Netflix’s first live-produced sporting event, a crossover between Formula 1 and the PGA Tour, has gone from the top of the podium to the back of the pack.
The so-called ‘Netflix Cup’ golf tournament started with protesters on the first tee and a gimmicky opening hole – setting the tone for what fans saw as a future disaster.
Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz, Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly were all paired with Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Max Homa and a late addition in Tony Finau.
Finau replaced an injured Colin Morikawa – who appeared on the broadcast despite his back injury.
Often the entire event seemed less focused on golf and more on the upcoming seasons of Netflix, Full Swing and Drive to Survive. The result was a ‘golf event’ that was clearly not entirely golf-focused.
Golfers and Formula 1 drivers competed in the Las Vegas desert ahead of the Grand Prix
But fans of both sports were troubled by the broadcast riddled with numerous problems
These things were noticed by fans of both sports, who regularly expressed their disapproval of the event.
These were just some of the select messages and Twitter posts left by Netflix Cup viewers:
‘The #netflixcup is the biggest shitshow I’ve ever seen… people talking over each other, not showing the whole piece (including the LAST WINNING HOLE), cringe-worthy interviews and awkward comments. Big fail.’
‘the person responsible for opening the microphones is definitely a Ferrari strategist #netflixcup.’
‘#NetflixCup promoted as a golf event with PGA golfers and F1 drivers and almost half of it is just not golf and not with those guys.’
“Did they like not to script anything or implement anything before they broadcast it live? This is so cringe #NetflixCup.”
‘I love F1 and I love golf, but damn, this #netflixcup is in shambles. They should have just played this like a normal battle. Probably should have put a little more money into production (audio is wild). I try to be LIV golf, but I just don’t do it very well.’
“Vegas beats Miami in cringe and the weekend hasn’t even started yet #netflixcup.”
Fans of both sports watching the event were in an uproar over the broadcast
Instead of playing a full match play event, event organizers decided to use complicated ‘challenge holes’. Hole No. 1 was a ‘race hole’ where the teams playing against each other had to finish the fastest.
Almost immediately, confusion arose. The first group of teams – Norris/Fowler and Sainz/Thomas – required a PGA rules official to intervene to determine a winner after Norris moved his ball, believing that team rules were involved. The announcers were confused, the players were confused, the crowd was confused.
Other ‘challenge’ holes included a long drive challenge, where the winner would receive a mulligan.
But perhaps the most controversial was the so-called ‘Squid Game’ hole. On this hole, players had to time their tee shots to avoid being watched by the red/green light puppet from the popular show – otherwise you had to play your partner’s shot.
Players eventually managed to time things quite well, but it bogged down the game’s pace and made the whole gimmick essentially useless.
Everyone involved laughed about things. “That was a shame,” Fowler joked about the Squid Games gap. On the long-drive hole, Homa commented that the Finau/Gasly team would ‘win all BS matches’ to which his playing partner Albon agreed.
Confusion ensued from the start at this ‘race’ hole, with all four golfers trying to finish first
The “Squid Game” hole was just one example of the event’s reliance on gimmicks over golf
This image was the only proof that Carlos Sainz and Justin Thomas had won their race
People at home heard that partly because of the poor sound quality, with multiple microphones on at the same time and the players essentially speaking over each other.
The decision to routinely focus on things other than golf (you know, during the golf event) was equally frustrating.
Instead of showing the final gap that the Sainz/Thomas team won over Norris/Fowler, the crew decided to show an ‘Unforgettable moment presented by Nespresso’ in which Albon compared the Squid Games doll to his girlfriend.
The only indication the crowd had that everything had ended was a graphic announcement that Sainz/Thomas had won the race.