Money talks and the controversial LIV Golf series proves that.
The new professional golf tour, founded by Greg Norman and financed by Saudi Arabia, is promising big money and pulling players from the long-established PGA tour.
LIV suffered its first loss on Tuesday when a federal judge favored the PGA Tour by denying three LIV players requests to lift their PGA suspension so that they could compete in the FedEx Cup playoffs last weekend.
The FedEx playoffs offer an $18 million top prize at the end of the PGA tour’s 2022 season. Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones qualified for the playoffs, but now are ineligible to play due to their involvement with LIV. Their legal battle with the PGA, which also includes Phil Mickelson and seven other LIV golfers, will continue.
But the outcome of the court case won’t change the bottom line: LIV has been enriching the PGA defectors. The LIV’s no-cut rule means every player is guaranteed at least $120,000 per tournament, an amount higher than most players were averaging per event on the PGA tour.
Amid the drama of the competing league, the PGA awarded some of its players a guaranteed income for the first time ever in 2022. PGA’s Player Impact Program awarded $40 million to the top 10 PGA players identified by fan interest data, according to Bloomberg.
The 10 players to receive the PGA’s Player Impact money were Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm, and Bubba Watson. LIV poached five of these players, reportedly with huge signing bonuses.
LIV tried to nab top earner Tiger Woods with an $800 million check, but the golf superstar turned it down. Woods voiced his distaste for the players who left the PGA Tour.
“I think that what they’ve done is they’ve turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position,” Woods said.