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.
PRAISE FOR PHIL:
—Gene Wang, The Washington Post
“A rollicking good time . . . Who is Phil? Shipnuck presents both the good and bad and leaves it to the reader to decide where they come out in the end. . . . I suspect Phil’s fan base will find reasons anew to adore him even more while his detractors will find fresh ammo to argue that he’s one of the all-time phonies.”
—Adam Schupak, Golfweek
“Alan Shipnuck didn’t know his biography of Phil Mickelson would become the most anticipated and newsworthy release of a golf book since his 2011 collaboration with Michael Bamberger, The Swinger, a work of fiction that was a thinly disguised version of Tiger Woods. . . . The big difference is that Phil is true—difficult as it may be to believe some of the exploits, stories, and anecdotes packed into the book. . . . Shipnuck vividly tells the story of a walking, talking, shot-making contradiction.”
—Gary Smits, Florida Times-Union
“Riveting . . . When people get their hands on a book billed as a ‘rip-roaring’ account, they will be buying a rip-roaring good time celebrating and illuminating the (golf) genius Mickelson has long been. . . . The book captures the often perverse ways Mickelson always needs something to play for. Endlessly. Exhaustingly so. And the stories come almost entirely from named sources. The total package that is Shipnuck’s Phil is also combined with plenty of incredible stories of generosity, making for an entertaining read that gives golf fans a much-needed book to talk about.”
—Geoff Shackelford, The Quadrilateral
“Sports writing is often the best writing, a fact well known to those who read about sports and inconceivable to those who don’t. For a vivid reminder, look no further than this unauthorized biography. . . . Phil is well researched, bracingly written, and full of previously unreported color; Mickelson emerges as a mercurial and charismatic figure whose record-setting golf game is possibly the least interesting thing about him.”
—James Tarmy, Bloomberg Businessweek
“A robust, comprehensive, bald-faced foray into the gigantic life of a man now living in an oversized kettle of hot water. . . . Shipnuck’s nose for the truth takes the reader into some dark and disconcerting places. He provides frequent and fully anecdoted references to Mickelson’s gambling. . . . He also addresses the minefield of rumors loosely connected to Philly Mick’s personal life, unveiling stories that have circulated for more than two decades. That’s another thing about Shipnuck. He has a big pair, especially for a golf writer. And they’re both made of brass. He also has an appropriate sense of what is journalistically fair, and this book doesn’t come close to crossing the line. . . . The salacious stuff gets most of the attention, but the product in its entirety is engaging, addictive and impressive.”
—John Hawkins, Sports Illustrated
“A thoroughly readable portrait of a man who, for good and ill, shatters every stereotype of golfers as personality-deficient cyphers.”
—Bill Ott, Booklist
“For years, in all the better press tents, there’s been a debate: Is there a writer BIG enough to capture Phil? Turns out, there is. Alan on Phil! Shipnuck’s latest win is no ordinary event. It’s a major.”
—Michael Bamberger, New York Times bestselling author of Men in Green and The Second Life of Tiger Woods
“I devoured every win, wager, and ounce of Mickelson mischief in this unflinching portrayal of golf’s most complicated character. Hero? Gentleman? Jerk? Shipnuck’s masterful reporting is packed with inside information (the legal sort) that lets the reader decide. Thumbs up, indeed.”
—Tom Coyne, New York Times bestselling author of A Course Called America and A Course Called Ireland
“Alan Shipnuck has spent his whole career writing about and thinking about Phil, and that palpable fascination for his subject has fueled a superb biography. Anecdotes fly off the page, made rollicking and weighty by engaged and perceptive sources. Mickelson’s golfing genius, charisma, and foibles are tracked with a high-wire blend of irreverence and dispassion. For all of that, it’s Shipnuck’s unflinching pursuit of Phil’s complexity that will most endure.”
—Jaime Diaz, Golf Channel commentator and #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor (with Hank Haney) of The Big Miss