Off The Fringe Masters Notes


A Week After the Masters
The smart money was on Scottie Scheffler to win the Masters despite some commentators saying the non-PGA Tour players now making their money on the LIV Golf circuit would take the Green Jacket. For the record, LIV Golf players were not anything but at the best mediocre. Eight of the 13 made the cut and here are their scores and where they finished behind Scheffler’s -11.

Bryson DeChambeau (T6 -2); Cameron Smith (T6 -2); Tyrrell Hatton (T9 E); Patrick Reed (T12 +1); Joaquin Niemann (T22 +4); Phil Mickelson (T43 +8); Brooks Koepka (T45 +9); Jon Rahm (T45 +9). The following did not make the cut: Adrian Meronk, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel, and Bubba Watson.

I don’t believe as a friend told me, LIV players struggle because their events are only 54-holes. It seems if you get paid no matter how well you score added to the weaker LIV fields on courses not up to the standard of PGAT venues makes the “tournaments” more of an exhibition or even a “hit and giggle.” Jumping from that on to a stage where everyone had to earn their spot most likely is uncomfortable and even Greg Norman’s bombast can’t alter that.

The LIV 2024 season has only 12 events (two more may yet be scheduled), five of which were before the Masters contrasting with the PGAT’s 15 pre-Masters tournaments. No one who has ever competed seriously in this maddening game can believe a light schedule against less accomplished fields makes sense for honing the competitive fires.

In other words, “You got to play to earn your pay.”

Those who took the LIV/PIF money such as Mickelson, Koepka, Rahm and Johnson have most likely ended their careers in the Big Show settling for what amounts to semi-retirement. It’s sad to see onetime top players become irrelevant.

Masters TV Ratings
The results are in and TV ratings for the Masters are a mixed bag. Thursday averaged 3.17 million viewers and Friday 3.68 million, both on ESPN and both up substantially. Saturday on CBS averaged 6.60 million viewers for a 3.7 rating which was triple 2023 when the third round was rained out.

The critical day from the standpoint of Augusta National, the PGAT and advertisers is Sunday and this year it was a disappointment. The average rating was 5.2 with 9.59 million watching, down 5% and 20% respectively from last year. For the weekend the average was 8.21 million almost 800K less than last year and 7% less than Scheffler’s first Masters win in 2022.

LIV Golf event viewership is essentially nonexistent while that streaming numbers are both problematic and inconsistent the call for the PGAT making peace with LIV/PIF for the sake of the fans, players, sponsors and advertisers can now be considered a scream.

Short Putts
That Scottie Scheffler is playing in top form is a fact. The highest score for his 38 rounds in ten tournaments this season is the wind-blown 72 on Friday at the Masters followed by two 71s and six 70s, all the rest are below 70. He’s 4 ½ to 1 to take the PGA Championship in May the same as his early week Masters odds. His scoring at Hilton Head through three rounds is 69-65-63 and he’s in the lead by one.

Augusta National Trivia: Members wearing green jackets started in 1937. It was a way to identify them to tournament attendees as those they could ask for directions.

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