LIV Golf’s move for Henrik Stenson is a show of force from the new golf tour.
Making a bid to bring in the new captain of the European Ryder Cup team is a power play, pure and simple.
What I don’t know is whether Stenson instigated it or whether they have thrown so much money at him that they have turned his head.
Regardless, taking the captain of a Ryder Cup team is a tactic aimed at creating maximum disruption and nothing else.
There has been so much talk about LIV Golf wanting to grow the game but I’ve not seen any of that yet.
What I am seeing is an organisation with wealth on an unprecedented scale in our game flexing its financial muscle at every turn – and I don’t like it.
It is divisive and doing nothing to show the game of golf in a good light.
Clock is ticking if a new captain is needed
The fallout continues to gather momentum with each passing week and I cannot help but feel the timing of all of this is deliberate.
Again, the word disruption comes to mind.
This is all happening at the worst possible time with the now ex-captain due to sit down with the board and Ryder Cup panel to decide the best way to select his team for next year’s match.
Paul McGinley changed the selection process from how Jose Maria Olazabal had it and captains have individual preferences in terms of the number of picks they want and whether to prioritise the world rankings or the Race to Dubai standings.
I’m sure Henrik would have had his own selection process in mind too but with the qualifying period due to start soon everything is now up in the air after his captaincy was terminated today.
Time is of the essence now. A new captain is going to be needed and that process needs to happen quickly to give him time to choose his backroom staff.
Bjorn is the clear favourite
Henrik was given a great honour but has chosen to forsake it for a new venture elsewhere.
For Europe the show must go on – and with a new captain at the helm.
The obvious candidate is Thomas Bjorn.
He’s the vice-captain and a former captain who has led the team to victory in the past.
To use a football theme, no man is bigger than the club and that’s how we have to approach this if we’re making a change.
Take the emotion out of the decision, look at what course of action is required and pursue it rapidly with a clear timescale.
150th Open was one of the best ever
The second target of LIV is the newly-crowned Open champion Cameron Smith.
But it should not detract from one of the best spectacles of recent memory at St Andrews.
The 150th Open will live long in the memory for drama, entertainment, nostalgia and importance.
I watched it all unfold and it was incredible.
The R&A put together an outstanding tournament, they truly did an unbelievable job in terms of the course and the experience.
I loved the four-hole Champions Challenge to start the week and it was great seeing one of our own in Paul Lawrie hit the first ball of the tournament.
There was an emotional moment for Mark Calcavecchia too. The former champion was given an exemption after injury prevented him from competing last year while the 2020 edition was cancelled.
He was clearly emotional at playing the tournament for the last time.
On top of that there was not a dry eye in the house when Tiger Woods took his walk down the 18th for possibly the final time in the Open
Smith was sensational at St Andrews
As for the new champion, whatever the future holds for Smith it does not change the fact the golf he played was sensational.
Think about it what happened from Rory McIlroy’s point of view.
He was four shots clear, hit every green, had two birdies and no bogeys – and still lost.
That’s due to how phenomenal Smith was and in hindsight we should have seen it coming.
Forget Sunday’s dramatic final round for a moment and just look at what he did in the second round on Friday.
He put together the best putting stats since records began by holing an incredible 255 feet of putts on Friday.
Think about what that actually means for a second – Smith averaged 14ft putts on every hole of his second round. It is ridiculous.
To then follow that by going round the Home of Golf on the final day of the Open with an eight-under-par 64 is the stuff of fairytales.
He was fantastic.
LIV set to swoop for new Open champion
Whatever the future holds for him, his victory is one which people will talk about for years to come.
With three spots for LIV Golf’s next event still to be announced it seems inevitable he is going to take one of them.
With other names such as Bubba Watson, Marc Leishman, Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Scott also being linked with a move it will be sad to lose these guys.
But life goes on.
Hoylake is close to being sold-out already for next year and that shows what the Open means to people.
It’s tradition and reputation will not be affected by any of the off-field politics taking place.