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We now interrupt our regularly scheduled programming, the PGA Tour, which is off this week after the thrilling finish at the Tour Championship.

In its place we will bring you Round 4 of the LIV Tour live from Boston. Well, live if you can find the broadcast somewhere but that’s a different story.

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This week’s event was met with the announcement that as many as seven new names are joining the LIV Tour including Cam Smith, the No. 2 ranked player in the world…at least until he is suspended by the PGA Tour and the PGA European Tour and won’t be in the rankings.

It’s getting so you can’t tell the players–and which league they are now in–without a scorecard. Here’s a hint: Check their recent bank deposits.

The bottom line is LIV is still making an impact on the quality of players joining the league. But with that comes the questions of what happens to the players who signed up early when there were just 48 players on the Tour and 12 teams of four players each?

Are they left out to dry? Are they going to be shipped out to Asian Tour events where the pay is significantly lower than the LIV riches? No matter the outcome, it’s the fans who are losing out. The PGA Tour used to bill itself as having the best golfers in the world.

Now it’s to the point of the PGA Tour has a lot of the best golfers in the world. Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it or impact. But enough about the squabbling between the two tours. Let’s focus on the LIV guys this week before the PGA Tour gears up for the 2022-2023 season.

The week to circle on your calendar is Sept. 15-18 when the Tour tees it up in the Fortinet Championship at the Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, California.

Dustin Johnson is one of many former PGA Tour players competing in LIV Golf. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Dustin Johnson has yet to win a LIV Golf tournament, but he was T-2 his last time out. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

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Odds to Win LIV Tour Boston (SuperBook)

Dustin Johnson+550
Cam Smith+650
Joaquin Niemann+800
Louie Oosthuizen+1800
Sergio Garcia+2000
Abraham Ancer+2200
Paul Casey+2200
Patrick Reed+2500
Bryson DeChambeau+2500
Brooks Koepka+2500
Harold Varner III+2500
Charles Howell+3000
Jason Kokrak+3500
Kevin Na+3500
Matthew Wolff+3500
Marc Leishman+3500
Branden Grace+3500

As always, shop around the sports betting industry for the best odds on your plays.

Who Comes in Motivated?

It’s easy to say guys like Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, and Bryson DeChambeau, and a few of the other former top PGA Tour players should be head-and-shoulders above the rest of the field. It’s not turning out that way.

In fact, the last tournament at Bedminster, New Jersey, saw Henrik Stenson come away with the victory and the $4 million top prize in his debut event for LIV.

That was the good news. The bad news is his move from the PGA Tour and European Tour cost him the chance to captain the European team in the Ryder Cup.

Whether that’s a fair deal or not, Stenson knew that was a possibility when he jumped ship and he made the move anyway. It paid off in a big way for him. Over the last three years on the PGA Tour, he’s made less than $600,000 in 36 events.

With LIV? He’s one-for-one in victories and walked away with the top prize along with a quarter of the $1.5 million his team earned for their second-place finish. That’s $4.4 million for three days of golf if you’re not keeping score at home.

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Can Stenson Repeat?

It’s a question that gets asked every week in every golf tournament: Can the previous week’s winner repeat and win back-to-back?

Most times the answer is no. And this week, with Stenson at an appealing +3500, we’re going to say no again. And it’s for the simple reason he was motivated last time to prove he made the right choice to join the new tour.

Now with a win and a bulging bank account, he may take a breath and get his footing in his new environment. And remember, there will be new faces taking aim to get their little (OK, huge) piece of the pie.

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Expert Analysis and LIV Boston Picks

To say the league isn’t getting its money’s worth out of the big names it has signed would be an understatement. Charl Schwartzel, Branden Grace and Stenson are–or at least were–solid PGA Tour players.

But they aren’t the main reason this league exists. It’s because players like Johnson, Koepka, Patrick Reed, and Phil Mickelson have all signed on the dotted line and lined up Brinks trucks to get their cash back to the U.S. and in the bank.

Johnson left the PGA Tour as the No. 15 ranked player in the world and was expected (at least by the LIV bigwigs) to make an immediate impact on the new tour. That hasn’t happened yet.

Oh, it’s not like Johnson’s just phoning it in like some players (hint: Mickelson at +20000 this week in some spots). He’s had top-10s in all three events with his best finish being a T-2 in the most recent event at Bedminster.

DJ started with a T-8 in the inaugural event and moved up to T-3 in Portland before his runnerup in Bedminster. Now we feel like it’s finally time for Johnson to get in the winner’s circle. At +650, he’s not going to make bettors a ton of money, but he’s got to start paying dividends.

And that’s going to be especially true when the new kids on the block show up and that will be this week.

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Will the New Guys Play this Week?

The answer is a resounding yes, and that might be bad news for Johnson.

Smith, the world’s No. 2 ranked golfer until he bolted for LIV, has been facing the world’s best competition and been playing solid golf.

There’s no reason Smith can’t win in his debut. We like him even though he’s only +550 and the betting favorite. At that price, he’s still going to get more than his share of backing and ours included.

With Smith joining the group of top-tier players, all of a sudden the mid-tier guys are starting to drop down the rankings with the newfound talent on the tour.

While that’s great for the LIV Tour, it divides the two tours apart that much more. The bottom line is there’s definitely enough money to support multiple golf tours. But at what cost to the fans who just want the best to play against the best?

Right now, and in the foreseeable future, that’s not going to happen on any given weekend.

About the Author
Bill Bowman

Bill Bowman

Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has more than 40 years in the sports-writing business. He's spent the past 18-plus years covering the golf scene in Vegas including 10 years as a writer/editor with VegasGolfer Magazine. He also contributes to the GolfNow Network of websites and Las Vegas Golf Insider.

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