On November 14, the first-ever Netflix Cup took place. A totally new concept for professional golf, the event brought together PGA and F1 drivers in teams of two that vied for checkered jackets and the Netflix Cup.
The event marks the first crossover between golf and Formula 1 racing and also made history as the first sporting event to ever be streamed live on Netflix. If you missed the tournament, don't worry. In this piece, we'll take a closer look at its format, reveal the winners and take a look at some of the highlights.
Who Competed at the Netflix Cup?
Four teams consisting of one PGA player and one F1 driver took to the course at the Wynn Golf Club at Wynn Las Vegas. The teams were:
- Lando Norris (McLaren Racing) and Rickie Fowler
- Carlos Sainz (Scuderia Ferrari) and Justin Thomas
- Alex Albon (Williams Racing) and Max Homa
- Pierre Gasly (BWT Alpine F1 Team) and Tony Finau
Finau was added at the last minute when Colin Morikawa had to drop out of the event due to an injury. All the professional golfers who participated in the event were featured on the Netflix series Full Swing. At the same time, all four of the F1 drivers appeared on the Netflix show Formula 1: Drive to Survive.
A Closer Look at the Netflix Cup Format
As previously mentioned, the Netflix Cup had a very unique format. The event was broken up into two matches. Norris and Fowler played against Sainz and Thomas in the first match, and Albon and Homa faced off against Gasly and Finau in the second.
Each hole began with a scramble where all four competing players hit the ball from the tee. Then, teams decided which of their balls to play from. Each player then made their next shot and decided again, repeating the process until all four players had finished the hole.
At the end of the hole, the team with the fewest combined shots was declared the winner. Once the players reached the eighth hole, the team with the most hole wins became the winner of the match.
The winner of the event was then decided by a closest-to-the-pin competition between the winners of Match 1 and Match 2.
Who Won the Netflix Cup?
Thomas and Sainz were the winners of Match 1, and Finau and Gasly won Match 2. Thomas took home the victory for the duo by hitting the ball just five yards from the hole. Finau's ball finished 20 yards away.
Netflix Cup Highlights
Here's a rundown on some key moments at each of the event's eight holes.
Hole 1- 4
Match 1 got off to a chaotic start with Norris being disqualified for picking up his ball. Sainz ultimately sunk the putt and won the hole for his team. During Match 2, Finau hit the ball in on his second stroke, securing the win.
During Match 1, both teams scored eagles, resulting in a tie that kept Sainz and Thomas ahead. Albon and Homa won the second hole putting Match 3 neck and neck.
At the start of hole 3, players participated in a driving mini game sponsored by American Express. The winning team was promised a mulligan that they could use during the event. Thomas and Finau were the winners in Match 1 and 2, respectively.
After coming up on long on their approach shots, Sainz and Thomas opted to cash in their AmEx Long Drive Challenge mulligan right away. The move resulted in another tie, keeping the pair one hole ahead in Match 1.
During Match 2, both teams finished on par, maintaining the tie.
On the course's most difficult hole, Sainz and Thomas halved par, increasing their lead by one hole. Finau and Gasly used the mulligan from the Long Drive Challenge, managing to once again tie their opponents and keep the score even.
Hole 5 - 8
In honor of the Squid Game: The Challenge game show that recently debuted on Netflix, Hole 5 featured a mini hole in one competition. If a player managed to land an ace, Netflix promised to donate 4.56 million to charity. Players also had to follow the lights shining from a giant doll positioned on the course as they played.
Ultimately, no one managed that hole in one, but as no one violated the red-light, green-light rule, Netflix donated $456,000 to the Las Vegas Grand Prix Foundation, which feeds the hungry.
Thomas and Sainz maintained their two-hole lead at the end of the round, while Finau pulled his team ahead during Match 2.
After Hole 6, Sainz and Thomas remained two-up over their opponents and had secured their spot in the final playoffs. Homa and Albon returned the score to a tie from winning the hole after their opponents' drives went a little off course.
At hole 7, Finau and Grassley had a chance to win the hole and the tournament itself, but the greens proved difficult and Finau ended up short on the green.
Match 2 came down to the final hole. Finau got the play off to an impressive start with a soaring drive that put him just 370 yards away from the pin. Homa and Albon couldn't recover and ultimately conceded.
What's Next for Professional Golf?
The Netflix Cup was a first-of-its-kind event with a unique format and an interesting crossover. With Netflix maintaining its relationship with both the PGA and F1 and pledging to continue investing in live streamed sporting events, it's safe to say the tournament won't be the last.
The LIV Golf and PGA merger and the launch of TGL Golf promise exciting new chapters for professional golf. As we look ahead to 2024, keep an eye on our blog on golf tournaments, lifestyle, and more for the latest updates about the beautiful game!