The golfing world was treated to some incredibly exciting news recently, with Netflix confirming a stacked PGA Tour line-up for its upcoming docuseries, which is set to detail the ups and downs of the PGA Tour, giving golf fans a look into the real lives of those at the elite level.
Based around the extremely successful Formula 1 hit, Drive To Survive, the docuseries will, for the first time ever, give access inside the ropes and behind the scenes of the PGA Tour, with the series capturing aspects like the intensity of training, travel, victory, and defeat through the lens of a diverse group of players and their support teams.
With a number of players already on board with the idea, as well as filming apparently having started back at the Hero World Challenge in December, the PGA Tour and governing bodies that conduct men’s Major championships – Augusta National Golf Club, the PGA of America, the USGA, and The R&A will provide entry into the sport’s biggest events, including all four of the Majors, The Players Championship and the season-ending FedEx Cup.
Which Players Will Be Starring In The PGA Tour’s Netflix Docuseries?
Check out the list of players who have committed to the docuseries below.
- Abraham Ancer
- Daniel Berger
- Cameron Champ
- Joel Dahmen
- Tony Finau
- Matthew Fitzpatrick
- Tommy Fleetwood
- Rickie Fowler
- Sergio Garcia
- Harry Higgs
- Max Homa
- Viktor Hovland
- Dustin Johnson
- Brooks Koepka
- Collin Morikawa
- Kevin Na
- Mito Pereira
- Ian Poulter
- Xander Schauffele
- Jordan Spieth
- Justin Thomas
- Bubba Watson
- Additionally, the world’s number one ranked amateur golfer, Keita Nakajima, will also participate as he plays in the first Major championships of his career.
How Did The PGA Tour’s Netflix Docuseries Develop?
A PGA Tour spokesperson revealed that, for several years, the organisation had been interested in producing an “all-access” documentary, but “had not found the right combination of production partners, players and a distribution partner, until now.”
Back in 2019, discussions were really ramped up about the possible docuseries, with the first pro to put his hand up and volunteer as a participant being none other than Rickie Fowler. After Fowler volunteered, a small group of pros quickly followed the American in agreement. These included Justin Thomas, Tony Finau and Cameron Champ.
Consequently, the Tour and Vox Media Studios began shopping the project around in 2019. It wasn’t until the summer of 2021 that Netflix officially greenlit production. Since then, producers have been eagerly courting show subjects and plotting how best to showcase untold stories of professional golf.
Will Tiger Woods Be In The New PGA Tour Netflix Docuseries?
The short answer is no, currently the 15-time Major champion is not participating in the docuseries. Woods did make his return to golf at the end of 2021, playing in the PNC Championship with his son Charlie. However, the American has regularly extinguished any possibility of a return to competitive golf, with close friend and former PGA Tour player, John Cook, stating “I don’t see (a return) happening in the next 12 months.”
The Biggest Names Missing From The PGA Tour’ Netflix Docuseries?
- Jon Rahm
- Rory McIlroy
- Bryson DeChambeau
- Phil Mickelson
- Tiger Woods
Five notable players are currently not participating in the docuseries, with DeChambeau revealing that a deal wasn’t struck that worked “very well” for him and he also doesn’t want to “take the light away” from players who are “already pretty far behind” him.
He went on to say “I think it could potentially grow the game of golf in that regard. One, there wasn’t a deal that was struck that was very well for my side of it. I love Netflix. I watch it. I have a great time with it. But just for me it wasn’t right at the present moment. I feel like people are seeing me on YouTube, Instagram, and they’re getting a pretty dang good look inside my life.
“To have more people come in and go even further, which is almost impossible, for what I’m giving out is just overall too invasive for me. I didn’t really want any more than that because I do have to have a life outside of it.
“There’s a lot of great people on there. If I was to go on there, yeah, it would be cool to see, but I feel like there’s a lot more interesting stories. You’ve got Harry Higgs, you’ve got numerous others. I don’t want to take the light away from them for their potential to grow themselves in a manner that’s unique to them, where they’re already pretty far behind. They have the opportunity to grow a lot more than I do in that regard.”
Although Rahm, McIlroy, Mickelson and Woods haven’t commented yet, it is worth noting that pros can dictate the amount of access that cameras have to their personal lives, and those not currently committed could still end up appearing in the show.
What Effect Did Drive To Survive Have On Formula 1?
For those wondering what impact the docuseries will have on the PGA Tour then it is probably best to look at the impact Drive to Survive had on Formula 1. In simple terms, the docuseries made a big, big difference to the sport in the United States, with Grand Prix rights-holder, ESPN, stating that the sport’s viewership had grown from around 547,000 people in 2018 to almost 1 million in 2021.
On race day, more than 400,000 turned up for the 2021 US Grand Prix, while the Mexican Grand Prix promoters noted a significant increase in female attendance at their event which they also traced to Netflix’s series. In 2022, a second race will take place in the US for the first time since 1984.
However, there have been some negatives. Current Formula 1 World Champion, Max Verstappen, has excluded himself from future seasons and won’t be appearing on the show anytime soon, saying “I understand that it needs to be done to boost the popularity in America. But from my side as a driver, I don’t like being part of it.
“They faked a few rivalries which don’t really exist, so I decided to not be a part of it and did not give any more interviews after that because then there is nothing you can show. I am not really a dramatic show kind of person, I just want facts and real things to happen.”
When Will The PGA Tour Netflix Docuseries Air?
Filming has apparently already got underway for the docuseries, starting at the Hero World Challenge in early December and, while both Netflix and the Tour declined to comment on an official release date, filming will continue through to the end of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, with the Tour Championship concluding at the end of August.
It is believed that, following the pattern of Drive to Survive, the show’s first episodes will likely be released in early 2023.
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