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Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Is the Super Tour REALLY Done For?

With the issuance of so many statements by tour players distancing themselves from the proposed Saudi Super Tour and Phil's apology for his 'reckless' comments, there seems to be a general feeling that the Super Tour is now a dead issue. And I agree this has been a big win for the main tours.

But is the Super Tour threat dead? I'm afraid that might be a bit optimistic. Let me tell you why.

Phil Mickelson

I'll grant you that this certainly appears to be a setback for the proposed Super Tour. With virtually all of the top ranked players in the OWGR making it clear that they intend to support the PGA Tour -- and, by extension, the DP World Tour and all their related tours -- it appears that the pool of top players available to any competing tour has all but dried up.

And the backlash against Phil -- which, if you read the article I linked to above, indicates that he's removing himself from the public eye for a while to let this firestorm die down -- would certainly indicate that any further attempts to draw off big players to a competing tour are pretty much wasted effort. Say what you want about Phil's comments, I think they've left such a bad taste in fans' mouths that a player would commit professional suicide if he decided to join it now.

If that's how you feel, I agree with you on both counts. The original Saudi plan appears to be dead.

But the key word here is original. Everybody seems to be forgetting one important thing...

The Saudis DID get a tour. It's called the Asian Tour.

Remember that post I did a couple weeks back about LIV putting up $300mil to bail out the Asian Tour so it could stay afloat? That deal still exists, folks. Granted, the International Series they're creating on the Asian Tour is only ten events... but it's a massive start. Check out this quote from the article I linked in that post:

“It comes as a surprise to many of us in this room, but it's basically part of our strategy to make the Asian Tour more of a global tour,” [Asian Tour commissioner Cho Minn] Thant said. “We have members from all over the world, 25 different nationalities playing on the Asian Tour. It's not just for Asians. It's not just in Asia, and we will be playing in other destinations … but dates and locations to be confirmed because we are still in the midst of a COVID pandemic, where travel is difficult in Asia.”

It's easy to forget that some current PGA Tour players used the Asian Tour as a stepping stone to the PGA Tour. With their $300mil investment LIV bought into a tour with a pre-existing clientele and fans that already has events in several countries. You might say that instead of building everything from scratch, they bought a starter kit.

I think it's fair to say they're much farther along now than they were a few months ago... and they may be hoping that this move will create problems for the existing tours that can only be served by playing ball with them. Just think about it for a moment -- how will the PGA and DP World Tours deal with Asian Tour players who were already playing the Asian Tour (before this deal was struck) with the intention of coming west? That issue alone could become a real thorn in the big tours' sides.

And that's only the most obvious issue.

Look, I'm NOT saying that the PGA and DP World Tours should reach a compromise with LIV -- far from it! But the LIV/Asian Tour deal means this brewing war is far from over. LIV now has a foothold in the world of golf... and there's no telling what future challenges it may present to the existing power structure.

As I said two weeks ago, the Asian Tour deal just made things VERY interesting.

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