A massive yellow-and-pink golfball looms over a crowd of people as Alexander Albon swings.


Full Swing and Formula 1: Drive to Survive stars team up on the first ever live sports event — complete with golf cart races and an appearance from the infamous Squid Game doll.

Opening photograph by David Becker
15 November 20235 min read

Las Vegas has turned from Sin City to Sports City this week as the worlds of motor racing and golf see two big events take over the streets and greens. This coming weekend is the highly anticipated Las Vegas Grand Prix, a milestone moment for Formula 1 in the United States as the excitement around the sport has risen alongside the popularity of Formula 1: Drive to Survive’s first five seasons. But before it’s “lights out and away we go” at the Grand Prix, we first had the chance to see F1 stars take to the green. 

Four F1 drivers paired up with four PGA golfers in The Netflix Cup, the first live sports event on Netflix. Those competing in the tournament were not only professional athletes, but veteran Netflix stars. The success of Drive to Survive led to more sporting leagues seeking out the docuseries treatment, including the PGA with the first season of Full Swing launching earlier this year. Both series not only gave fans a chance to learn more about the intricacies of the sports, but also about the athletes as they shared a glimpse of their life with the cameras. 

The scramble format of the cup, which means the driver-golfer pairings were able to select the best shot between the two of them, meant that the PGA pros were pushing their teams forward on the nine-hole course, though were occasionally out-swung by their Formula 1 counterparts. The four teams of two split into two groups, with Carlos Sainz Jr. and Justin Thomas facing off against Lando Norris and Rickie Fowler, while Pierre Gasly and Tony Finau went head-to-head with Alex Albon and Max Homa. When Sainz/Thomas and Gasly/Finau won their groups, it left them to a showdown on the final ninth hole to see who would be going home with the coveted Netflix Cup. 

There were surprises along the way, including a golf cart race and a game of Red Light, Green Light featuring the larger-than-life Squid Game doll. Queue tagged along to the event with LPGA pro golfer Lily Muni He, whose boyfriend Alex Albon was taking a break from his fast-paced job as a Formula 1 driver to step onto her turf. Before cheering on Albon from the ropes, Muni He took some time to explain a few golf terms and rules for all of the F1 fans tuning in. 

By the time victors Sainz and Thomas took the top step of the podium, dawning their fresh checkered jackets and hoisting the trophy high, the sun was down and the Vegas strip was lit up, closing off an energetic day on the greens enjoyed by the golfers and drivers alike. “Formula 1 drivers seem to really like golf. I think it’s because it’s the complete opposite of their sport. It’s very slow-paced but very, very relaxing. You’re spending all day out on the golf course and in nature by yourself or with your friends and that’s often very relaxing and therapeutic. And it’s easy on the joints, very safe.” We can only hope the crossovers continue between these opposites-attract sporting leagues.