It's now been a year since Netflix confirmed a stacked PGA Tour line-up for its upcoming docuseries, Full Swing, which will detail the ups and downs of the PGA Tour, giving golf fans a look into the real lives of those at the elite level.
Created by the people behind extremely successful Formula 1 hit, Drive To Survive, the docuseries will, for the first time ever, give access inside the ropes and behind the scenes of the PGA Tour, with the series giving viewers a sample of the intensity of training, travel, victory and defeat through the lens of a diverse group of players and their support teams.
Of course, there's also the small matter of the series being filmed during arguably the most controversial year the sport has ever seen, thanks to the emergence of PGA Tour rival, LIV Golf, which began in June last year. Filming apparently started some time before then, though, at the Hero World Challenge in December 2021.
Overall, with access to the PGA Tour and governing bodies that conduct men’s Majors - Augusta National Golf Club, the PGA of America, the USGA, and The R&A, viewers will get a unique chance to go behind the scenes of the sport’s biggest events, including all four of the Majors, The Players Championship and the season-ending FedEx Cup.
If that sounds appealing, a trailer has now dropped that whets the appetite even more, with some of the world's highest-profile players showcased, and even one of the defectors from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf, Ian Poulter saying: "You picked a hell of a year to follow the PGA Tour." There's even a surprise cameo from Rory McIlroy, who wasn't originally announced as appearing, which adds to the intrigue of one of the most eagerly anticipated series of the year.
Which Players Will Be Starring In The PGA Tour's Netflix Docuseries?
- Abraham Ancer
- Daniel Berger
- Cameron Champ
- Joel Dahmen
- Tony Finau
- Matthew Fitzpatrick
- Tommy Fleetwood
- Rickie Fowler
- Sergio Garcia
- Harry Higgs
- Dustin Johnson
- Brooks Koepka
- Max Homa
- Viktor Hovland
- Rory McIlroy
- Collin Morikawa
- Kevin Na
- Keita Nakajima
- Joaquin Niemann
- Mito Pereira
- Ian Poulter
- Scottie Scheffler
- Xander Schauffele
- Jordan Spieth
- Sahith Theegala
- Justin Thomas
- Bubba Watson
Full Swing PGA Tour Netflix Documentary Trailer
“You picked a hell of a year to start following the PGA Tour.” Spieth, Thomas, Scheffler, Koepka, Morikawa, Poulter, Dahmen, Fitzpatrick, Johnson, Finau, Theegala, Pereira, Niemann, and McIlroy.Full Swing premieres February 15. pic.twitter.com/jyxCb1SgmkJanuary 11, 2023
How Did The PGA Tour's Netflix Docuseries Develop?
A PGA Tour spokesperson revealed that, for several years, the organisation had been interested in producing an “all-access” documentary, but “had not found the right combination of production partners, players and a distribution partner, until now.”
Back in 2019, discussions ramped up in earnest about the possible docuseries, with the first pro to put his hand up and volunteer as a participant being none other than Rickie Fowler. After Fowler volunteered, a small group of pros quickly followed the American in agreement. These included Justin Thomas, Tony Finau and Cameron Champ.
Consequently, the Tour and Vox Media Studios began shopping the project around in 2019. It wasn’t until the summer of 2021 that Netflix officially gave the green light for production.
Following a spell where producers eagerly courted show subjects and plotted how best to showcase untold stories of professional golf, the series is almost ready to air. According to a GQ article (opens in new tab) featuring interviews with producers Chad Mumm and Paul Martin, they were tasked with making eight episodes for the first series.
Will Tiger Woods Be In The New PGA Tour Netflix Docuseries?
The short answer is no, as far as we know, the 15-time Major champion is not participating in the docuseries. Woods had a big part to play in the PGA Tour's battle with LIV Golf last year, and made his long-awaited competitive comeback after injury, but it appears he has decided against appearing.
Biggest Names Missing From The PGA Tour' Netflix Docuseries
- Jon Rahm
- Bryson DeChambeau
- Phil Mickelson
- Tiger Woods
Four notable players are thought to have opted against participating in the docuseries, with DeChambeau revealing that a deal wasn't struck that worked "very well" for him and he also doesn't want to "take the light away" from players who are "already pretty far behind" him.
He went on to say "I think it could potentially grow the game of golf in that regard. One, there wasn't a deal that was struck that was very well for my side of it. I love Netflix. I watch it. I have a great time with it. But just for me it wasn't right at the present moment. I feel like people are seeing me on YouTube, Instagram, and they're getting a pretty danggood look inside my life.
"To have more people come in and go even further, which is almost impossible, for what I'm giving out is just overall too invasive for me. I didn't really want any more than that because I do have to have a life outside of it.
"There's a lot of great people on there. If I was to go on there, yeah, it would be cool to see, but I feel like there's a lot more interesting stories. You've got Harry Higgs, you've got numerous others. I don't want to take the light away from them for their potential to grow themselves in a manner that's unique to them, where they're already pretty farbehind. They have the opportunity to grow a lot more than I do in that regard."
Although Rahm, Mickelson and Woods haven't commented, it is worth noting that pros can dictate the amount of access that cameras have to their personal lives, so there is still a chance that - like McIlroy - a surprise or two could still appear in the series.
What Effect Did Drive To Survive Have On Formula 1?
For those wondering what impact the docuseries will have on the PGA Tour then it is probably best to look at the impact Drive to Survive had on Formula 1. In simple terms, the docuseries made a big, big difference to the sport in the United States, with Grand Prix rights-holder, ESPN, stating that the sport's viewership had grown from around 547,000 people in 2018 to almost 1 million in 2021.
On race day, more than 400,000 turned up for the 2021 US Grand Prix, while the Mexican Grand Prix promoters noted a significant increase in female attendance at their event which they also traced to Netflix's series. In 2022, a second race took place in the US for the first time since 1984.
However, there have been some negatives. Current Formula 1 World Champion, Max Verstappen, has excluded himself from future seasons and won't be appearing on the show anytime soon, saying "I understand that it needs to be done to boost the popularity in America. But from my side as a driver, I don't like being part of it.
"They faked a few rivalries which don't really exist, so I decided to not be a part of it and did not give any more interviews after that because then there is nothing you can show. I am not really a dramatic show kind of person, I just want facts and real things to happen."
When Will The PGA Tour Netflix Documentary Full Swing Air?
After months of speculation following filming that began in 2021 and continued until after the Tour Championship at the end of August 2022 we finally have a confirmed date for the streaming of the docuseries - 15 February.
And what about beyond that? While there is no confirmation of whether the series will be renewed for a second season, according to GQ (opens in new tab), producer Mumm is enthusiastic about the possibility of taking a behind-the-scenes look at the Ryder Cup.
That, of course, is for the future. For now, all that's left to do is sit back, wait and clear all engagements on 15 February to enjoy one of the most anticipated series of 2023.
Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.
Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?
Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°
Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°
Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW
Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°
Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
- Mike HallFreelance Staff Writer
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