The sport of golf is dominated by the PGA Tour. However, a new Saudi-backed golf league call LIV Golf has been trying to muscle in on the PGA monopoly by offering tournaments with much larger prize money and direct payments to top players to join them. It was reported that the new rival offered Tiger Woods $700–$800 million to play in the LIV Golf tour. An offer that Tiger turned down.
Why would anyone walk away from a guarantee almost $1 billion payday? Don’t forget, this is just a signing bonus to join the tour. Each tournament has $25 million in prize money, with $4 million going to the winner. Even the golfer in last place gets $120,000.
While the Saudi government’s really bad human rights record is a big factor in saying no to LIV Golf, Tiger also seem to think the new series will make golfers lazy.
Tiger discussed his reservations and disapproval over the LIV series at the 2022 Open Championship in Scotland, saying that some players had “turned their backs” on the PGA Tour that had made them famous. It must also be a real sore spot that one of Tiger’s heroes, golf legend Greg Norman, is the CEO of LIV Golf.
“I just don’t understand it,” Woods said, referring to the number of high-profile players who had accepted large pay packages upfront to appear in the LIV league.
“What these players are doing for guaranteed money, what is the incentive to practice? What is the incentive to go out there and earn it in the dirt? You’re just getting paid a lot of money up front and playing a few events and playing 54 holes. They’re playing blaring music and have all these atmospheres that are different.” – Tiger Woods
What is the LIV Tour?
The LIV Tour is officially the richest series in the history of golf.
The 2022 inaugural series began last June, and each tournament is worth $25 million in prize winnings, of which $20 million will go directly to individual players. The LIV Team Championship will round out the series in October, and put up an extra $50 million in prize money. The winnings are separate from acceptance fees and signing bonuses some players have accepted. Phil Mickelson, the winner of the 2021 PGA Tour, reportedly accepted a $200 million offer from LIV to appear in 2022 and 2023 tours.
In June, the PGA suspended its 17 members who had accepted LIV’s offer and made an appearance in the league’s inaugural season.