The LIV golf tour is in the headlines as the Saudi backed enterprise is starting to get what they want - more and more PGA players aboard the fledgling venture. Dustin Johnson walked out on The Canadian Open (and his deal with RBC, which sponsors the event), and now others have followed. Today, it appears Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed have committed to the Portland event.
And of course, we have the grand pooh-bah, Phil Mickelson, (quietly?) leading the charge.
Despite apologists and some participants pissing on our leg and telling us it's raining, this is basically about money. And frankly, from an EV perspective, isn't it worth it for these golfers to pursue these kinds of paychecks?
They can play for a year on the PGA and maybe earn a couple of million. They can play on the new tour for a year and make 5 times that. They can - even talented youngsters like Talor Gooch - in one or two years set themselves up for life.
The downside (leaving aside the whole Saudi thing) is they are suspended from a Tour that they are not even playing on. And if the new Tour folds, which it may at some point, the PGA will (after suspensions and grumbling) have to accept them back at some point anyway.
Money, for people who need it, people who want the security of it, or for people who gambled it away is a pretty strong attraction.
Moving over to horse racing, I am summarily stumped. Purse money does not seem to attract talent as much as I would think.
We've got 5 horse field Acorns for a half a million (this has been a pattern). The Just a Game, usually a great race, has 5 horses. The Met Mile, which was moved from Memorial Day years ago (because it could attract top fields on the super stakes Belmont Day) drew 5 for a cool million.
Over on the harness side, a million dollar purse for a North America Cup drew 17 horses, some of whom we'd never even guess would be good enough for the richest pacing event in the world. The Armbro Flight, eliminations are not even needed. We will see short fields all year for megabucks in stakes.
Part of this is because of the nature of the game. I'm not attracted to buy yearlings much, because the best are concentrated in top barns and I feel I don't have a shot. On the thoroughbred side this does not feel dissimilar. There are lasix issues, and drugs and the high cost of buying a horse to get it to a point where you can enter an Acorn.
But it is confusing to me. Large purses in golf attract golfers. Large purses do not seem to attract horses.
More than that, large purses on the LIV tour attract golfers, but the golfers they attract leave the PGA Tour, allowing spots to be open for players to fill that funnel. And parents and kids see the money involved, and their boy or girl may choose golf over another sport with less opportunity. The ecosystems all shines based on the fundamentals.
No one seems to be rushing out to buy horses, despite these same fundamentals. That probably says more about horse racing than it does about golf.
Have a nice Wednesday everyone.