Golf: LIV “is killing the spirit of golf”


GolfLIV ‘is killing the spirit of golf’

Yves Mittaz, the boss of the Omega European Masters of Crans-Montana, went there with a real diatribe against the Saudi billionaire project which is shaking the establishment of the little white ball.

Yves Mittaz during his tournament in 2019.

imago images / Frederic Dubuis

Next week will take place the traditional Omega European Masters, on the Valais Haut-Plateau. Inevitably, in a pre-tournament press conference, its organizer was launched on the subject of LIV Golf – a pro golf circuit, financed by the “Public Investment Fund”, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia -, which a totally deregulated small white ball market. Suffice to say that it was not necessary to launch very hard the director Yves Mittaz, who put the points on the i once and for all.

“I believe that, in golf today, we prefer to have the organization of a real world circuit, began the organizer of the event which will be held from August 25 to 28 in Valais. It would be good for the discipline to have a real legible structure, like the a in tennis or in other sports. Today, there is a lot of money at stake. Our position on LIV is very clear: we simply consider that, as in all professions in the world, there must be a relationship between the work which is done and the money that is earned. »

“With the LIV golf, we embarked on a project that is completely crazy. Who is arrogant.

Yves Mittaz

And he continued, without mincing his words: “Today, with the LIV golf, we started a project that is completely delusional. who is arrogant. Where, finally, we pay tens or hundreds of millions of francs to players (note: we are talking about an offer of more than half a billion which would have been refused by Tiger Woods…), to play two or three days of golf. With an escalation for exhibition tournaments which, sportingly, have no value. For us, in agreement with our title sponsor, we have not made any contact with the golfers who are part of this circuit.

A participation of choice

Despite the “threat” of the LIV, the plateau on the Haut-Plateau often promises to be high-flying. During their press conference given ten days before the start of hostilities, the organizers formalized the participation of Miguel Angel Jimenez (Esp), winner in Valais in 2010 and of 13 PGA tournaments, twins Rasmus and Nicolai Hoigaard (Dan ), respectively defending champion and winner of the Ras al Khaimah Championship in February 2022, Danny Willett (Eng), Sebastian Söderberg (Su), who won at Crans in 2019, or even Ryan Fox (NZ), Adrian Meronk (Pol), Sean Crocker (USA), Richie Ramsay (Eco), Kalle Samooja (Fin), Victor Perez (Fra), Adri Arnaux (Esp), Ewen Ferguson (Eco) and Ashun Wu (Chi), whose names make wriggle the ears of specialists.

On the Swiss side, three are among the ten invited professionals. They are Benjamin Rusch, Joel Girrbach and Mathias Eggenberger. It will be necessary to add to this list the winner of a qualifying eSport tournament. Players from all over the world were able to play from home on a simulator and the top three will meet next Tuesday to get a jump seat in the tournament. The winner starts Thursday morning. Six amateurs will also be there, including Geneva’s Maximilien Sturdza.

“We will talk about them as little as possible, assured Mittaz. We’re talking about it for a few minutes during this press conference, but we won’t talk about it anymore. It deserves absolutely no discussion, this project is so arrogant and detestable for the sport. I don’t think you can just walk in and buy a sport like these people do. There is a history, a structure and amounts which are already enormously paid each year…”

In Crans, this year, two million dollars will land in the pockets of the players, including 340,000 for the winner alone. “Unfortunately, players, for some of the friends, will not come to Valais this year. Because we absolutely do not support the project. And I think that’s killing the spirit of golf. Golf is respect, it’s class, it’s kindness. Today, we realize that there is a lot of aggressiveness, arrogance and contempt and I think we cannot accept such things. Period.”

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