LIV and Let Die: The Inside Story of the War Between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf (Hardcover)
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Alan Shipnuck, the New York Times bestselling author of Phil, returns with a major new work of insider reporting on the battle for the soul of professional golf between the PGA Tour and the Saudi-funded LIV Golf League.
Over the past two years, professional golf has been at war, and Alan Shipnuck has been our most trusted correspondent on the front lines. Following closely on the heels of his bestselling sensation Phil, Shipnuck turns to the conflict that made Mickelson, and many other top golfers, villainous in the eyes of the public: LIV Golf’s controversial—and belligerent—storming of the professional golf world. (LIV’s unofficial motto, immortalized on hats gifted at a staff party: “Fuck ’Em All.”)
In LIV and Let Die, Shipnuck delivers the inside story in real time, with fly-on-the-wall reporting from the yachts where LIV was hatched and within the corridors of power as the PGA Tour flailed to fend off the threat. Shipnuck has traveled seamlessly between both tours—having countless conversations with players, caddies, CEOs, agents, financiers, lawyers, flaks, fans, and Instagramming wives—to deliver a no-holds-barred account of the most chaotic moment in golf history. Anyone who has a stake in professional golf lined up for an interview with Shipnuck—because they knew everyone else was talking to him, too. The disruption to an old, proud sport was largely conducted in the shadows, but LIV and Let Die delivers numerous revelations about what really happened, and why.
Shipnuck’s unparalleled access and award-winning reporting chops provide rich portraits of the brand names at the center of this sprawling tableau: Greg Norman, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Jay Monahan, His Excellency Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Donald Trump, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Dustin (and Paulina!) Johnson, Pat (and Ashley!) Perez, Patrick (and Justine!) Reed, Bryson DeChambeau, Jimmy Dunne, and many more.
Bankrolled by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, LIV Golf has upended the men’s professional game with vast riches—blatant “sportswashing,” from the mouth of Mickelson himself. Says Brandel Chamblee, “I think the LIV players are in a morally indefensible position, with a willful blindness to the consequences of their action, making them complicit to the ongoing atrocities.” Rory McIlroy said of playing a tournament alongside LIV golfers, “It’s going to be hard for me to stomach.” But the battle to thwart LIV revealed a deeper struggle within the game. “The Seminole guys, the Augusta National guys, they’re used to having all the power in the golf world,” says LIV’s Peter Uihlein. “They don’t like to be challenged. They’re not used to it.”
The bitter feuding (and trolling) between the PGA loyalists and the LIV camp made the battle between the tours deeply personal—but for the top leaders of the two tours it was strictly business, and in a series of secret meetings they reshaped the future of the sport. LIV and Let Die provides the previously unknown background and crucial context to understand the armistice between the tours that shocked the world in June 2023.
Long known as the most fearless writer on the golf beat, Shipnuck has delivered another hotly anticipated book packed with juicy nuggets and in-the-room-where-it-happened action...think Bob Woodward moonlighting on the sports desk. LIV and Let Die is the definitive account of the biggest (non-Tiger) golf story this century and a lively page-turner that in places reads like a spy thriller.
About the Author
Alan Shipnuck is the author of nine books, including the New York Times bestseller Phil and the national bestsellers Bud, Sweat & Tees and The Swinger (with Michael Bamberger). Shipnuck has received thirteen first-place awards from the Golf Writers Association of America, breaking the record of Dan Jenkins, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. After a quarter-century at Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine, Shipnuck is now a partner and executive editor at the golf media company the Fire Pit Collective, where all his writing, podcasts, and video storytelling can be found. Shipnuck lives in Carmel, California.
“A terrific read . . . Shipnuck takes you inside the rooms where decisions were made. . . . His reporting is exhaustive, his attention to detail fresh and unfrivolous, but what makes this publication so appealing is its pace. It sticks and moves like a young Cassius Clay, covering the angles without getting ponderous or cumbersome.”
—John Hawkins, Sports Illustrated
“It’s a terrific history, and even if you think you know everything about the LIV Golf melodrama—indeed, even if you've been immersed in it far too long—you’ll learn something. . . . I flew through it in one long train ride. . . . The book is gossipy as hell, and the gossip is fun, and it’s absolutely going to be one of those texts that people use to rail against as the Fall of Journalism while they secretly consume it in greedy chunks. Shipnuck, for all his storytelling ability—hell, as part of his storytelling ability—knows how to dish out the sugar. . . . The writing is classic Shipnuck—quippy, sometimes funny and always most concerned with pushing the story forward. The pace is brisk; he will never bore you.”
—Shane Ryan, Golf Digest
“Sensational . . . Shipnuck has artfully and entertainingly pieced together the story of LIV’s emergence. . . . The fresh reporting in LIV and Let Die is infused with Shipnuck interpretations to make for a fantastic read. Don’t be fooled by some of the early narratives as a purely salacious read. The book could easily become the basis for a sports business class and a textbook on how not to handle a disruptive threat.”
—Geoff Shackelford, The Quadrilateral
“There are good writers who can’t report and terrific reporters who can’t write, but Alan Shipnuck is a master of both the art and science of sports journalism. A workhorse who doubles as a wordsmith in a medium compromised by so many factors in recent years, Shipnuck’s ninth book, LIV and Let Die, is a comprehensive chronicle of the most scurrilous conflict in golf history—a slugfest full of blood, sweat and fears since it invaded public consciousness in the spring of 2022.”
“Alan Shipnuck’s latest book, LIV and Let Die, may be his best book yet—which is saying something. . . . This book, which provides a history lesson on the last fifty-plus years of the professional game, will be enjoyed by casual and non-golf fans alike but there’s so much new reporting and colorful, fresh anecdotes for even the most ardent golf fan and industry lifers. . . . A page-turner.”
“It’s one thing getting into limited-access places most can’t, being party to sensitive conversations most aren’t, and having the ear of influential people most don’t, but setting the knowledge earned to paper in a coherent and absorbing way is quite another. Shipnuck manages to do it all brilliantly here. . . . This is one book every golfer should read. Revealing and readable, it is also important and likely to be listed among the very best golf books of the decade, if not the last generation.”
“Over 30 years, Shipnuck, first at Sports Illustrated and now at his own independent website, has become the top chronicler of professional golf. The genteel golf landscape has long bristled at his fearless, detailed reporting and irreverent tone. But his pre-eminence ultimately convinces the sport’s big and little figures to engage with him, if reluctantly. . . . LIV and Let Die pierces the game’s carefully curated image of decorum, exposing its greed, cynicism, and hypocrisy.”
“It’s a compelling read, littered with so much profanity that it sometimes reads more like a screenplay for a Quentin Tarantino movie than a book about a traditionally genteel sport.”
—Don Riddell, CNN Sport
“Shipnuck cuts to the intrigue of an acrimonious story that still twists and turns with snake-like flexibility. . . . You can be sure that the leading figures on all sides will be keen to see what is in his book.” —The Times (UK)
PRAISE FOR PHIL:
—Gene Wang, The Washington Post