PGA Tour’s ‘nanny’ approach being exposed as a liability by Saudi event

The term ‘nanny state’ is widely credited to Iain Macleod, a member of the British parliament who felt the government was unduly overprotective and shielded people from the consequences of their own actions. Macleod died in 1970, so he didn’t live to see his notional concept perfected by a succession of executives in faraway Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

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Thursday a good day for golf, but a lousy one for Greg Norman.

Too often lately golf has seemed less a sport than a business, with every precinct of the professional game consumed by news, gossip, threats and intrigue about rival leagues and red lines. Thursday at Southern Hills promised a welcome return to the good ol’ days, when the game’s reference dictionary entries for ‘B’ included birdies and bogeys, but not bonesaws: a major championship, a sublime venue, a blockbuster group, a wealth of storylines—in short, golf as it used to be. That promise was delivered upon, and even the brief intrusion of the aforementioned corporate chicanery was positive.

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Finally, a reason to root for the Saudis — they’ll take Sergio Garcia!

Somewhere deep in the bowels of the budget for LIV Golf, well below the lucrative prize funds and exorbitant gratuities to overlook the gratuitous, closer to the paltry media buys to induce velvety coverage, there should be a line item for diaper-changing facilities to be used by the increasingly infirm or dependably infantile who will occupy its locker rooms.

Take Sergio Garcia (“please,” quoth Henny Youngman). Garcia is not entirely a one-dimensional dipstick. He can on occasion be amiable and funny, but even at 42 he is proof that age and maturity are mutually exclusive. In Thursday’s first round of the Wells Fargo Championship, he demonstrated anew his tendency to process every inconvenience as an injustice.

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Three majors will be cheapened in this season of Saudi sportswashing.

In their more reflective moments, it must rankle the triumvirate of Messrs. Waugh, Whan and Slumbers that the most compelling drama in golf over the coming months is likely to occur outside the ropes of their respective major championships. The 58 days between Tuesday at Southern Hills and Thursday at St. Andrews will be contentious and do much to shape the sport’s future landscape, and will leave many industry executives yearning for the halcyon days of Shells Wonderful World of Golf, when the influence of oil money in the game was considerably less toxic.

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As Greg Norman’s clown show rolls on, his Saudi bosses can’t be laughing

It’s performance review season in corporate America, when employees are either congratulated on jobs well done or held to account for shortcomings. If Greg Norman were disposed toward self-reflection (stay with me), he might feel relief that his Saudi-backed outfit isn’t held to such conventional standards on performance, or for that matter on commercial viability, ROI or morality.

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Greg Norman’s Saudi schedule may force shameless pros from the shadows

The true scale of a huckster’s toxicity is never apparent in the cost to his reputation—by definition, he has little to defend—but rather in how easily he imperils the honor of anyone who associates with him. After two years of speculation and rumor-mongering, the day is near when we’ll finally learn who among the world’s best golfers is willing to sacrifice his standing on Greg Norman’s amoral altar.

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