There may have been a cold shoulder here or there, but all in all it was a successful visit to St. Andrews for LIV golfers. Dustin Johnson finished tied for sixth at the Open Championship while Bryson DeChambeau looks to be fully back from his wrist surgery with an eighth place finish at the Old Course.
But wait, there’s more as LIV golfers Sadom Kaewkanjana and Abraham Ancer ended up tied for 11th while Talor Gooch and Lee Westwood also finished in the top 40. That was a big turnaround for LIV following the U.S. Open where only four members made the cut with nobody finishing in the top 20.
With these successful outings it only gives more legitimacy to the LIV, which will return to action July 29-31 for their third event to be held at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Here are four things to watch in that event.
The Trump Connection
This is one of two LIV events held at a golf course owned by former President Donald Trump. The course in Bedminster was originally supposed to be the site of the 2022 PGA Championship, but the PGA moved it to Southern Hills for what they deemed was Trump’s role in the January 6th Capitol Building fiasco.
As one can imagine, Trump wasn’t too keen with the PGA’s decision to strip his course of a major, one of the many reasons he has urged players to defect to the LIV.
Trump predicts that a merger between the LIV and PGA is inevitable, so he is telling players to ‘take the money now’ or risk getting nothing when the two tours become one.
Will Any More Big Names Join LIV?
Cam Smith won his first major by taking home the Open Championship but even before the sweat dried on the Claret Jug he was fielding questions about rumors he was heading to the LIV. Smith brushed off the question, but he also didn’t exactly deny the rumors.
Smith has earned nearly $25 million since turning pro in 2013, but rumors were circulating that his LIV offer was from anywhere between $90 and $120 million. A potential move might make sense considering the LIV CEO is fellow Australian Greg Norman, but we will see what the next week holds in store.
Smith is also not the only one linked to a move to the LIV, as other names to surface include Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Scott, Marc Leishman, Bubba Watson, and Henrik Stenson.
Will We Get a Repeat Champ?
Branden Grace won the first LIV stop on U.S. soil, taking home $4 million for his victory at the Portland event. Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson tied for third with Louis Oosthuizen coming in fifth so there were some big names atop the leaderboard.
Grace also finished third at the London event so he is finding his groove in the LIV. Charl Schwartzel was the victor in that inaugural tournament.
Will the Betting Handle Increase?
New Jersey has overtaken Nevada as the sports betting capital of the world, so will the LIV playing in the Garden State lead to an increase in wagers? Many of the top PGA golfers are idle this week following the Open, but the Rocket Mortgage Classic will go head to head with LIV New Jersey in two weeks. Where will bettors put their money?