I Watched Cam Smith Play LIV Golf In Boston – Here’s What It Was Like…
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
— Updated on 22 February 2023

I Watched Cam Smith Play LIV Golf In Boston – Here’s What It Was Like…

— Updated on 22 February 2023
Billy Booker
Billy Booker

I went to LIV Golf a few days ago and it was enjoyable. Not great, but good enough to go again, and certainly good enough to convince me the Saudi-backed rebel league has a future. Greg Norman, the Australian golfing great and LIV chief executive, arrived via parachute on the first fairway to thunderous applause and chants. Proper rockstar stuff.

It was last Friday I decided to make the hour-long Uber trip from Boston to The International Golf Club, which demands a six-figure sum for foundations memberships. While there were protestors and a large police presence to be seen on the way in, the event itself had no troublemakers whatsoever. In the shuttle bus from the car park to the course, the American next to me noted that it was, “the most pathetic protest he’d ever seen.” His southern drawl stopped me from asking what the best protest he’d ever seen was, fearing he may mention the January 6th riots.

Once I paid for my $80 ticket, emptied my water bottle at security (can someone explain why a full water bottle is somehow a security concern?), and walked inside, there was an immediate buzz around the prestigious golf club, which I was told went bankrupt four years ago. I’d gone to check out LIV because I wanted to see what the fuss is about but also watch Aussie Cam Smith up close. I’d be shocked if that man ever gets his heart rate about 70. He’s the coolest fucking cucumber on earth and plays like it.

RELATED: Cameron Smith Given The Green Light To Defend His British Open Title

I’ve had a few days to digest the experience – this is what worked and what didn’t work on my LIV Golf viewing debut.

The Hits

The shotgun start is brilliant. In case you don’t know, that’s when all groups begin at the same time on different holes. Phil Mickelson started on the 17th, Smith and Dustin Johnson on the 1st. And so on. The shotgun start allows fans to see the same amount of golf in half the time.

The format is more equitable for the players because they all get the same conditions. As expected, LIV has more of a day party vibe than your average PGA event, but it struck the right balance – it’s not a circus-like Happy Gilmore. There was a stage with music and various putting and chipping games, but the golf remains serious. (You’d hope so with the last placed player still collecting $120,000 for competing and the winner pocketing $3 million).

Some protestors outside the golf club. It didn’t detract from the day at all.

Norman’s arrival via parachute was completely absurd. But also awesome. It suited the boldness and brashness of the venture, which he’s driven against much pushback. He landed about 100 metres away from the tee box as Smith was getting ready to tee off and strode up confidently to greet the players, shaking their hands and hugging them as if they were his long-lost sons. As I waited for their tee shots, Johnson (who ended up winning the tournament) brushed past me. That was cool. As was seeing Paulina Gretzky and getting a photo with her. Sporting royalty!

There was a decent crowd but it wasn’t too hard to watch every single one of Smith’s shots for the day, which I did, including his eagle on the 8th. Having been to The Open and The Presidents Cup, I can safely say the viewing experience is far better in LIV. The crowds were well dispersed. Several times I was less than five metres away from Smith when he was playing a shot. Although they are completely different characters, I love him in the same way I love Nick Kyrgios. Two Aussies at the top of their game, on the world stage, and doing it their way.

(Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The other aspect of LIV Golf I enjoyed was the music around the course. On most holes, you could hear it, and the players seemed fine with it. It added to the party atmosphere. The crowd was expected to be quiet when players hit their shots, but the music continued in the background. It’s cool. Smith couldn’t have cared less who was talking or moving around him, whereas Johnson (Or Deej as the crowd was chanting) had an entourage of people telling boisterous fans to shut up.

Lastly, LIV Golf has got its social and digital strategy bang on. Their content is fantastic. Check it out.

RELATED: Phil Mickelson Roasts PGA Tour For “Magically” Finding Money To Keep Up With LIV Golf


After lining up for food for 20 minutes, I got to the front of the queue and was promptly told they had run out. It was 1PM. Disaster. So I had popcorn for lunch with a Red Bull as they were also temporarily out of water. Maybe they underestimated the crowd? Either way, it was not ideal and I didn’t need to look far to spot some rather unhappy, portly Americans!

The team names are also a bit of a wank and won’t work. LIV must decide how they can market team golf in a less gimmicky fashion. For example, the Australian team was called “Punch GC.” Lee Westwood played for Majesticks GC, while Niblicks GC, Cleeks GC, and Stinger GC were just some of the other weird names. I’m not sure what the solution is, but these team names ain’t it. The manufactured team component doesn’t really do it for me. Ryder Cup is more tribal. This, at least for now, is so heavily forced. It detracts from the product.

Getting there and getting home was also a complete nightmare, though I suspect this is a theme across all US sports and not limited to LIV Golf. The only way to get there from Boston was via car. A train would have taken seven hours according to Google. I ended up hitching a ride back to the hotel with some US College students but the lack of available transportation was a potential disaster. Major sporting tournaments should be easily accessible.

I hope eventually there is a ‘LIV Window’ for lack of a better phrase, similar to cricket’s IPL window. Have four to six weeks every year of 54-hole tournaments in different locations for ludicrous cash. The PGA Tour is so stubborn, though eventually, they will have to concede defeat somewhat if all their best players aside from Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are defecting. Anyone who criticises a person for accepting a nine-figure sum to play golf isn’t living in the real world.

Overall, LIV was an enjoyable experience. Different enough from regular PGA golf to be interesting but not too wacky so it felt like a new sport altogether (Like The Hundred in England or AFLX in Australia was). The players take it seriously, the crowd was enthusiastic, vocal, and by the end of the day, fairly intoxicated, but in a good way. I made friends with a Dad of a player and watching him pace around the course was a window into the life of an anxious parent. The event was set up in the right way with fan activations, lots of (expensive) merchandise, and easy-to-read maps around the course. If only they didn’t run out of food.

LIV Golf will only grow and I’m glad I’ve tried it out. It’s a tick from me.

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Billy Booker


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