Brooklyn, MA – “Do you have any scoops for me?”
Joaquin Niemann smiled from the edge of the golf area.
This has become the topic of US Open week. Who knows what? The media wants inside information from the players. This is typical. But these days, gamers want inside information from the media as well. The Saudi-backed breakaway LIV Tour has swept the big names off the PGA Tour — Misters Mickelson, DeChambeau, Johnson, Reed, and more — and now there’s an obvious question: who is next?
“Everyone wants to know what’s going on, who’s going and who’s not,” Matthew Fitzpatrick said earlier in the week.
Hence the Niemann question.
But I had one of my own. what was it for him plans? For several months, Niemann’s name mixed among rumors. Sergio Garcia, who played in last week’s LIV event, has been among Niemann’s longtime golf mentors. The two also share an agent.
Niemann emphasized that he is not looking forward to making that leap.
“Nothing to tell about me. I want to do my best to beat all these guys,” he said, pointing across the training area, where the higher-ranked players scattered over the arena. “They’re still here and as long as they’re here, I’m not going anywhere. There is no chance.”
Neiman is among the youngest and most talented stars of the tour. The Chilean golfer, who won the Genesis Invitational in February, is only 23 years old and ranks 17th in the world; Nobody younger ranks higher. He’s the type of player who will impress at the LIV, which golfers have inhabited even now after their competitive heyday. But not now.
“If I was 40? Maybe it would be different,” Neiman concluded.
LIV has now hit an all-time great on Phil Mickelson. She has Ryder Cup legends in Garcia, Ian Poulter, and Lee Westwood. It has Masters champions including Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed and Charles Schwarzl. She has made a noticeable impact in the world rankings. But the next step for Greg Norman’s breakaway streak will be to shut down a major player at the height of his power. Johnson, who is ranked 16th in the world, is currently the highest-ranked seed in the ring, followed by DeChambeau (No. 29) and Kevin Na (No. 33). Rumors circulate about other big names. They hear the vortex.
“Honestly, I am very happy. You actually asked me,” Zander Shaveli said. “You are the first. no. I am not going. I want to play against the best players in the world, and they are on the PGA Tour. No one left to move the needle for me.”
Not everyone was enthusiastic about the discussion. Brooks Koepka, whose brother, Chase, was at LIV Square last week, responded to one reporter who asked him if he was considering making the jump.
“I didn’t think about it much,” he said. “I don’t understand. I’m trying to focus on the US Open, man. I’m legit I don’t understand. I’m tired of conversations. I’m tired of all this stuff. Like I said, you guys are throwing a black cloud at the US Open. I think that’s bad. I actually I feel bad for them for once because – the situation. We’re here to play, and you’re talking about a file [LIV] event that happened last week.
Colin Morikawa is angry about the same topic.
“One of my best friends texted me about this tweet from a random account saying, Hey, there’s this rumor,” he said. “It’s crazy seeing and hearing all these rumors because that’s what it is, right? I can read all of this stuff, but everyone tells their kids they don’t believe what’s out there on the internet. That’s what we do. That’s exactly what we’re doing right now.”
Morikawa’s comments were a reminder that unlike Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomasis and John Rams of the world, there is a class of tour pros who would rather not think much about other tours at all, let alone discuss their dynamics in press conferences.
“Who doesn’t like gossiping, right? But it also becomes a distraction, and you don’t want to focus on this or that.” You want to focus on playing golf. I wouldn’t blame it on any part of my golf. Put that aside. But it’s an extra distraction when thinking about this, thinking about it and worrying about who’s going to ask what.”
There is a puzzle. Those who weren’t told want it, just so they can make things right. Others, constantly answering questions, are tired of the sideshow you’ve created. Some players are hesitant about their future. Others, like Johnson, DeChambeau or Pat Perez, were ostensibly committed to the PGA Tour – until they weren’t.
One thing is for sure: the questions will not go away. This represents a seismic shift in the prestige of men’s professional golf. As a result, everyone became curious. Some PGA Tour pros are hoping no one else will leave because they are concerned about keeping their tour. Others are at the same time unsure of leaving while also reluctant to miss out on the huge, guaranteed cash being handed out. So the chatter continues.
“I’m sure it’s the same with all of you. You can’t go anywhere without anyone mentioning it,” Thomas told the media earlier in the week. This is the US Open, this is an incredible place, a place with so much history, incredible scope, so many storylines, and yet that seems to be the point of all the questions.”
Thursday morning means real shots in golf. This means simpler narration of stories about sparrows, ghost, roughage, and greens. The start of the US Open means the players – and the fans and the media – have another place to focus their attention.
Rumors will spread in the background.