It might be the hottest topic in world sport: what’s going to happen to the PGA Tour as LIV Golf gains momentum? The opening event of Greg Norman’s rival golf league went off pretty smoothly in England and the second event is being held this week in Portland, Oregon. Everyone is interested to see how LIV’s first event in the United States goes, especially with the series of debuts of new star recruits like Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, and Bryson DeChambeau. With rumours of even more players going across to LIV in the coming weeks, things could get interesting and not just for the players.
A new league at the elite level of pro golf also presents some interesting decisions for trainers and phyios …There’s certainly some appeal for trainers to work on the LIV Golf series with players.
Firstly, if the players are looking at significant increases in prizemoney and guaranteed money from contracts, then trainers may also be in for a payrise. It’s a lot of money the players are competing for when the purse for each tournament is $US25 million ($4 million for the individual winner), with $5 million of that given out to the top-three teams in the teams component.
Secondly, from what I’ve heard, the travel and accommodation will be covered by LIV so trainers are obviously more incentivised to join. Because the first series of LIV only has eight tournaments, and the players are competing for more money than the PGA Tour, the trainers are facing fewer weeks on the road but without a reduction in their pay. In addition to that, because the tournaments are 54 holes on the LIV series, therefor one day less than a regular 72-hole tournament, trainers won’t have to spend as much time at each event – allowing them to have more time at home with their families. Some trainers may even be able to leave the LIV events earlier than planned if the athlete is feeling good and doesn’t have any injuries to rehab due to the more flexible arrangements in LIV travel and a reduced playing schedule. Less wear and tear on the rig. Typically at most professional golf tournaments, the trainers and players arrive on a Monday for two practice rounds, a pro-am on Wednesdays and then four days of competition before we leave on Sunday.
A trainer I know went to the LIV event outside London and said it was an incredibly well-run tournament. The consideration given to not just players, but families, caddies and trainers was apparently top-notch. I’m told the trainers were treated just like players and stayed in the same hotel, had shuttle services available to them, had plenty of space available to set-up treatment areas and massage tables and were provided with food that was great and readily available. I'm not saying that's not the case on the PGA Tour, but it seems to be elevated on the LIV tour.
There will be some challenges for trainers, though. The main obstacle comes from the shotgun start format of LIV golf events. A shotgun start is where players in a golf tournament all tee off at the same time, but from different holes. For so long, trainers have prepared around their athletes finishing mostly at staggered times. But now, with all golfers finishing at the same time, all of a sudden trainers are dealing with golfers wanting treatment at similar times. Trainers have been able get around this by having golfers put on some compression boots while they wait for their trainer to finish with another golfer, or they can go through a post-round recovery or activation session to kill the time. On the LIV tour, trainers will hae to be more prepared and better with time management once the day’s play finishes.
Before the round will be much more complicated. Trainers may have to take golfers through their warm-ups earlier than they would at PGA Tour events. So, if a golfer’s warm up is usually 90 minutes or 2 hours before their tee time, they might start from 2.5 half hours before the tee time. Having said that, a shotgun start means the tee time for the field will be later in the day and trainers will have more of the morning to go through warm-ups with their athletes. It’s nothing that can’t be done, but it will just have to be more organised than on the PGA Tour.
Cheers, Nic Catterall
About Nic Catterall/Peak Power Golf
Nic Catterall is an Australian high-performance coach, specializing in strength and conditioning, musculoskeletal therapy and sports science, for professional golfers on the PGA Tour in the U.S.A. Nic works with Cam Smith, Luke List, Matt Jones, Dylan Frittelli and Hank Lebioda. Nic created the Peak Power Golf company to educate about the athleticism of golfers and what they are capable of. Peak Power Golf provides online training, athlete mentoring and athlete assessments.