The PGA Tour may have lost Jon Rahm to LIV Golf, but the rival tour still cannot be taken seriously.
Early Thursday morning, Bubba Watson’s RangeGoats traded Talor Gooch to Brooks Koepka’s Smash GC team. In return, Koepka sent Matthew Wolff back.
This exchange would seem to make sense to a casual golf fan.
Wolff and Koepka didn’t get along, as the 5-time major winner made that publicly known. Koepka did not want Wolff on his team anymore, and he got his wish, improving his team dramatically.
Gooch had a tremendous year for the RangeGoats and is arguably the league’s best player. He won three times this year and took home the 2023 individual title.
Meanwhile, Wolff finished 27th in the season long standings. It’s interesting that Watson was willing to give Koepka his top player without much of a return.
This trade doesn’t seem fair, right? Koepka just got one of the hottest players on tour, while Watson landed a player struggling with his game.
Of note, Watson also traded his second best performer from 2023, Harold Varner III. He was shipped to Dustin Johnson’s 4Aces for Peter Uehlein.
The PGA Tour should be cracking a smile, though, because this trade illustrates how LIV Golf’s team concept is flawed.
Trading the worst player on a team for another’s best is just another reason why it’s hard for people to take LIV seriously. Barstool Sports’ Dan Rapaport pointed that out and got called out for it.
Long-time golf writer Alan Shipnuck defended the trade. He even cited the NBA trading stars for personal reasons as a reference.
Shipnuck might want to stay in his lane though. Yes, superstars in the NBA get traded all the time, but there are almost always financial reasons behind it. NBA owners and GM’s deal with a salary cap, and if a headache player can be traded and allow flexibility in the future, sometimes it makes sense to make a deal.
James Harden was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers very recently. He was a malcontent that was not fitting in. That was one of the primary reasons for the trade. But guess what, the Sixers also saved $45 million in the deal.
That has nothing to do with this LIV trade.
It’s hard to take LIV Golf, especially the team aspect of it, seriously when it appears they don’t take it seriously themselves.
Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.