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Social Mood

Fore!!! Golf's Echo with 1929

by Murray Gunn
Updated: June 16, 2022

Is it the end of an era?

Not far away from where I am writing this, in Hertfordshire, England, a revolution is taking place. 48 professional golfers are playing in the first ever LIV Golf event, part of a series taking place around the planet this year. Financed by Saudi Arabia, the LIV Golf tour has quickly become THE issue in the world of golf. It is dividing opinion and tearing the previously quaint and deferential atmosphere around the game apart. What's the furor about and why might it be significant?

Back in the mid-1990s, when social mood was trending increasingly positive, the Australian golfer, Greg Norman (aka The Great White Shark), proposed a World Golf Tour. The Professional Golfers' Assocation of America (PGA) Tour, the pre-eminent and monetarily richest tour, squashed the idea. Since then, the PGA Tour has collaborated with the European and Asian tours to hold "World Golf Series" events, making Norman one exceedingly angry shark.

Now, Norman, with the backing of Saudi Arabia, has started the LIV Golf series, enticing a number of top players with the richest prize funds in the game. The PGA Tour has suspended its players, considered employees, who have joined. Those include big names such as Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson. They join a field made up of some unknown players as well as many, like Mickelson, in the twilight of their careers.

EWI and the Socionomics Institute have written for decades about golf being a bull market game, gaining immense popularity in times when social mood is trending positively. During the roaring-1920s, golf's status grew enormously and, by late in that decade, players swinging on a previously hotch-potch of events for professional golfers in America known as "The Circuit," including Tommy "the Silver Scot" Armour, formed the first tournament committee in what became known as the PGA Tour. That year was 1929 - the very zenith of the bull market and the year of the most famous stock market crash in history as, in Elliott wave terms, Supercycle Wave (III) topped.

As Supercycle wave (V) progressed, the PGA Tour went from strength to strength. Curiously, in 1967, as television money was pouring into the game of golf, the PGA Tour faced a players' revolt, with, similar to now, threats of a breakaway tour including the likes of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. That coincided with the cresting of Cycle degree wave III of Supercycle (V).

Fast forward to 2022 and, as Supercycle wave (V) appears to be completing, the previously imperious, monopolistic PGA Tour is being seriously threatened with a new rival. Make no mistake, the PGA Tour sees this is an existential threat, which is why it is being so vehement in its defense.

Could the arrival of the LIV Golf Tour echo the founding of the PGA Tour in 1929, marking an even bigger top in social mood and an ugly bear market in stocks? Stay tuned to find out.

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