The 2023 Masters will feature 18 LIV Golfers that odds makers say have a 19% chance of finishing as the outright winner.
- The 2023 Masters Tournament kicks off this week, featuring 18 LIV Golf players in the field of 88 players.
- Pre-tournament odds from FanDuel Sportsbook imply a LIV golfer has a 19% chance of finishing as the outright Masters winner.
- The 2020 Masters champion Dustin Johnson is the most likely LIV winner with 3.9% odds, according to FanDuel.
- The only other LIV golfers with a 2% or greater chance at winning are 2020 Masters runner-up Cameron Smith with 3.5% and 2019 Masters runner-up Brooks Koepka with 2.2%.
Why it’s news
Despite the ongoing conflicts between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, many players from the Saudi-backed LIV Golf league are competing in the 2023 Masters Tournament for the coveted green jacket.
There was much debate on whether LIV players would be eligible to compete, and in December of last year, the Augusta National Golf Club released a statement agreeing to let players who had met the previous requirements compete in the tournament.
“Regrettably, recent actions have divided men’s professional golf by diminishing the virtues of the game and the meaningful legacies of those who built it,” the statement reads. “Although we are disappointed in these developments, our focus is to honor the tradition of bringing together a preeminent field of golfers this coming April. Therefore, as invitations are sent this week, we will invite those eligible under our current criteria to compete in the 2023 Masters Tournament.”
That meant if a player had met any of the criteria to qualify—as in a PGA Tour win, was a past Masters champion, or was ranked high enough in the Official World Golf Ranking—Augusta National would not keep them out just because they are under contract with LIV Golf, according to Golf.
The 2023 Masters will feature 18 LIV Golf players that had previously met the requirements. Although they are eligible to compete in the tournament, the players are estimated to only have a 19% chance of finishing as the outright winner.
The PGA Tour accounts for 17 of the 20 golfers with the best odds at winning the tournament, with reigning Masters champion Scottie Scheffler and LIV critic Rory McIlroy with the best odds at a 12.5% chance, according to Forbes.
Tiger Woods has stated this tournament could possibly be his last Masters ever, and the golf superstar is estimated to have just a 1.4% chance of winning.
LIV currently has six past Masters winners competing in the tournament, including Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Charl Schwartzel, and Bubba Watson, but many believe the odds will not be in the rival team’s favor.
LIV Golf Timeline
June 6 – The first player to defect from the PGA to join LIV was Phil Mickelson. He was reportedly offered $200 million to jump to the new tour, a big number considering he only made $94 million in his career with the PGA.
June 7 – The weekend’s winner and former number-one golfer in the world, Dustin Johnson, jumped on—signing a four-year contract with LIV reportedly worth $125 million. Other big names followed immediately… Sergio Garcia, Talor Gooch, Louis Oosthuizen, Kevin Na, Ian Poulter, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Charl Schwartzel, Lee Westwood, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka, Abraham Ancer, Matthew Wolff, Paul Casey, and Henrik Stenson.
July 22 – Then LIV secured someone who wasn’t there to swing clubs. Highly popular golf commentator David Feherty joined the action. Shortly after, the league snatched two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson.
August 1 – LIV tried to obtain golf legend Tiger Woods, but he declined. LIV CEO Greg Norman said Woods turned down a nearly $800-million deal. Woods voiced his distaste for the players leaving the PGA. “I think that what they’ve done is they’ve turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position,” he said.
August 3 – Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, and nine other LIV golfers filed an antitrust complaint against the PGA Tour. The lawsuit comes after the players were suspended from the PGA Tour over their involvement with the fledgling tour. The golfers were denied by a judge, giving LIV its first defeat.
August 24 – PGA announces new changes that will take effect in the 2023 season. New structural changes include ranking “top players,” more players and money for the Player Impact Program, and a set number of tournaments. “I laugh at what the PGA Tour players have come up with,” says golfer Lee Westwood, who was suspended from the PGA circuit when he signed on with LIV. “It’s just a copy of what LIV is doing.”
August 30 – Most recently, LIV snagged the number two golfer. Cameron Smith left the PGA. Smith is the highest-ranked player to leave the PGA for LIV thus far—after winning The Open Championship in July, the Australian refused to confirm or deny whether he was jumping ship.
November 2022 – LIV’s inaugural season wrapped up, but controversy stuck around.
January 2023 – After struggling to secure a broadcast deal, the controversial LIV Golf has reached a deal to broadcast on the CW Network. Although LIV Golf was well-financed by the Public Invest Fund of Saudi Arabia, it had difficulty competing with the PGA Tour without a broadcast deal. This deal will allow LIV to reach a broader audience and possibly rope more professional golfers from the PGA.
January 2023 – LIV partnered with former President Donald Trump. Three of Trump’s golf courses will be used in LIV Golf’s first official season. The inaugural season will feature 14 events in seven countries at top-rated courses. The tour will return to five venues that hosted previous LIV events, including some Trump-owned properties.
February 2023 – Netflix series Full Swing prominently reports on how the LIV Golf-PGA Tour battle has played out on the course, revealing contentious interviews and discussions with some of the top golfers who have defected from the PGA to LIV.
February 2023 — The court grants the PGA Tour permission to sue the investment fund of Saudi Arabia, which directly backs LIV Golf.
March 2023 — LIV nightclub in Miami Beach, Florida, has filed a court action to oppose LIV Golf’s trademark registration attempt. Both the golf league and the nightclub use the Roman Numeral for the number 54 in the company logos, and LIV nightclub says the trademarks “are visually, phonetically, and aurally similar, and the goods/services share similarities.”
March 2023 — The PGA Tour filed to California federal judge Beth Labson Freeman seeking a default order against LIV Golf-backer Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (PIF) and its governor Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan if the league does not respond to counterclaims.