Crazy scenes at party hole, video, Cameron Smith, golf news

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The inaugural LIV Golf Adelaide event kicked off in the South Australian capital on Friday, but all eyes were on the 12th hole at The Grange Golf Club.

Dubbed the Watering Hole, or the ‘party hole’, the par-three is surrounded by bars and live DJs, pumping music for the rowdy spectators.

Each player selected a walkout song to be played as they step onto the tee — American legend Phil Mickelson picked Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’.

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“Having an amphitheatre type crowd around a hole has always been pretty special,” American star Brooks Koepka said ahead of the event.

“I just love it. I love when the fans get a little rowdy. They’re screaming, they’re booing when you when you hit a bad shot, and cheering you on when you hit a good one. It’s going to make that hole exciting. I think it should bring a different atmosphere, which will be cool.

“It’ll be most fans we’ve had so far, so it’s exciting.”

Australian musician Fisher was filmed doing a shoey on the course as compatriot Cameron Smith teed off.

The Crowd reacts with Phil Mickelson as he just missies a birdie on the 12th hole. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Kelly BarnesSource: News Corp Australia
Members of the Crowd party at the 12th hole at the LIV Golf tournament. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Kelly BarnesSource: News Corp Australia

For many golf pundits, the ongoing boasts from LIV boss Greg Norman that his fledgling tour “isn‘t going anywhere” appear, on the surface at least, to be based as much on hope and the patience of his billion-dollar benefactor as anything.

But confirmation that more than half of the 48-man roster, including Australian star Cameron Smith, are on long term contracts, some up to five years, and backroom negotiations around the latest ”bid book” being prepared for a plethora of would-be event hosts is evidence of a certainty among officials which the rest of the golf world should be prepared for.

The fervour for the Adelaide version of the event was undeniable as hordes flocked to The Grange, lining the first fairway from tee to green when Smith teed up for the shotgun start on Friday in scenes Australian golf has rarely enjoyed.

Cameron Smith walks down the 18th fairway. Picture: Mark BrakeSource: Getty Images

The LIV scenes in Adelaide caught the attention of fans and commentators.

South Australia is locked in to host a LIV event for at least the next four years, and could even be the opening event in 2024 with a fluid schedule trying to find room for another tournament in the region, be it in Queensland, New Zealand, or somewhere in Asia.

It won’t be in Victoria, however, as there have been zero negotiations with any golfing or government officials in a state currently aligned with the USA PGA Tour, and two instalments of the Presidents Cup locked in on their sporting calendar.

Cameron Smith tees off on the first hole in Adelaide. NCA NewsWire / Kelly BarnesSource: News Corp Australia

Behind closed doors at The Grange, LIV officials were positively beaming at what they saw outside and feeding off the feeling of the AFL’s Gather Round in Adelaide the previous week, the April date could yet remain a lock for a two-week annual party.

But regardless of when it will happen, it will happen because LIV is all about forward planning and dismissing, almost with a wave of the hand, continued negativity around their Saudi-backed circuit which with stern faces they regard as nothing but a production of false narratives being peddled for selfish reasons.

They would say that, and it stands to reason each organisation would push their own cause, given the massive amount of commercial dollars at stake and while LIV is seeking its share for credibility and ongoing profitability, it’s also less immediately necessary given the Saudi Public Investment Fund seems bottomless.

But the tap can be turned off and while LIV officials are still on the hunt for more top-end talent, having spoken to “everyone”, and the offer of long-term deals with sign-on bonuses, although unlikely to be in the nine-figure range offered to the likes of Smith, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, are still forthcoming.

But the need for competitive credibility will ensure that LIV won’t be invitation only, with relegation locked in for the bottom four finishers on the rankings this season, and potential movement for those ranked 25-44 as well.

Although those on long-term deals won’t be going anywhere.

Greg Norman meets fans in Adelaide. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Kelly BarnesSource: News Corp Australia

Officials know LIV can’t be a “closed shop” and as one said, it needs to be “hard to get on the tour” given they will be playing for $400 million a year.

There’s a concession the likes of Sihwan Kim, who has come last in all three events this season and had a 10 on the par five seventh hole on Friday as he again sat last, can’t be the sort of player vying for such big money.

But that’s part of the ongoing evolution Norman has spoken about feverishly, and with every event like Adelaide, the more his hopes seem an achievable reality, albeit with a few holes around a product only just over 12 months old, to be more than just painted over.

“We believe in where we’re going … and we’re going to be unwavering in that commitment. We’re going to stay on course on that,” Norman said in Adelaide.

“I‘ve been asked this question a lot about my legacy, and I truly believe that my legacy from 20 years ago to my legacy today is two totally different things. My legacy of what I’m doing with LIV will be my legacy because it’s the right thing to do.”

— NCA Newswire

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