Golf is scrambled. On the field and off. From tee to green by the continuous debates on the increase of the distance and on the use of the technology (the last device allowed has been a laser to measure the distances, progress for some, heresy for others). In offices, the noise is greater. As in football, the megalomaniacal projects of large investors threaten to alter the organization and structure of sport. In golf there is not one Super League project … but two, the Premier Golf League and the Super Golf League. The first is presented as a private league with tournaments around the world, financed by European and American capital, and without a fixed amount of guaranteed money. The second doubles the bet: between $ 30 million and $ 40 million per player just for participating, Saudi money and all tournaments in or near Arabia. With that offer under their arms, the sheikhs have arrived at Kiawah Island, in South Carolina, where the second big of the season is played, to meet this past Tuesday with the agents of the main stars.
The game has begun to play. Some golfers already position themselves. Rory McIlroy says he does not want to hear about leaving the American circuit, the PGA, and the competitions it organizes. Gunboat Bryson DeChambeau doesn’t close the door until he sees the numbers. And the rectors who mount the entire circus, the PGA, threaten sanctions. For the rebels there will be no chance to play the Ryder Cup, for example, or many other tournaments. The battle seems long.
Under this noise of sabers, the second big of the year began this Thursday, the starting point of a calendar full of mountain passes. This May’s PGA will be followed by the US Open in June, the British Open in July, the Olympic Games in August and the Ryder Cup in September. There is no truce. Corey Conners, at -5, is the first PGA leader, followed by a squad of six players at -3 (Bradley, Hovland, Koepka, Wise, Horsfield and Davis), and with the Spanish seeing the lead from a distance. Jon Rahm resisted in one of those days in which he uses his suffering ability to weather the storm. The Basque signed the pair saving with him putt some trouble for not taking the streets and missing the opportunity to discount more hits in the par five. Again it was that saving version of Rahm so as not to lose his options at the first change. The recipe was not cooked well by Sergio García, who with five over par will have to row this Friday to pass the cut. In an inconsistent round, he ended up sinking in a fatal stretch between holes 13 and 16: bogey, bogey, bogey and double bogey they condemned him to have to fight now for a comeback.
And on the use of the laser … it is not clear that it has served to accelerate the game. But the opening day of the PGA did leave a surprising fact: the first penalty for slow play on the American circuit since 2013. The punishment was taken by the American John Catlin, the first golfer to be sanctioned for this reason in the PGA since the Chinese Guan Tianlang at the Augusta Masters eight years ago.