Over 100,000 thousand fans turned LIV Golf Adelaide into a miniature Ryder Cup while hundreds of thousands more backed them up in the form of total TV viewers. LIV Golf Adelaide cemented its status this week as one of Australia’s biggest and most raucous live sporting events, after Cameron Smith’s Ripper GC team downed Louis Oosthuizen’s band of South Africans in teams playoff.

When Smith missed a 10-foot putt in regulation to secure a teams victory for Ripper, Smith and Marc Leishman were forced into a playoff against Oosthuizen’s Stinger GC. With thousands of fans already in the middle of the 18th fairway from the end of the individual tournament, Stinger faced a hostile crowd who turned on the tourists trying to deny their countrymen a win.

The crowds jeered, tongue-in-cheek, during the South Africans’ backswings and putting strokes as Dean Burmester and Oosthuizen missed par putts to win on the first extra hole. On the second trip down 18, both South Africans hit their approaches into a back greenside bunker. The crowd then applauded when Burmester left his third shot in the bunker as both visitors made bogey and handed Smith, and Leishman, as well as teammates Matt Jones and Lucas Herbert watching from behind the green, a $A4.7 million teams victory.

“The environment around 18, I don’t think I’ve ever heard golf fans scream that loud,” Herbert said.

Smith now has two teams wins on LIV, although Ripper’s Bedminster, New Jersey win last year wouldn’t compare to their first on home soil.

“This is unreal; a dream come true for us,” Smith said. “We’ve been talking about this all year. This is one we really wanted to win. I don’t even know what to say, the fans turned up all week. There was a lot of pressure, but we could not have done it without the fans. It was such a cool week.”

Added Leishman: “We had a fair bit of pressure this week and we really embraced it this year [compared to 2023 LIV Adelaide]. It was tough playing in front of home fans [with expectations] but we loved every second of it. This is the dream result.”

The chaotic scenes at The Grange were mirrored by the numbers of viewers who tuned in for the second edition of LIV Golf’s 54-hole event in Adelaide. Over the first two rounds, 1,974,000 total viewers (those reached during a five-hour broadcast) tuned into the Seven Network to watch Greg Norman’s rebel league. Figures for the final round were not available at the time of writing.

The South Australian government’s investment in drawing Norman’s LIV league to Adelaide paid off if the crowds and the energy were anything to go by. Approximately 30,000 fans attended on day one, before ticket sales increased by 35 percent for day two. Day three was projected to help LIV Adelaide accumulate 100,000 fans through the gates over three days.

In two years, LIV Adelaide has put itself in the same conversation as the on-ground attendance and atmosphere of Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Australian Open tennis and the Boxing Day Test cricket in Melbourne.

Central to the hysteria all three days was the Watering Hole, an arena-style party hole modelled on the par-3 16th at the PGA Tour’s Phoenix Open. LIV’s Watering Hole saw thousands of fans park themselves on The Grange’s par-3 12th and watch as music blared while LIV’ 54 players attempted the 150-metre tee shot each day.

For the first time in LIV’s 2.5-year timeline, the teams event truly overshadowed the individual component. Two-time major winner Jon Rahm and 2022 British Open champ Smith tried to run down American Brendan Steele but were no match for the Californian’s stellar ball-striking.

Steele took on fan favourite Smith and showed nerves made of well, steel, to defeat Oosthuizen by one shot. Not that the estimated 100,000 Australian fans (over three days) truly cared about the individual result. The atmosphere didn’t need to rely on a big name winning.

“It’ amazing [to win]; the fans treated me so well. I can’t say enough good things about the fans, the golf course and the event,” Steele said.

Steele, a former three-time PGA Tour winner, held off a furious Australian and South African charge. Herbert and Leishman were also in the mix. But Steele carded a four-under 68 at The Grange to finish at 18 under par (198), while Oosthuizen’s 65 elevated him to 17 under. Oosthuizen’s teammates on the all-South African Stinger, Dean Burmester (67) and Charl Schwartzel (64), shared third with Rahm (64), American Andy Ogletree (65) and Australian Open champion Joaquin Niemann (66) from Chile, .

Jones was the top Australian at 14 under, while Smith, Leishman and Herbert all finished a shot back at 13 under.