A chat with Forme’s Seiji Liu
April 27, 2021
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
There was a time when Seiji Liu was playing a lot of golf. Today, he sneaks in a game when he can, his day job occupying much of his time as he often travels between Los Angeles, New York and Taipei. Liu is Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Forme, a science-driven, wellness-technology company dedicated to optimizing human posture and recovery to build a foundation for lifelong holistic living. Liu has been spending a lot of time in Taipei this year to be with family during the pandemic. The Harvard graduate, who also played golf for the Crimson, sat down recently to discuss his family’s company’s sponsorship of the Forme Tour, announced last week as an eight-tournament Tour in the U.S., for PGA TOUR Canada members The Tour is providing players a place to play after the pandemic canceled their 2020 season and border issues made it prohibitive to play in Canada this year.
How do you view technology in golf as it relates to the Forme Tour players?
The developments in golf have been incredible, with technology, training and physical and mental conditioning. The new crop of players coming out every year represent the best of the next generation of golf. Golf talent is as strong as it’s ever been, and it requires a tremendous amount of discipline, drive, sacrifice, hard work and wellness in the mind and body to put themselves in a position to succeed.
There is always a lot of data and input with regard to various forms of technology in golf, and I believe technology is an important complement to the game to understanding how to build up strengths, identify weaknesses and improve across all aspects.
What do you see in the PGA TOUR’s International Tours members, these up-and-coming players, that is attractive to your company?
As an American business with a global focus, Forme is proud to support and provide a platform for talented golfers from the PGA TOUR’s International Tours in general and PGA TOUR Canada members specifically. The Forme Tour has a membership that is more than 80 percent U.S.-based players and represent some of the best homegrown talent. We’re excited to further these players’ careers in professional golf here in the U.S.
How do you see Forme and its products helping these players?
We have noticed many players do not necessarily have the access or the resources for better recovery from injury or injury-prevention tools. With Forme, we have helped many stay injury-free by improving their body-alignment foundation to better attain their goals. Their success on and off the course is mutually beneficial, as well. Forme helps with both as it constantly works to improve posture, alignment, recovery and other important material-health benefits—both on and off the golf course.
Don’t you know a lot of current PGA TOUR, Korn Ferry Tour and International Tours players from your junior-playing days in Los Angeles?
I grew up playing and training in junior golf, high school and college with some of the current professional golfers, so I have seen firsthand the challenges and opportunities they deal with. It’s been really fun to root for them and see them live out their dreams.
Regarding this new relationship, what is your objective for the Forme Tour promoting your company and Forme assisting players furthering their careers?
It is all about education and awareness. It is yet to be seen on the financial side, but we are certain that we will be able to help more people learn about the health benefits of wearing Forme products through the PGA TOUR’s exposure and platform. Self-care and wellness have never been more relevant. Awareness and education are more important to us at this stage, helping the community at large improve its health and recovery.
What is Forme’s long-term plans as it relates to golf sponsorship?
We don’t have any structural golf sponsorship at this point beyond what we’re doing with the Forme Tour. We welcome future Forme sponsorship if it meets the criteria of our mission. Over time, our products are well-positioned to support a wide variety of important golfing events, players, and institutions due to the universal benefits Forme provides to the full spectrum of the growing golfing world.
What are some of the biggest mistakes workers—regardless of the job—make when it comes to their fitness and posture?
Habitual poor posture due to common lifestyle habits, work environments and adoption of digital technology has led to poor body alignment and weaker muscles. Fitness alone is not a sustainable or natural solution to help cure neck or spinal pain given the environmental cues. The U.S. spends more than $100 billion annually on managing neck and back pain, and we know these figures will keep increasing given the reliance on digital technology. This is where Forme comes in and is scientifically proven to help correct these systemic problems—as a natural and sustainable solution to cure neck and back issues—by keeping it effortless and training people’s bodies for the long term. No other wearable product line does what Forme does. We want to be the foundation for people’s best life, the best form of you.
Forme has a very unique product and philosophy. How do you see this sponsorship helping those who play the sport?
At Forme, we feel strongly our wearables products can help golfers regardless of their status. Most pro golfers have obviously played more rounds than everyday people and with more frequency. Thus, having a well-trained posture and better recovery such as keeping the muscles relaxed at sleep and for travel are important to keep them playing at the highest levels without injury. Forme provides a constant sustainable source of relief to help prolong the careers and health span of professional golfers.
As you stated, you’re not just about helping professional golfers. Where do amateurs fit into Forme’s strategy and emphasis?
Amateur golfers have a less-demanding golf schedule, but they also need proper body alignment and posture to avoid injuries. They have the added burden of working everyday jobs, which can add a tremendous amount of strain on their bodies, particularly from a work environment standpoint. There is well-published data that golfers often have back or neck injuries, and our company was built to help everyday people avoid this and keep both professional and amateurs playing and with fewer injuries on and off the course.
What is Forme’s stance on safety considering we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, with players coming to the U.S. from various countries to play on the Tour?
We intend to be consistent with the TOUR’s best practices, which means we endorse following all the CDC protocols and up-to-date COVID-19-testing requirements the TOUR has instated throughout the season to keep everyone safe.
Tell us about your current involvement with junior golf.
I am a board member of the American Junior Golf Association, with the goal to strategize and raise money for the Achieving Competitive Excellence Grant that provides financial aid to junior golfers trying to earn golf scholarships. We’ve granted almost $5 million in aid to families since inception that has yielded over $15 million in college golf scholarships from ACE Grant recipients. We seek to provide playing opportunities, grants to talented, underprivileged golfers and development experiences to grow the next generation of golfers into leaders as they enter college and beyond.
You’re a golf family, correct? What is the Lius’ history with the game of golf?
Yes, we have a deep connection with the sport! Prior to being entrenched in the investing and healthcare business world, my dad, Stephen, used to be a sports orthopedic surgeon at UCLA. He grew up playing sports and took care of many elite athletes’ injuries. Golf was a disciplined but foundational experience in our upbringing. There are four of us, and we all worked hard to have solid junior golf careers. Eventually, everyone was recruited by and received offers from Division I programs across all the major power conferences.
You all played collegiate golf. Where did you and your siblings attend college?
My younger brother, Seiya, and I played golf at Harvard University, just missing playing with each other by a year. Both of my younger sisters were collegiate golfers as well. Marika, the older sister, was the team captain at Yale. She won the 2015 Ivy League Championship and was the Ivy League Player of the Year. My youngest sister, Mika, was the No. 1-ranked junior golfer in the U.S. for several years, she won the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball, played on the 2016 U.S. Curtis Cup team and currently plays golf at Stanford. She is taking the season off to recover from the effects of COVID. Outside of Mika, we all decided to go the academic-school route, where we also meaningfully contribute to our teams right away rather than trying the golf-powerhouse route.
What are some of the highlights from your junior and college golf career?
In junior golf, the biggest thing was definitely being a member of the victorious AJGA Canon Cup (now Wyndham Cup) West team, a Ryder Cup style team event pitting the 10 best male and female junior golfers from the West vs. their counterparts from the East, played at Old Sandwich Golf Club in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where I was surrounded by incredibly talented players sharing great camaraderie. I lost a four-ball match against Justin Thomas and Logan Harrell the first day and won one point back for our team in foursomes, with Jay Hwang, against Patrick Rodgers and Drew Czuchry the second day. On the last day, I played Patrick in singles and took him to the 18th hole all square before losing 1-down. That was a great challenge and fun experience.
Describe a memorable moment from your college career.
I won a tournament my freshman year at Century Country Club (Purchase, New York), playing in a torrential downpour, 30-degree weather and 30 mph wind, wearing four layers of gear. It may have hailed at one point, too. It was among the most extreme golfing conditions I’ve played in in my life. I remember watching one of my teammates walking up the 18th green to finish his round. He had the most grimaced face as he flipped his bag and clubs upside down to dump out over a gallon of water. Classic Northeast golf conditions.
What has all the competitive golf you’ve played taught you about the business world, and how will your strong background in golf be an asset to the Forme Tour?
Golf has taught me to be meticulous in planning, to analyze the variables at play, take calculated risks, be more patient and trust the process. It’s allowed me to be cognizant of the needs of high-performing golfers as they seek to take care of their bodies and recover to position themselves for success. We’re always looking to innovate, improve and provide a better experience for our end users—both with our products and with the Forme Tour. Now that most of us are done competing, it’s great for us to be directly involved in the game through our company.
How much golf do you play in a given month?
After college, I played minimally for a few years due to work. When the pandemic hit, I got back more seriously into golf last summer. I try to play at least once a week now, and get some friendly banter going during games.
What was the last professional golf tournament you attended, and how do you typically watch golf? Sit on one hole or follow players?
The PGA TOUR’s Genesis Open in February 2020. When I watch golf in person, I like to move around and follow different groups. It’s great to see varied playing styles among the pros, and it really makes me appreciate their craft and imagination. It’s been especially fun to watch some of my friends from junior golf continue to pursue their dreams and play professionally at the highest level.
Where and when did you play your last round of golf? Score?
I played this weekend with some friends at a course called Linkou International Golf & Country Club outside of Taipei. I shot 68. Even a blind squirrel can find an acorn every once in a while.
For more information about Forme, visit https://forme.science/golf