Tour - Superleague

Well another week and more rumors and developments.

  • Trump golf company may be getting involved. Here me out here, I have to give the company credit for at least two things. The company had the absolute best golf courses and the best golf course setups. That Doral setup was just a thing of beauty. If they get involved I’m hoping for more of the same (sadistic) course setups
  • Lots of events scheduled in the US so they’re aiming for a true breakaway rival tour. Apparently several of Trump’s courses in the US will be involved
  • Limited field and team play events

And my thoughts:

  • Looks like they’re shooting for an exhibition tour, not unlike the pro tennis tour in the 60’s
  • Not a fan of some of the recent developments. There are tons of good players outside of Europe and the Americas and many big money events outside of those areas that have been around for decades. There is definitely enough room for a 3rd major world tour
  • I have more hopes for the International Series. The tour can grow organically that way. Level of golf in places like Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and China is growing quickly. In 5-10 years they’ll have enough good players to have European Tour strength type fields
  • Aside from that there is enough room in the golf calendar for 5-10 events that are the equivalent of the Saudi International. You have to remember that there are a dozen tournaments outside of the two main tours that have similar strength fields and the golf calender has supported that for decades. We’ll see if the Asian Tour can get a big share of that.
  • I don’t think breakaway is the right move, they can just convince all the top players to play in 2-3 of these events. Shouldn’t be that hard since they already do (albeit under a different sanctioning umbrella)

And for the long term:

  • I think there will be many missteps but no way the Asian Tour persists as a minor league tour. Too many good players in the pipeline
  • We may see a major championship played outside the US and Europe (probably Australia), we’ll see how long that takes

It’s interesting to me that the Thailand International Series event on the Asian Tour has a bigger purse than the corresponding DP event in Kenya, and as such a few of the international DP members (Catlin and Ormsby) are choosing to play in that instead.

The field would probably be even better but for the fact that there are two PGA events that week.

If Phil wants to make a statement he should pack his bags and tee off in Thailand

I mean, do you really think the PGA Tour will ban Phil?

It’s interesting to see that Ormsby is playing in Asia, considering the hostile reception the Asian Tour has gotten from the Australasian Tour

That’s how the Asian Tour can establish itself, pick off Top 200 players one by one. Then Top 100, then Top 50…

I think they can get a handful of decent Australian and South African players to commit to the International Series, eventually add the Australian Open, Australian PGA, and South African Open to its list of tournaments. These tournaments have been around for decades and can all easily draw fields comparable to the Saudi International

Once that happens the floodgates will start to open (it may anyway with tons of players from South Korean, Japan, Thailand, China, and India waiting in the pipeline)

More soap opera, this time involving Phil Mickelson.

Well, I guess he gave an apology and has been soft-banned by the PGA Tour.

As I have said before, he could have made a bigger impact by saying nothing negative about the PGA Tour, packing his bags, and teeing off in Thailand in the International Series. He could have said a bunch of things about “great players in Asia”, “new opportunities”, and “growing the game”.

I also sense that the PGA Tour is a deeply corrupt organization but that comes with the territory when billions of dollar are involved. (To be fair though, the same goes for the European Tour and the Asian Tour)

the PGA Tour is getting away with things too easily I think with how quickly all the journalists jump on demonizing Phil and making everything about Saudi’s etc. there is a big opportunity out there to narrow down focus (40-ish players with promotion and relegation, players play every event) and make a much superior product to the mish-mash we have now where the top golfers don’t really care too much about the week to week tour.

Well to be fair Phil is guilty but I also have no doubts that what he’s saying about the PGA Tour is also true

I’m rather lukewarm on the concept of a 40 player exhibition tournament with no cut and easy golf courses (although I will bet them early and often, LOL). The International Series is something to build on though. Most people have no idea how fast golf is growing in Asia and the sudden rise of Asian golfers in the LPGA Tour took everyone by surprise.

Put a ton of money into the International Series and 5-10 big money events where you invite 5-10 top players and pay them loads of appearance fees, and you have a real tour. The best players from Korea, Japan, Thailand, China, India, etc. will be able to get into the Top 50 of the World Rankings and play in all the majors while playing in the Asian Tour.

The future isn’t in getting Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood, and Charley Hoffman to defect but rather to make sure that guys like Joohyung Kim and Sadom Kaewkanjana stay and become Top 50 mainstays. There will always be room for the 40-something players with name value to receive appearance fee money for the 5-10 big money tournaments.

As for Phil he needs to come to grips with reality, the bridge has been burned and he burned it. I’m sure he will be welcomed with open arms in Asia.

As for media I don’t really have any hopes for them. They demonize entertaining golf courses too. As a result we get a -20 to -25 birdie show every week with low volatility in scores.

Even the rough is cut so evenly that you never get the clumpy lies that send the ball in random directions. Lift clean and cheat is no fun either since you don’t get those mudballs.

the key would be that the bottom players get kicked off the tour, and probably some sort of “cut” to a final event or two which creates incentives throughout the field

Actually what you’re proposing sounds pretty similar to the FedEx cup playoffs

The journalists, PGA Tour, and Big Businesses all play of the same team, and if they favor an inferior product that’s exactly what they will push (and what we’ll see on TV)

The players get their money from sponsors and the incentive comes from them so let’s see how this all shakes out

It’s not always too bad though. Last week’s golf course was actually a decent test for the players and chances are pretty good that we’ll see another one this week (then we’ll see another birdie fest at the PLAYERS Championship)

yes the end is similar to the playoffs, which is generally a good idea but the scoring is not strict enough to make the “regular season” really matter all that much and there are too many golfers, so the bottom guys being relegated doesn’t really register or matter to viewers. if there were 40 golfers on the A Tour and every single one played each week, with the bottom 5 being relegated then there would be drama seeing which one would lose their spot

Something like that becomes way more fun with a torture chamber like what we saw in Bay Hill last week

Another possibility is to have something like what we saw in the Hero World challenge. An absolute birdiefest but the occasional (frequent) disaster. It seemed like everyone was shooting in the 60’s but no one could avoid the blig blowup hole

Well as expected, more missteps from Greg Norman and LIV investments

I don’t think the team format will make for entertaining golf. The entertainment usually comes from:
(1) Lots of players
(2) Unpredictable results
(3) Goofy golf courses

This format would not do well on any of those fronts if you ask me. When you add in the factor of not getting good players then I don’t think the chances of success are very good.

Well at least they have other bullets in the chamber:
(1) International Series - hard not to see this one taking off
(2) Other events similar to Saudi Invitational - They can get 5-10 with cooperation with the other tours. New Zealand Open, Casio World Open, etc. that do not interfere with the PGA Tour main calendar would be key.
(3) Trump Courses - Hold a couple big money off-season events there and see what happens. If the purse was $10M to play a tricked-up Doral during the PGA Tour offseason I guarantee there will be a few takers
(4) Mickelson - The dude has been permanently cast off from the PGA Tour anyway. He’s 50-50 to show up in the Masters. Best way to rebuild his brand is to keep playing golf and play well

Now if they really wanted to deliver a killer shot they can co-sanction the WGC China Open. They have a long time association with the tournament.

Looks like Greg Norman is moving forward with this venture, the 48 player field with team and individual components.

Paraphrasing, I do hope that some player ranked 350 in the world wins. Would be great for the player and would change his life.

From a betting perspective I love it of course, more chances to bet means more chances to make money

I think Norman has a decent chance of getting Bubba Watson and Kevin Na which would be a decent haul. Obviously no top tier Asian Tour player is passing up this opportunity and we will definitely see some defections from South Africa/Australia who primarily play on the European Tour.

Players like Min Woo Lee, Eric Van Rooyen, and Anirban Lahiri would be decent targets

Wow, 15 of the top 100 players in the World Golf Rankings applied for a release for the first Invitational Series event, with a $25M purse
Mickelson also applied for a release and applied to play in the PGA Championship and the Open Championship as well

We’re seeing a full scale mutiny in real time

I think the PGA Tour overplayed its hand in their reaction to Mickelson and we’re starting to see the backlash

As for me, well I never turn down more opportunities to make money LOL. Hoping Data Golf will be on board with the Invitational Series!

Ya, we’ll cover them. Not sure how in-depth our coverage will be – depends on interest level from sportsbooks as well as the quality of their website (if they even have one…).

As a golf fan I think these events are going to be awful. WGCs have already proven themselves to be the worst events on the PGA Tour (I think this in part due to no cut), and these events are going to be significantly worse given the field quality / headliners. I’m not sure why anyone thinks there is a better format for professional golf than 72-hole stroke play with a cut. Zurich Classic last week proved again how bad alternative formats can be. Also having no Shotlink is a big negative, especially from a bettor’s standpoint.

If it’s covered under the sub tour model it’s probably sufficient, I just want to be able to bet the place markets pre-tournament before the books move the prices

I wish I could the sub-tour model to simulate odds mid-tournament though. The place markets after Rounds 1 and 2 are very very beatable

As for alternative formats, the single elimination match play format was very very fun while it lasted but the sponsors nixed it (because it was less predictable). The Stableford can be kind of fun but I think they got it backward, it would be much more fun if you lost a boatload of points from the blowup holes.

Another possible format would be a hybrid of stroke play and match play:
156 players
Days 1 & 2:
Field cut to 64 players after 2 rounds (playoffs used to get it down to 64)

Day 3:
Field cut down to 32 players after 3 rounds
Field cut down to 16 players after 4 rounds

Day 4:
Round of 16 and quarterfinals

Day 5:
Semifinals and Final

From a betting perspective you would have the following place markets:

Top 64
Top 32
Top 16
Top 8
Top 4
Top 2

I think this format is OK, certainly an improvement over the current round-robin format we have in match play

If you’re asking whether the Invitational Series will produce more entertaining golf than the PGA Tour the answer is probably a no.

But if the question is whether it will be more entertaining than the European Tour or the run-of-the-mill Asian Tour events you might get a different answer

Also the big-field appearance fee money full field events will probably make a re-appearance during the silly season, we may see a handful of tournaments similar to the Saudi International soon.

Re sub-tour (we need to change the name because we have PGA Tour in there now): what do you want to simulate mid-tournament? The finish probs are on the live model (obviously), so you must be getting at something else.