Masters and Monstars
Masters 2023: Harold Varner III comparing LIV Golf to the ‘Space Jam’ Monstars is probably not the world’s greatest PR move
This week at Augusta National, LIV Golf and PGA Tour pros will compete against each other for the first time since the Open Championship in July. It’s been a long, frosty winter between the two sides, but now the Azaleas are blooming, the birds are chirping. It’s time for renewal, rebirth, a fresh start. All that crap.
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Overall this is a good thing, both competitively—with the likes of Dustin Johnson, Cam Smith and Phil Mickelson finally set to duke it out against a real field—and personally, with many players reuniting with old pals for the first time in a long time. The talking points remain, however, as LIV Golf pro Harold Varner III learned on Tuesday when asked about the added pressure the LIV players face this week. Here’s the excerpt from his press conference:
Q: Do you put more pressure on yourself this week, do you think?
HAROLD VARNER III: Yeah, I want to play well. Everyone thinks we suck now, so I want to play great.
Q: Why do people think you suck?
HAROLD VARNER III: I don't know. You all write it and I just read it. I don't pay attention.
Q: Did I ever write that?
HAROLD VARNER III: I don't know who wrote it. They have Twitter and social media. They just write.
I want to play well. It's not like Space Jam where they took our talents away, so I'm super excited. I want to play well. That's why you play.
Q: Why do you read it?
HAROLD VARNER III: It's always on my Twitter. They used to write nice stuff, but now it's just chaos. But I work well in chaos, so I'll be good.
OK, so there’s a lot to unpack here. The instant contradiction between “You all write and I just read it. I don’t pay attention,” certainly jumps off the page, but it’s the ‘Space Jam’ reference that really caught our eye.
As we all know, the Monstars were an evil coalition of aliens who swooped down to earth, robbing various NBA players (Charles Barkley, Muggsy Bogues, et. al) of their talents before challenging Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes to a basketball tournament where, if they won, they would get to enslave Jordan at a deep-space amusement park for the rest of time. Pretty irredeemable stuff, and Varner drawing the comparison—even if he’s saying the LIVstars stopped just short of hoovering up Scottie Scheffler's talent—doesn’t paint the already-embattled league in the best light.
That said, as you’ll undoubtedly also remember, at the end of ‘Space Jam,’ the Monstars players turn on their evil GM—a Jerry Krause-parody voiced by the one and only Danny DeVito—and unite with their Looney Tunes counterparts in sweet hardcourt harmony. So perhaps a truce is coming sooner than we think … but if we were Greg Norman, we’d watch our back.