Damien Kayat previews the 2022 LIV Golf Boston event taking place at the Oaks Course at the International Golf Golf Club.
2022 LIV Golf Tour
LIV Golf Boston
The Oaks Course, The International, Boston
LIV gets the limelight this week
This could be a massive week in the history of LIV Golf. World Number Two and Open Champ Cam Smith has joined the breakaway league in what could be a powerfully symbolic move for Greg Norman’s venture.
It’s also the first time that a LIV Golf event is hosted Stateside without a corresponding PGA Tour event. Rory McIlroy- in a powerful symbol of the PGA Tour’s allure- won a fascinating duel with Scottie Scheffler in last week’s Tour Championship.
But PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has chosen to do away with the wraparound season this year. This shakeup means that LIV Golf gets the chance to monopolize the golfing conversation this weekend (sorry DP World Tour).
What they need is a marquee champion this week. SA stalwarts Charl Schwartzel and Branden Grace were hardly the most glamorous champions. Henrik Stenson was an improvement in profile but still lacks the razzmatazz that this series needs.
The Oaks Course, The International
Designed by Geoffrey Cornish and opened in 1957, the International at Boston was significantly redesigned by Robert Trent Jones. It is a par 72 that officially measures under 7000 yards. But they have the capacity to stretch this bad boy to over 8,200 yards if they want.
And the courses used thus far in LIV have certainly trended towards the monstrous. This will be a tough test regardless. It is a tree-lined beast: there are literally thousands of pine trees monitoring the action in silence.
There are also a plethora of bunkers that make this somewhat reminiscent of Trump National Bedminster. You know the deal by now. 48 players will participate without a cut and you have shotgun starts to make for better telly.
I really can’t bring myself to care about the team event (it all seems strangely entrenched in college frat mentality).
Cam Smith debuts for LIV Golf
Cam Smith will obviously enjoy a huge amount of attention this week. But there are quite a few debutants this week, with the likes Joaquin Nieman, Mark Leishman and Harold Varner III adding to the depth of the field.
It’s hard to really gauge any of these guys’ chances. They haven’t played a LIV event in five weeks. So, there’s barely any form to speak of out there (excepting the new members).
But then you have to factor in motivation. Are the top guys really reaching into their inner depths when they are already getting exorbitant singing-on fees?
I can’t answer that. But I’m sure the LIV organizers would love a DJ or Mickelson victory. Hell, I think they would settle for Reed or Sergio this week.
It will be interesting to see what kind of attention this week’s event commands. You can expect Phil to receive massive support from the Boston faithful.
LIV Golf Winners
LIV Golf London: Charl Schwartzel
LIV Golf Portland: Branden Grace
LIV Golf Bedminster: Henrik
To Win Outright:
Cameron Smith 11/2 | Dustin Johnson 6/1 | Joaquin Niemann 9/1 | Talor Gooch 16/1 | Patrick Reed 20/1
Sam Horsfield- To Win 45/1 | To Place 19/2
Englishman Sam Horsfield is just the sort of under-the-radar presence who could cause a surprise this week. He hits the ball a long way and fairly accurately, too. Deficiencies in his short game will need to be addressed. But he has actually performed really consistently in LIV thus far, finishing fifth in London, 11th in Portland and 16th Bedminster. He has finished in the top third of every LIV Golf event. He won the Soudal Open in May and also had an impressive fourth-place finish at the Dubai Desert Classic.
The Man to Beat- Dustin Johnson- To Win 6/1 | To Place 13/10
DJ has probably been the most consistent player during the entirety of the LIV Golf series. This included a T2 in the last event held in Bedminster. As I noted earlier, I think they are going to stretch this course to a decent length. This will clearly play into DJ’s strengths. He also has relatively good accuracy that can help him split these tree-lined fairways. DJ has been one of the LIV golfers who actually performed well in recent Major Championships. He was T24 at Brookline before being essentially edited out of coverage during his T6 finish at the Open. Never the deepest thinker in the men’s game, I think DJ will probably feel just as motivated this week as in any other.