“Second-biggest story in golf this week is over in London,” said the reporter.
“Yeah,” said Steve Stricker.
And that’s how most of these exchanges have gone. Questions to players about the upstart, Saudi-funded, LIV Golf Invitational Series, which kicked off play this week in England. And players’ reluctance to respond. You heard as much on the PGA Tour this week, when a reporter, quite politely, began his interrogation with: “Sorry for being the guy who is going to ask this question” — to which Justin Thomas answered: “I knew it was coming.”
None of this, of course, is too difficult to understand. You know where the money is coming from and why it’s being spent. You also know the decision players offered to join have to make. Then there are those who stick with the established product, only to see other players, in many cases friends, bolt. Thomas talked of this, too, when, referring to Dustin Johnson, said: “I don’t dislike D.J. now. I don’t think he’s a bad dude. I’m not going to treat him any differently.”
Stricker’s perspective — after some follow-up questions — is unique here, though. He knows the current generation, or at least has studied it, as part of Ryder Cup captain duties last fall. He’s only slightly older — Stricker is 55 — than the 45-and-older set who have bounced over to LIV for one last significant payday. He’s seen some things, too.