Wheaton’s Streelman not a fan, but Mickelson says it’s here to stay

todaySeptember 17, 2022

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The primary time PGA Tour professional and Wheaton native Kevin Streelman entered Wealthy Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, he was in utter awe.

There to play in an Illinois Junior Golf Affiliation occasion, Streelman soaked within the environment at one of many Chicago space’s most prestigious personal golf equipment.

The course was magnificent. The on-site automobile museum was — and nonetheless is — a jaw-dropping stunner. And Jerry Wealthy, the proprietor, president and designer of Wealthy Harvest, couldn’t have been nicer.

“It was a big day,” Streelman mentioned.

This week, nevertheless, is an particularly irritating one for Streelman as a result of Wealthy Harvest is internet hosting the controversial LIV Tour’s fifth-ever occasion.

“Truthfully I used to be slightly disillusioned to see it come to Chicago — a metropolis that I am from and take nice satisfaction in,” the 43-year-old Streelman mentioned Wednesday in a telephone interview. “I used to be slightly stunned that Jerry would need that at his golf course.”

Wealthy Harvest’s 7,425-yard format held up pretty properly throughout Friday’s first spherical, though Dustin Johnson tore it to shreds by firing a first-round 63 to take a 3-stroke lead over Cameron Smith.



Mickelson, one of many faces of LIV and in the midst of the controversy, overcame a triple bogey on the par-3 fifth gap and rebounded to shoot a 2-under 70.

Streelman has a number of issues with a tour funded by Saudi Arabia, which has a poor popularity in the case of girls’s rights, funding terrorists and torturing detainees.

“Individuals have points with the political aspect of issues, which is comprehensible — particularly folks with connections to 9/11 and losses of relations and associates,” Streelman mentioned. “Individuals have points with what it is executed to skilled golf generally. It is an assault on the PGA Tour and international competitors generally. It is (additionally) a social situation of what our world is coming to with reference to greed and the place cash comes from … simply that making probably the most cash is all that issues.

“I assume I personally have slightly little bit of a difficulty in all regards.”

Forty-eight gamers are part of the LIV Tour, with many being recruited due to huge signing bonuses (Mickelson was reportedly paid $200 million, Johnson $125 million, and Smith $100 million) and others coming for the huge purses that pay $4 million to the winner and $120,000 to final place.



Among the larger names embrace Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka, Paul Casey, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Louis Oosthuizen. 9 LIV Tour members (together with Smith at No. 2) are ranked within the High 50 within the World Golf Rating.

Streelman hates that “there’s been a wedge drawn in skilled golf” and can be disillusioned with LIV Tour’s lawsuit towards the PGA Tour. The go well with argues that LIV Tour members ought to have the ability to play on both circuit.

Mickelson’s resolution is that each one events ought to unite.

“The PGA Tour for the final 20 or 30 years (has had) all one of the best gamers on the planet,” Mickelson mentioned. “That may by no means be the case once more. LIV Golf is right here to remain, and such a divisive discuss is doing no person good. One of the best resolution is for us to return collectively.

“The world {of professional} golf has a necessity for the … historical past of the sport (and) product that the PGA Tour supplies. And LIV supplies a very cool, up to date really feel that is attracting a youthful crowd — and that is being confirmed in … the age of the folks which are watching.

“Each are wanted … and the inclusion of LIV golf within the ecosystem of the golf world is important. As quickly as that occurs and all of us begin working collectively, it is gonna be a very constructive factor for everybody.”

Turnout for Day 1 was strong, with estimates starting from 6,000-9,000 followers. In some methods what they noticed mirrored a PGA Tour occasion as:

• Keen children had autograph requests met by Johnson, Paul Casey, Henrik Stenson and others.

• Mickelson, on his method to the third tee field, handed a ball to a mother who was holding her waving toddler daughter.

• One goof simply needed to yell, “GET IN THE HOLE!” as Johnson ripped his drive to start the event on the 402-yard first gap.

The eccentricities embrace the aforementioned shotgun begin, raucous rock music blaring via the stands, and marshals holding up indicators that learn “Zip it” as a substitute of “Quiet, please.”

Oh, and let’s not overlook the 4 former Navy SEALs who parachuted onto the 18th inexperienced to kick issues off.

“I am having fun with the chance to compete towards these guys and do it in a way more enjoyable and fan-friendly setting,” Mickelson mentioned. “The vitality’s totally different.”

So what’s going to occur within the coming years? Streelman says it should finally come right down to the followers.

“The Tour’s been an integral a part of my life for the final 16 years as a member, however actually the 20 years earlier than that was a dream of getting there as properly,” Streelman mentioned. “So it’s one thing that is very close to and pricey to my coronary heart, and one thing I am very pleased with that I used to be capable of accomplish. …

“I actually suppose ultimately it may come right down to the product. Some followers will get pleasure from LIV, and a few followers are going to wish to stick to the PGA Tour.

“I do know the place my allegiance is and all the time can be.”


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