'That’s What LIV Should Be' - But Can LIV Golf Replicate Adelaide Success Every Time?

LIV Golf got what they were looking for in Adelaide, but how can they replicate that event on a weekly basis going forward?

Cameron Smith at LIV Golf Adelaide
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With a record crowd and the party atmosphere Greg Norman had always hoped for, LIV Golf Adelaide was a big success for the new golfing tour and was exactly the event organisers had hoped for, but now the big question is whether they can build on that momentum.

While some golf purists may have been turned off by the walk-on songs being pumped out while players took their swings and then it raining beer on the par-three party hole in Adelaide, it seems the event was exactly what Norman had dreamed of.

A LIV record of 77,076 fans attended the event, which had a lot of similarities with the Waste Management Phoenix Open on the PGA Tour – with a stadium hole par three and live music events after the golf both staples at TPC Scottsdale for years now.

And the numbers made good reading for organisers - with fans from 37 different countries buying tickets, 116,978 beers sold on site and 23,390 pieces of LIV merchandise sold.

Even the usually level-headed Cameron Smith, the Australian home hero of the event, got carried away by the atmosphere, saying: “I would go as far as to say this is the best event I’ve ever played.”

Quite a statement for someone who won not only the Players Championship but also the small matter of the 150th Open Championship on the Old Course at St Andrews.

Away from the hyperbole, he more sensibly added: “I think I’m probably biased a little bit being from Australia, but this is what LIV Golf is about.”

The Australian crowd, thirsty for top-level golf, showed out in force and both Smith and Marc Leishman called for two LIV events in Australia next year.

Six-time Major winner Phil Mickelson was unsurprisingly in buoyant mood after sampling the best atmosphere yet for the LIV Golf League.

“[LIV Adelaide] is really an example of what is possible, and a new opportunity to present golf in a different way and have a different energy and a different feel,” said Mickelson.

“What LIV Golf has provided is a great alternative for the traditional ways of golf, and the people here in Australia have embraced it, and so you see a whole different energy.”

While you can argue whether the energy is that different from events such as Phoenix, a bigger question is just what LIV Golf will do now going forward to try and replicate their success Down Under.

“That’s what LIV should be, in its heart and its DNA,” said Bryson DeChambeau. “I think that’s what it can be every single week, and will be when people start understanding what the real deal is here.”

DeChambeau, though, will be in for quite a shock with only a fraction of the Adelaide crowd expected at Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore this week – with a far different atmosphere to the rowdy one in Australia.

And the season-ending Team Championship that took place in Miami last year, and was the best attended event before Adelaide, has been switched to Saudi Arabia so will have a very, very different feel to it (and definitely no beer-swilling party hole).

So not every week will be a party week like Australia, but Mickelson says that other countries have seen the show put on in South Australia and are now lining up to host a LIV Golf event.

“Now a lot of other countries are wanting us to go there, so it was a big step in Adelaide in showcasing what it can be, what LIV Golf can be,” Mickelson added.

“There’s no stopping LIV Golf now. It’s on a vertical trajectory, and it’s pretty exciting to be a part of it.”

Cameron Tringale also feels LIV Golf is on the path to huge growth pretty quickly, with the party atmosphere attracting a new, younger crowd.

“I think it’s going to continue to grow and grow exponentially, just the attractiveness of what the product is, sort of creating that festival type atmosphere,” said Tringale.

“That’s what people want. I think the next generation is looking more for a good time, and to be entertained, just as much as they are for quality golf, and you get both of them with LIV.”

Whether LIV can recreate the Australian experience more often is a question, but whether golfing fans will be attracted by more and more of these type of events is the big one.

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.