LIV Series has disrupted the otherwise tranquil world of professional golf


But I’m not talking about all that stuff. I’m talking about the organization of golf, the way professional golf has evolved both here and abroad.

I, for one, never gave it a second thought. The PGA just was. It was just Old Man River, rolling along. The players presented themselves to us, and we watched them play, annually starting in Hawaii and moving ever eastward as they followed the sun.

We had the majors and, every other year, the Ryder Cup. In time there would be the Presidents Cup and the Players, but they didn’t really disturb the natural order of things. The FedEx business ruffled some feathers, but we got through it. The PGA calendar just was what it was. After all, it was the only professional golf show in town.

I came of age in my golf fandom when the two biggest names were Sam Snead, who was winning everything but the biggest one of all, and Ben Hogan, who won nine majors but who still has people asking, “How did Ben Hogan lose the 1955 US Open playoff to Jack Fleck?”

There was “Terrible Tommy” Bolt, who famously threw clubs; Billy Casper, who supposedly feasted on buffalo meat; Dr. Cary Middlecoff, who abandoned a dental practice at age 26 to win 39 times on tour; and long-hitting George Bayer, who once moaned that he was cursed by his lengthy drives because “then I have to baby a wedge up there.” Boo-hoo, right?

The players were identified by their local club affiliations. Snead was out of White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. And one name that has always stuck in my mind is Jack Burke Jr., who played out of Kiamesha Lake, N.Y.

It was a different world. The US Open concluded with 36 holes on Saturday, with an 18-hole playoff on Sunday, if needed. The PGA was a match-play tournament. Across the pond, there was no sense in showing up to the British Open because Australian Peter Thomson was going to win (he won it five times between 1954 and 1965, including a still-standing record of three straight in 1954-56).

Anyway, the PGA Tour was where…