LIV Golf's first broadcast delivered on shots but fell short on innovation (2023)

By: James Colgan

LIV Golf's first broadcast delivered on shots but fell short on innovation (1)

Before LIV Golf had players, before it had tournaments, before it even had a name, it had a promise.

“We’ve talked about golf over the years, obviously, and the way it’s covered,” David Hill told me in January. “What Greg [Norman] wants to do is to create what we see as the most exciting golf television ever.”

The legendary Fox Sports executive sat before me virtually in his beautiful Los Angeles home. He wore a white linen shirt and a wry smile, his voice carrying the frenetic energy of a man who spent the majority of his life turning ordinary events into extraordinary entertainment products. Now, he told me, he was about to embark upon his greatest challenge yet. He had just accepted a new role as a broadcast consultant for his good friend Greg Norman at LIV Golf, and it was his job to bring golf broadcasting into the 21st century.

“The trick with television production is to work out what’s not there and add it,” he said. “I like all my productions to have the audience leaning forward. And I feel that when people are watching golf, they’re leaning back.”

In the lead up to LIV Golf’s first-ever shotgun start Thursday at Centurion Club, just outside London, its power brokers echoed much the same messaging. LIV would be different, it would be exciting and it would be, above all else, innovative.

“The LIV Golf broadcast will be unlike anything fans have seen before,” Will Staeger, LIV’s chief media officer, said in a release announcing the new product. “The innovations we are introducing to the sport will be distributed to existing and new audiences all over the world as we deliver golf coverage dedicated to entertainment and access.”

On Thursday, LIV went live for the first time, presenting its vision for golf’s future in a neon-tinted shade of lime green. Fittingly, that vision was presented to viewers by non-traditional means. LIV Golf does not yet have a TV deal, and it is not tied to a subscription streaming service. Instead, the first LIV Golf Invitational series round was blasted out to the world on YouTube, Facebook and the LIV Golf website … for free.

In many ways, Thursday served as a tryout for LIV Golf’s broadcast team, which is headed by Steve Beim, former U.S. Open and “The Match” producer. And after one day of coverage, one thing is clear: there were elements to like, but the golf-broadcast wheel has not been reinvented.

First, the good: LIV Golf’s broadcast is fast. Really fast. Beim operates his show like his hair’s on fire, showing shots with a frequency rarely seen on the networks. Perhaps not surprisingly, Beim’s broadcast appears to have taken some of its queues from Fox Sports’ coverage of USGA events, telecasts on which Beim worked for a number of years. Over the first 30 minutes of coverage on Thursday, Beim’s broadcast vastly outpaced ESPN+’s PGA Tour coverage, showing nearly twice the number of shots. LIV has an advantage because of its shotgun-start format, but even when compared to the PGA Tour’s coverage when every hole had players, LIV’s broadcast still showed more golf.

Went back and watched the first 30 minutes of both LIV and PGA Tour broadcasts this morning.

Here's how they compared:

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Golf fans offput by the PGA Tour’s commercial load and affinity for filler segments were also likely enthused by LIV’s coverage, which had little of the latter and none of the former (no sponsors means no ads). Before the broadcast went live on Thursday morning, LIV analyst Jerry Foltz — who formerly covered the LPGA for Golf Channel —could be heard on a hot mic strategizing the on-air plan to cover five consecutive hours of live television without a bathroom break. This was a welcome change for many regular golf viewers, even if business realities had precipitated it.

Despite their tacky name, the “Don’t Blink” highlight segments were another winner, dropping a dopamine rush full of holed putts and chip-ins in only a few seconds. As was the quad-box used at the shotgun start, which showed four tee shots at once and appeared to be inspired by “NFL Redzone.”

In the not-so-great camp was the virtual leaderboard, which achieved the remarkable feat of taking up 20 percent of the screen while providing little meaningful information. The leaderboard itself has impressive potential — the “holes remaining” stat is a cool addition — but its naming conventions are confounding. In a field already struggling for name recognition, disguising, say, Dustin Johnson’s name as “D. JSN” was a head-scratcher.

And speaking of name recognition, does anyone understand how the team format works? Because after watching several hours of LIV’s coverage this morning, I sure don’t; I didn’t see a single scoring update for what was supposed to be a key differentiator for the LIV series. (I do, however, know that video game sound effects were not what I needed to tune into a sports telecast.)

These are minor quibbles, and it’s entirely possible — if not likely — that Beim and his team of producers are armed with a laundry list of fixes and additions before the second event in Portland next month.

But the bigger problem, the one that will be hardest to fix, is also the simplest: After six months of promising innovation, LIV Golf’s first broadcast was decidedly normal. If not for the wacky color scheme, the casual fan tuning into Thursday’s action might not have noticed a difference between LIV’s product and the one on NBC or CBS every weekend.

Other than the completely indiscernible leaderboard, this LIV Golf broadcast looks and sounds *checks notes* like every other golf broadcast I've ever watched

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It was noticeable everywhere: in the audio, which was promised as a revolutionary staple of the new league, but instead provided caddie-player conversations at … roughly the same rate as the average PGA Tour telecast. In the camera shots, which did little more to change our perspective of the course than the average Tour telecast. Even in the announcers, who offered roughly the same depth of commentary as the average Thursday afternoon.

Perhaps if it hadn’t come after the last six months of hype, Thursday wouldn’t have felt so underwhelming. The broadcast was well produced, it was watched by a significant audience (at points, more than 100,000 viewers were simultaneously streaming the event on YouTube), and if Twitter commentary is any indication, many of those viewers seemed to enjoy what they saw and heard. That should have been a success for a league that, up until very recently, was uncertain to exist at all.

But that’s the problem with big promises. They’re easy to make, and hard to forget.

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LIV Golf's first broadcast delivered on shots but fell short on innovation (3)

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and utilizes his broadcast experience across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and evidently, his golf game — is still defrosting from four years in the snow. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at

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What does LIV stand for? ›

The name "LIV" refers to the Roman numerals for 54, the score if every hole on a par-72 course were birdied and the number of holes to be played at LIV events. The first LIV Golf Invitational Series event started on 9 June 2022, at the Centurion Club near London, England.

What was the payout for the LIV Golf tournament? ›

Suffice it to say, being the winner of the playoff was a very lucrative accomplishment. Johnson, who hadn't won a tournament of any kind since the Saudi Invitational in February 2021, took home the first-place prize money payout of $4 million from the $20 million individual purse.

Does LIV Golf make money? ›

LIV Golf is halfway done with its inaugural season. The Saudi Arabia-backed, Greg Norman-led series has caused plenty of discussion among the golf world in recent months, and those conversations won't end any time soon. Many of them are about the amount of money LIV golfers earn, with winners earning $4 million.

Does anyone watch LIV Golf? ›

feed on Sunday had an average concurrent feed of just 74,000. CBS's coverage of the PGA Tour's Rocket Mortgage Classic on the same day averaged 2.5 million viewers. and its own website.
PGA Tour Sunday rounds for CBS since LIV Golf started.
Event3M Open
DateJuly 24
Up/down11% 11% 11%
WinnerTony Finau
5 more columns
8 Aug 2022

How long are LIV contracts? ›

Financial terms and other personal information was blacked out in the publicly released version. Gooch signed a two-year contract with LIV Golf for the 2022 and 2023 seasons. A source told ESPN on Tuesday that the longest contract between a player and LIV Golf is through the 2027 season.

How do you pronounce LIV? ›

How To Pronounce LIV GOLF - YouTube

How much money has Dustin Johnson made on LIV tour? ›

Dustin Johnson earned nearly $5 million on Sunday. He made an eagle putt on the first playoff hole to beat Anirban Lahiri and Joaquin Niemann and win the LIV Golf Invitational Boston event at The International in Bolton, Massachusetts.

How much did Dustin Johnson get paid by LIV? ›

September 6 - Dustin Johnson is the money leader halfway through the first season of the LIV Golf Series, earning $7.7 million through just four individual events.

How much did Cameron Smith get from LIV? ›

LIV Golf lured the world's second-ranked golfer with a $100 million bonus. The league now has 26 of the world's top 100 golfers.

How much do LIV caddies make? ›

Caddies on the LIV Golf Tour are set to experience a pay increase of nearly 200% due to the vast pots of prize money on the Saudi-backed series. According to research conducted by AceOdds, the average pay a caddie will receive in the breakaway league is $34,445.

How does LIV have so much money? ›

There are limited revenues, and in addition to the enormous signing bonuses and multimillion-dollar-per-event production budgets, LIV has guaranteed $255 million in prize money for 2022. In 2023, that will expand to $405 million for 14 events.

Does the PGA Tour make money? ›

Each PGA Tour event has a purse, which is the total amount of money paid out to the field of players. In 2019, for example, the PGA Tour took in $1.5 billion in revenues.

Who number 1 golfer in the world? ›

Scottie Scheffler

Can players wear shorts on LIV tour? ›

LIV Golf allows players to wear shorts and we await your response, PGA Tour. Phil Mickelson plays his second shot from the 18th fairway during the second round of the LIV Golf Invitational Boston.

Will LIV run out of money? ›

LIV's owner, the Saudi government, won't run out of cash, and that obviously concerns PGA Tour officials, who have responded to the threat by increasing purses, suspending players who decide to participate in LIV events, and, according to a report on Tuesday, making changes to the tour schedule next year, including ...

Are LIV Golf contracts guaranteed? ›

Moreover, several prominent players, including Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, have signed for eight- and nine-figure guaranteed contracts in addition to money earned on the course, and sources say some players also have equity in the teams they play for on the LIV circuit if and ...

How are LIV teams picked? ›

Each tourney will have 48 players in four teams of 12, selected via a draft the week of the tournament. Every team will also have a LIV-appointed captain.

Does LIV Golf Tour have a dress code? ›

Transitioning from trousers to shorts, Norman then says: "It's official. As of tomorrow, LIV Tour players will be able to wear shorts. The first league and tour to make it official." The move is a first for golf, as the PGA and DP World Tour's current policy means players must wear trousers in competitive rounds.

Is LIV a name? ›

Liv is a Nordic female given name derived from the Old Norse "hlíf", which means "shelter" or "protection". In modern Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish it is also homophonous with the word "liv" meaning "life".

How do you spell Sony Liv? ›

SonyLIV is an Indian over-the-top freemium streaming platform owned by Culver Max Entertainment.

How much money has Pat Perez made on the Liv tour? ›

Pat Perez has earned $1,804,000 in two events with LIV Golf.

How long is Dustin Johnson's contract with Liv? ›

Dustin Johnson said he's committed to play LIV Golf for four years, according to's Sean Zak. It was announced just a few weeks ago that Johnson, 37, would be joining Greg Norman's Saudi-backed LIV Golf series.

Who is the highest paid LIV golfer? ›

That Mickelson ranks No. 1 is hardly a surprise. He has been viewed as the leader of the LIV golf movement, with reports of a guaranteed contract estimated at more than $200 million. Forbes calculates that half of that Mickelson “likely got upfront,” thus it has put his 2022 on-course earnings at $102 million.

How much did Lee Westwood get for joining LIV Golf? ›

Answer. According to various sources LIV Golf signed Lee Westwood for $20-30 million.

How much did Henrik Stenson get from LIV Golf? ›

Sacked European Ryder Cup captain Henrik Stenson has scooped a whopping $4.375 million for winning the LIV Golf Invitational Bedminster tournament and finishing second with his Majesticks GC in the team event.

How does LIV Golf determine who plays? ›

The teams are determined via a draft where twelve appointed captains select their players in a snake-style format. For the first two rounds, the best two stroke play scores will count for each team. For the third, and final, round the best three scores will contribute.

Who won LIV Chicago today? ›

-- British Open champion Cameron Smith made his decision to leave the PGA Tour for LIV Golf pay off Sunday when he closed with a 3-under 69 for a three-shot victory in the LIV Golf Invitational-Chicago.

Who has left LIV Golf? ›

The eight players that LIV removed

Also leaving LIV Golf are four Japanese players in Yuki Inamori, Jinichiro Kozuma, Ryosuke Kinoshita, and Hideto Tanihara.

How do you pronounce LIV Golf tour? ›

How to Pronounce LIV GOLF - YouTube

What country is LIV? ›

Liv (TV channel)
Broadcast area95% of Finland
OwnerNelonen Media
Sister channelsNelonen (HD) Jim Hero Nelonen Prime Nelonen Nappula Nelonen Maailma Nelonen Pro 1 (HD) Nelonen Pro 2 (HD) Nelonen Pro 3 Nelonen Pro 4 Nelonen Pro 5 Nelonen Pro 6 Nelonen Pro 7 Nelonen Pro 8
10 more rows

What does LIV stand for golf league? ›

The "LIV" in the LIV Golf Tour's name isn't an acronym. It is the Roman numeral for 54. What does that mean in the context of the LIV Golf tour? Greg Norman explained in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated.

Who is next to join LIV? ›

Who Will Leave PGA Tour Next For LIV Golf?
PlayerOdds to join LIV nextImplied Probability
Sungjae Im+45018.18%
Patrick Cantlay+45018.18%
Xander Schauffele+45018.18%
Cameron Young+45018.18%
17 more rows
31 Aug 2022

Can LIV players play in majors? ›

LIV players were allowed to compete at the US Open in June and July's Open Championship but there is no guarantee they will play in majors going forward. "To the fans of major championship golf, it may be a little bit unfair on them," Smith said.

What does golf stand for? ›

The word 'golf' is not an acronym for anything. Rather, it derives linguistically from the Dutch word 'kolf' or 'kolve,' meaning quite simply 'club.

What brand is LIV bikes? ›

Liv/giant is launched | Giant Bicycles US. Functional cookies ensure that our website functions properly.

Does LIV Golf give to charity? ›

100% of all the proceeds made from the tournament will be donated to local non-profit organizations.

Who won the LIV tournament? ›

Dustin Johnson cashed the biggest check of his career on Sunday, winning the LIV Golf Invitational Series event in Boston in a playoff. Johnson rammed in a long eagle putt to defeat Anirban Lahiri and Joaquin Niemann on the par-5 18th hole at The International.

How does team scoring work in LIV? ›

A quick reminder of the format: for the first two rounds, the best two scores count for each four-man team. For the final day, the best three scores are submitted, with the lowest team score winning $3 million, second place $1.5 million and third place receiving $500,000.

How is the LIV field determined? ›

The team part will be decided by counting the best two stroke-play scores over the first two rounds for each team. In the final round, the best three scores will count. The team that has the lowest total after 54 holes get the victory.

How many LIV teams are there? ›

LIV Golf Invitational Series will feature 12 teams of four players each. Each team will have a LIV-appointed captain. In addition to being one of the four starting players, the captain will select the counting scores and act as an on- and off-course manager for the team.

Does LIV Golf have a dress code? ›

Transitioning from trousers to shorts, Norman then says: "It's official. As of tomorrow, LIV Tour players will be able to wear shorts. The first league and tour to make it official." The move is a first for golf, as the PGA and DP World Tour's current policy means players must wear trousers in competitive rounds.

Do LIV golfers have to play every event? ›

Play all events

As previously reported, every player under contract with LIV is expected to participate in every event on the schedule. There are eight LIV events scheduled for this season, while 2023 will feature 10 events. In 2024, and each subsequent season, LIV plans to stage 14 tournaments.

Why is the LIV Golf tournament controversial? ›

The tour, which makes its U.S. debut Thursday at Pumpkin Ridge outside of Portland, has quickly become known for contentious exchanges between media asking about Saudi Arabia's horrendous track record on human rights and players who mostly refuse to acknowledge said track record.


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