If you’re a golf fan, you’ve probably heard a lot of buzz around LIV Golf, which is described by some as a revolutionary force that is improving golf and by others as an existential threat to the tradition and history of golf. But what is LIV Golf exactly?
The LIV Golf Tour is a Saudi-backed Pro Golf Tour with different rules, mainly the 54-hole course. 54 in Roman numerals is LIV, which gives the LIV Golf Tour its name. LIV reimagines golf for the 21st century.
This is the most comprehensive LIV Golf blog post in the world, covering the differences between LIV and PGA, the players who left one for the other, and the different rules of LIV Golf.
Among other things, you will learn what the big deal is around LIV and why the PGA, which gets along with DP and other entities, dislikes this specific golf Tour/League.
LIV Golf Tour doesn’t come under the PGA umbrella, so it doesn’t have to adhere to PGA rules or golf’s traditional rules for its game design. The difference in golf rules for the LIV tour might even inspire discussions regarding its validity as a golf tournament.
The Idea Behind LIV Golf
The idea behind LIV Golf is to make Golf more exciting and fast-paced. This is achieved by reducing the total hole count and removing the cuts. While the initial idea behind LIV might have been the 54-hole cut, the format continues to evolve as the tour takes feedback from players and viewers.
Ultimately, LIV Golf’s freshness and willingness to change and adapt are the practical ideas that make it different from PGA golf. A format-zipping take has been applied to different sports to improve their marketability.
Cricket, a British sport similar to Golf, had its format most popularly zipped from a 50-over (Round) run to a 20-over run. The new format is called T20 and is governed by the same council that oversees standard one-day cricket matches.
The difference in LIV Golf is that the idea of format-zipping and compressing the regular golf format comes from an entity outside the PGA. And what makes this significant is the money behind the idea.
The Investment Behind LIV
Without the money behind it, LIV Golf would be to the golf status quo what pillow fighting is to martial arts. It would exist but wouldn’t even be considered a part of the category. But given the fact that LIV has enough money to deliver wider distribution and buy better visibility, it threatens to take over the standard golf format.
Money’s influence on a sport and its conventions are evident from what happened with boxing ever since celebrity boxing entered the scene. Youtuber boxing has become the standard, with professional boxing going to the fringes.
Youtuber boxing makes three to thirteen times more money than an average boxing event. That much of a difference can create a dent in a sport’s convention, so let’s see whether LIV has as much or a higher purse/investment difference.
LIV Golf’s first season cost $784 million, while PGA spent $1.46 billion two years before that. From this, one can see that while LIV might spend more per tournament, it isn’t spending nearly as much as PGA to overhaul the status quo.
LIV Golf is funded by Public Investment Fund, which is the Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund. The new golf upstart tour has deep pockets, but they are just deep enough to put it on the map. The new golf format and tournament are not spending enough to make PGA irrelevant, but it is spending enough to be in the same conversation.
LIV Golf Invitational Series 2022 had $255 million, with the lowest basic event purse (across eight tournaments) being $20 million and the highest being $50 million for teams. Individual top purse value was $30 million for the top three players.
In contrast, PGA Masters collective purse was under $15 million. The difference in per-tournament purse makes LIV golf lucrative for the stars, while the difference in total purse value across various tournaments makes many PGA stars hesitant to defect from the PGA.
Now that we have established that LIV Golf’s way of buying relevance is through star power let’s look at the stars who have attached their name to LIV by playing in its first invitational series.
The Star Power Behind LIV
LIV Golf spends more per tournament, while PGA spends more in total across multiple tournaments. This makes LIV better for golfers who don’t really play in more than one tournament. But for players who get serious sponsor money for different tours, sticking to a safe option like PGA is better.
This wouldn’t even be a discussion had PGA not announced to its members that those who play in LIV Golf Tournament would not be invited to renew their PGA memberships. But that did happen, and we discuss PGA vs. LIV in detail elsewhere on this blog.
Despite PGA’s disapproval, multiple star players signed up with LIV Golf. Noteworthy names include Dustin Johnson, Martin Kaymer, Sergio García, Graeme McDowell, Charl Schwartzel, Lee Westwood, and Louis Oosthuizen.
Tiger Woods reportedly declined a high 9-figure offer and stuck with the PGA. Of all the players who signed up to play LIV Golf, Kevin Na was the first to resign from the PGA to play LIV. Most players who resigned to play the LIV invitational expressed interest in playing in the PGA events if the rules change to accommodate players who play for both organizations.
After PGA was taken to court for engaging in anticompetitive behavior against LIV, some leniency was shown. It was reciprocated by LIV Golf’s scheduling which will not clash with the PGA tour’s highest visibility dates. Whether the two organizations get along is yet to be seen.
LIV Golfers: Has-Beens Or Pioneers?
With James Piot, the reigning US Amateur Golf Champion signing directly with LIV Golf to start his professional career, it is clear that LIV will have its own crop of Golfers and direct signees who might not have their previous PGA clout or ranking to command sponsorship value.
In this section, we will explore who the initial LIV golfers are and whether they will be ranking globally or be erased by PGA and DP.
LIV Golf Tournament is seeking recognition for ranking and points from OWGR (Official World Golf Ranking). It is also rebranding as a Golf league. All of these changes might mean that LIV is there to stay.
In fact, a format-zipped 54-hole golf league, Gira de Golf Professional de Mexicana, got recognized by OWGR. This gives LIV Golf hope for recognition, especially since Gira de Golf Professional de Mexicana applied for recognition 11 months before LIV. If the same process and pace follow, LIV might be recognized in OWGR in 2023.
If that recognition comes, and LIV truly becomes a legacy golf league, then the current players might be considered its founding fathers.
Dustin Johnson was ranked number 1 in 2021 when he signed up for LIV Golf. He was one of the highest-profile talent acquisitions for the league. It is currently estimated that he was paid $125 million just to defect from PGA and join LIV Golf. There is no official statement on the matter.
In the absence of points earned on the LIV Invitational series, Johnson’s ranking is impacted, and he is trending in the 40s globally. But in his maiden series with LIV Golf, he was the number one player.
He was the individual champion, and his team, 4 Aces, was the winning team. For this reason, he will be remembered in golfing history if LIV Golf is legitimized by the global ranking body.
The number two player in the world at the time, Smith switched from PGA to LIV golf at the tail-end of 2022. He won the Invitational in Chicago and finished fourth overall in the season. His ranking since leaving PGA is tanking, and if LIV isn’t awarded points, his standing might take a serious hit.
Whether LIV Golf perseveres or fizzles out, Kevin Na will be known for being the first mover. He publicly switched, citing his freedom to choose where and with whom he plays. Since leaving the PGA, his ranking has been in the 40s.
To make matters worrisome, Na wasn’t able to see through the first LIV series due to his illness. Even if points are awarded in retrospect to LIV golfers, Kevin might not get a boost.
García might not be as high-profile a player as LIV’s top two acquisitions, but he is a big name in Golf with 36 international tournament victories under his belt. He won the 2008 Players Championship and the 2017 Masters Championship.
Kaymer was number one in the golf rankings for eight weeks over ten years ago. He might be dismissed by many as a player past his peak, regardless of rankings. But that would have been the case even if he had never switched to LIV. At least with the switch, he’s getting more media attention and, presumably, cash.
McDowell is one of the headline makers to join LIV golf. His resume includes 11 tournament victories on the European tour and 4 on the PGA tour. Since his last major championship win was in 2010, one can see why he would choose LIV Golf. His global ranking wasn’t very high when he switched to LIV, but his switch still made headlines because of his impressive resume.
While Louis Oosthuizen might not have as many tournament wins as some of the other LIV freshers, he is still in peak performance mode, having finished as a runner-up in the US Open as recently as 2021. His switch sends a message that LIV isn’t a private tournament for famous has-beens but is a point of interest for active golfers with serious ranking potential.
Schwartzel has a 2011 major title under his belt and has shown decent performance on multiple tours. By all accounts, he is a journeyman golfer who is getting visibility in LIV golf because of a relatively small roster.
Honored as an OBE by the British crown, Lee Westwood is a golfer with tournament wins on five different continents. With 25 European Tour wins (8th highest win rate in Europe’s history), 2 PGA tour wins, 4 Japan Tour wins, and 8 Asian Tour wins alongside other victories,
Westwood has won a total of 44 professional tournaments, series and circuits. His switch to LIV brings a lot of global golf viewership to the upstart tournament. Getting Westwood to play LIV is a feat that can be outdone by getting Tiger Woods to play LIV Golf. But as of now, Woods seems adamant about not attaching his name to LIV Golf.
Still, between the current star power of Dustin Johnson and Cameron Smith and the legacy star power of the likes of Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell, there is serious viewership interest in LIV Golf. A bulk of it can even be attributed to the shorter games with no cuts and fewer holes.
Though the league is backed by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, it still hosts its events in cities like Miami and Chicago. Aside from direct venue tickets, LIV golf matches are consumed via broadcast.
LIV Golf Broadcasting: Where To Watch?
The first invitational series was shown on LIV Golf’s Youtube and Facebook pages since talent acquisition and event execution were the top priorities for the upstart tour. In 2023, LIV is set to sign broadcasting deals in the US.
LIV Golf has signed an exclusive broadcasting deal with DAZN, a sports streaming service, as of June 2022. Since this is a worldwide stream broadcasting deal, LIV Golf’s future events might not be broadcast on its official socials. The Tour’s Youtube will still have clips and highlights on each of its pages.
LIV Golf is also signing regional broadcasting deals on the traditional modes. So far, SevrusTV has the broadcasting rights in Germany and Austria, Eleven Sports has them in Italy, and Claro Sports in Italy.
CHCH-TV has acquired the broadcasting rights in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, which marks the tour’s break into North America. Deals with US TV channels are expected though most popular broadcast networks are already aligned with the PGA.
LIV Golf Tour vs. PGA Tour: How is LIV Golf Different From PGA Tour?
LIV Golf is different from the PGA Tour in a number of ways, including course size, number of holes, and player roster. LIV Golf is also primarily a team tournament though the top player is named in an individual capacity.
In this section, we will cover all the differences between LIV Golf and PGA Tour, alongside the implication of each point of difference. But first, let’s compare the two at a glance.
|Number of Holes
|Number of Cuts
|Average Number of Players
|132 – 156
|Official World Golf Ranking
|No Points (currently)
|Solo and Team Formats
|Number of Rounds
|Purse Value Per Tournament
|$25 – $31 Million
|$14 – $20 Million
|Purse Total Per Season
|$500 Million +
Number of Holes
LIV Golf has fewer holes than PGA tournaments. Where PGA Tour has 72 holes, LIV has 54. This cuts LIV games short, making them fast-paced. This also increases the burden of movement on the players and can alter scores in either direction. On paper, this is more exciting than a 72-hole game.
That said, PGA tour games having higher hole counts can produce longer broadcasts, allowing casual fans to tune in and out as they, please. That has conventionally been the charm of Golf. A 72-hole game is self-evidently more strategic and allows more room for recovery.
Number of Cuts
PGA tour usually has one cut on a Friday, while LIV golf has zero cuts. This makes LIV more lucrative for the players because they’re all guaranteed a certain number of rounds. At the same time, the PGA tour can afford to have a higher volume of initial players, and the cut can make it more competitive.
Players make a good chunk of money based on what is in their bags. A golf club company is more likely to sponsor a player who gets more screen time. The problem with cut-free golf tournaments is that most players get similar airtime regardless of performance. This can lower the incentive to be competitive to be more lucrative to sponsors.
The Average Number of Players
PGA has a better player volume which casts a wider net in talent and viewership. LIV Golf’s smaller player net means it has a higher burden of sourcing stars. With 48 players, LIV golf is easier to follow as a cohesive league.
In PGA, you’re likely to follow one player’s journey. And if you’re a fan of a smaller name, then PGA’s lower barrier to entry spells good news for you. Your favorite player might not make the cut, but he will still get to play for the first half.
Official World Golf Ranking
The fact that a player’s performance in LIV Golf invitationals doesn’t count towards his total points globally is a big setback to talent. On top of the ongoing rankings snub, the player is unable to compete in PGA events to actually rack more points.
This barrier to point-earning for LIV golfers is the greatest disadvantage of playing in the upstart tour. In contrast, PGA has multiple opportunities for golfers to improve their score-to-hole ratio and PGA performance counter to players’ world rankings.
LIV golf has only a team format though it manages to rank individual players throughout the tournament. This again consolidates viewership allowing the audience to follow the entire tournament while rooting for a team as well as an individual.
PGA has twin teams as well as solo tournaments. This gives viewers the option to pick the type of game they enjoy. There’s more choice in PGA’s format diversity, while there is more convenience in LIV’s format consolidation.
Number of Rounds
LIV golf has one less round than PGA tour games. Again, this serves LIV’s priority for shorter course completion periods and fast-paced games. On paper, this can get a more mainstream audience interested in Golf.
So far, this doesn’t seem to be working, but comparing PGA and LIV viewership numbers now would be unfair. In terms of rounds, PGA’s four-round games allow viewers to spend more time with their favorites. It also helps players strategize and recover from poor positions.
LIV Golf doesn’t seem to have a lot of forgiveness. After all, there’s only so much you can do in 3 rounds to offset a high score earned earlier.
As of now, LIV Golf contracts have come with guaranteed money. The undisclosed amounts are speculated to be anywhere between $50 million to $225 million. Even with that factored in, the per-tournament purse value of LIV golf is two to three times higher than that of the PGA tour.
At the same time, the PGA tour’s overall expenditure and revenue both draw that of LIV. That might change if signing bonuses are disclosed.
LIV Golf is more financially lucrative for players because of guaranteed money. But PGA gives more players a chance to earn their way to the big bucks. This skew in incentives might set up a world where Golfers would become stars via the PGA and then defect to LIV. The PGA has to find a way to minimize the talent drain.
What Is The Controversy With LIV Golf?
The controversy with LIV golf revolves around the wealth source that backs the tournament. Since LIV Golf is backed by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, it is viewed as a potential sports-washing move.
Sportswashing is the act of using a sports event to gain goodwill and cover up bad governance, poor political positions, or abuses of power. In the case of Saudi Arabia, global human rights watchdogs are concerned about LIV Golf’s impact on awareness campaigns regarding the alleged human rights abuses that are backed by the same regime that backs LIV Golf.
LIV Golf’s own position regarding the matter remains that it is an organization dedicated to improving Golf and bringing it in a more entertaining form to more people. The unannounced stance of the fund backing LIV is that the Golf tour will make more money than is put in it.
It is hard to announce intentions on behalf of another entity, but from the Public Relations aspect of Qatar and the Soccer World Cup, it does seem like countries with a history of human rights violations are increasing their cultural export with sports franchises.
The primary LIV controversy is that it benefits Saudi Arabia, but most LIV viewers maintain that even the United States as a whole benefits Saudi Arabia. If you take this position, you would have a counter controversy, and that’s the attitude of PGA towards LIV Golf.
PGA announced to its members that if they were to play LIV Golf, they could incur penalties, fines, and suspension. Their membership, the PGA told its players, would not be renewed the next year. Initially, it seemed like LIV Golfers wouldn’t be able to even play in the Masters, but that seems to have changed.
The LIV counter-controversy is that PGA Tour is restricting the freedom of players who compete in its tournaments by keeping them from playing with competitors. This can be seen as anti-competitive behavior, which is why LIV players filed a collective lawsuit. While the case is ongoing, most players pulled out as it seems the case doesn’t have strong legal grounds.
- Is PGA breaching antitrust laws? The PGA is not breaching antitrust laws by banning its players from playing in a rival league. While it seems like the PGA is engaging in Monopsony (trying to be the only buyer in the market), there are other options for players. The court has yet to give a final ruling, but the PGA’s hold isn’t strong enough to keep LIV Golf from existing, which means this controversy is a nothing burger.
- Is LIV Golf whitewashing Saudi Arabia? While Saudi Arabia might monetarily benefit from LIV Golf in the long run, there aren’t enough high-profile LIV Golf events in Saudi Arabia or indirect promotion of the kingdom to suggest that LIV Golf is sport-washing the regime.
As of now, both the blames are unproven. LIV Golf hasn’t promoted Saudi Arabia and has conducted more events in the west than it plans to conduct in the arab world. The PGA hasn’t barred players from competing in other tours, but only in a specific tour that has an allegedly conflicting contract.
LIV Golf’s contract seems to bar players from competing in any tour with conflicting dates. If the PGA allows LIV golfers to have the same opportunities as its regular players, then it would have to design a schedule around LIV golf.
Can Golfers Play in LIV and PGA?
As of now, Golfers cannot play LIV and PGA and have to choose one. Golfers who choose to play LIV Golf are indefinitely banned from playing in any PGA Tour. However, LIV Golfers are allowed to play the Masters.
LIV Golf has no problem with PGA players competing in a LIV tournament as long as they don’t prioritize PGA games that conflict with the LIV schedule. But the fact that LIV golf’s contract interferes with PGA Tour’s contract by making PGA-signed players unable to play if a PGA date clashes with LIV gives PGA enough room to suspend its LIV Golfing players.
There is an ongoing lawsuit trying to keep PGA from making LIV signing the grounds for the suspension of its players. But plenty of PGA Tour players who chose LIV golf have already quit the tour in order to pursue to Saudi-backed golf tournament.
PGA tour players might compete with previous rivals in The Masters as Augusta National Golf Club (The Masters Organizer) refuses to penalize masters of the sport on the bases of their preference for LIV over PGA.
If all golf circuits try to push LIV Golf out of the picture by banning its players from playing in their respective tournaments, their rankings and golfing proficiency might be affected.
As of now, LIV Golf has a team format only, and it consists of fewer holes. Players who play exclusively within this format-zipped tournament might not maintain their form in standard golf competitions.
That said, team golf is quite interesting to watch and isn’t introduced by LIV. It is just adopted by LIV as its primary format. This gives LIV the opportunity to team up legends to generate more interest in the tour.
How are Teams Picked for LIV Golf?
The LIV board decides the captains for each team, and then the players are selected based on a draft. The selection process is being optimized for LIV Golf League.
In LIV Invitational, the teams kept shuffling after each event, but with the new selection criteria, the key player (captain) and his team will remain the same throughout the league.
Here is how LIV Golf will change the team member selection:
|LIV Golf Invitational (beta)
|LIV Golf League (standard)
|The captain is selected by the board
|The captain is selected by the board
|Captain picks seed players via the draft
|Captain picks seed players from a draft of the top 24
|The captain picks the remaining player(s)
|The captain picks the remaining player(s)
|The team is disbanded after the event
|The team is disbanded after the season
This type of team-format Golf has gathered serious interest from professionals and dedicated golf viewers. But casual golf fans, as well as sports media at large, have covered LIV’s alleged political agenda more than the way it is changing Golf. For those unaware of the initial point of protest, it isn’t even clear why LIV Golf is under scrutiny.
Why are so Many People Against LIV Golf?
LIV Golf received negative attention and publicity from vocal activists concerned about the tour sports washing the country, backing it financially.
Since LIV Golf has financial backing from the Saudi monarchy, everyone who is anti-Saudi is also anti-LIV Golf. The most anti-Saudi sentiment comes from Human Rights activists, LGBTQ+, Feminists, and even right-wing patriots.
Because of the broad net of groups that have issues with Saudi Arabia, there is a vocal anti-LIV sentiment in America.
Even in invitation events on US soil, several protestors showed up chanting anti-Saudi slogans. While it seems like a LIV Golf could help Saudi Arabia build goodwill, the upstart tour hasn’t shown any interest in attaching itself to the kingdom.
Ironically, the only time LIV is associated with Saudi Arabia is when Western publications comment on how LIV could publicize Saudi Arabia. In its inaugural year, LIV has hosted more events in the US than it has on Saudi soil.
It is reasonable to be worried about the cultural influence of LIV Golf, given the kingdom’s track record on freedom and individual rights to free expression. But in terms of objective output, Saudi investment in Hollywood and streaming companies should be a lot more concerning.
Most people forming an opinion about LIV Golf aren’t serious golfers. And most serious golfers with big enough names are being paid too much to form an objective opinion. From golfers who have their rankings thanks to PGA performance, LIV Golf might be the devil.
And for golfers who are getting so much money for signing that they would agree to play Golf with a basketball if asked, it is hard to see anything wrong with LIV Golf. So let’s take an objective look from the perspective of the person who isn’t paid for either tour.
Here are the ways in which LIV Golf is bad:
- It isn’t open to everyone – Unlike PGA, LIV Golf’s super-limited slot size is filled with invitations and not players who have applied and played their way to the top. From the entry point of professionals, this is objectively a bad thing.
- It doesn’t have fair solo performance metrics – While there is a top player in each tournament, the main format of LIV Golf is a quartet. A league without solo rounds feels incomplete.
- It isn’t on the world rankings (yet) – As long as the world rankings disregard players’ performance in LIV Golf, it will remain the greatest disadvantage of LIV Golf as a product. It is troublesome for the tour, the viewers, and the players.
- It can give Saudi Arabia an opportunity to earn goodwill – The least concerning drawback is, of course, the most sensationalized one. Still, it is a real concern given how Qatar used its FIFA World Cup hosting turn to spread its cultural message via soccer.
Here are ways in which LIV Golf is good:
- It is forcing PGA to rethink its golfer compensation – LIV Golf’s deep pockets are forcing PGA to reach into theirs. While PGA has been making a lot more money year on year, especially through the pandemic, its purse value hasn’t increased proportionately. Since LIV’s headhunting campaign, PGA has made several public announcements regarding hikes in upcoming purses.
- It is bringing star players together – Many people have dreamed of watching specific golfers play against each other or even together. LIV’s ability to arbitrarily put players in face-off positions makes the sport more entertaining.
- It is raising golf’s global profile – All the conversation around LIV Golf is expanding Golf’s footprint in the arab world. By compressing the format and creating a cohesive series, LIV is building a Golf product that is better suited for popular consumption.
- It gives more options to the consumers – Finally, LIV Golf’s greatest benefit to the sport is that it is an option that exists for consumers. It would be better if it were just as accessible an option for players, but it is very exclusive in that regard. But a consumer bored by the PGA can always decide to follow LIV Golf.
And while LIV Golf adoption hasn’t been on a climb yet, the players who are invited seem to be switching at a higher rate than viewers. From that, one can deduce that LIV Golf is offering a better deal to the players, and the PGA is offering a better deal to the consumers.
This divide between player adoption and viewership numbers creates a stalemate between the two leagues. PGA knows that LIV Golf can poach its biggest moneymakers. And LIV knows that no matter the star power it brings to the field, PGA will have better distribution and more serious viewership than LIV.
This balance could shift if LIV gets recognized by the global ranking body. Once players’ LIV performance starts affecting their global ranking, fans will feel like there is something to gain or lose in every round. Until that happens, LIV Golf remains a counterproductive career choice for golfers, which makes their fans wonder why they are leaving PGA in the first place.
Why are People Leaving PGA for LIV? (4 Reasons)
People are leaving PGA for LIV because LIV offers uniformity of course time, guaranteed pay in the form of signing bonuses, and a higher purse value per tournament. LIV golf also offers the opportunity for golfers to play in the same team as the stars they admire.
By looking at each of these factors in detail, one can assess how PGA can improve its deal for the players in order to maintain its retention if LIV Golf gets recognition for global ranking.
LIV Golf offers all players equal course time by removing cuts from the equation. You have the same number of players on the course on Friday and Saturday. This is an ok incredible advantage for players who take a longer time to get to peak performance. Such players can easily get removed from the running with the first cut in PGA.
PGA Tour will not adjust its cut policy to match that of LIV golf because players who find guaranteed course time to be a significant advantage are not big enough to even be approached by LIV.
Secondly, LIV Golf can continue without cuts because it has less than half the entrants to the PGA Tour. It would be to PGA’s detriment to reduce its entrant intake just to ensure everyone plays on all days.
While guaranteed course time isn’t too important for as many golfers, guaranteed money definitely is. Sponsors grant guaranteed money to golfers, but the PGA itself doesn’t. In contrast, LIV Golf has offered many of its players guaranteed money in exchange for prioritizing LIV over all other golfing requirements.
PGA will not switch to a guaranteed pay model as it would not make business sense for a tour organizer of its scale. But it has made a move to keep its top pros happy. According to recent announcements, PGA tour players who play at least 15 events in a year will get an annual salary of $500,000. While nowhere near LIV’s speculated guaranteed money, this is a step in the right direction.
Higher Purse Value
LIV’s most significant advantage is that it offers a higher prize value for fewer rounds and shorter games. This is what has the PGA truly rattled because many players might switch from PGA to LIV based on prize money alone, especially if LIV Golf performance starts counting towards their global rankings.
If the ranking application goes through and the OWGR signs off on LIV Golf counting towards global rankings, LIV might have entrant interest without putting up guaranteed signing bonuses. This could upset the status quo in Golf.
Even if the current signing bonuses are just $1 million, LIV Golf can stop giving these out to the next 50 players and add them to the total purse instead. The moment players choose LIV over PGA based on the prize money alone, PGA’s hold over Golf would be uncertain.
The PGA has preemptively added another disincentive to joining LIV Golf. You cannot play in the PGA tour if you play LIV Golf. This might be a blessing and a curse for the young league.
LIV Golf has big stars and will continue to try and poach more of them. The PGA claims that LIV Golf players had to sign a contract that would prevent them from taking PGA dates clashing with LIV.
If this is true, it seems like LIV Golf was concerned about the stars that it was paying millions for playing for free for its rival. However, PGA banned LIV Golfers from competing in its events.
This makes LIV the only tour/league where you can play with Kevin Na, Cameron Smith, and Dustin Johnson. Because of the nature of drafting in LIV Golf, each player has one in twelve chances of playing under a superstar captain.
The above factors contribute to the animosity between PGA and LIV golf. But from a neutral standpoint, it seems like LIV golf is less aggressive towards the PGA than the PGA is towards LIV.
Why Does The PGA Not Like LIV?
The PGA does not like LIV because LIV golf has allegedly interfered in the contracts of the PGA players. Moreover, LIV has used money to poach some of PGA’s greatest draws. LIV’s existence and offers are forcing PGA to spend more money.
Here is a list of reasons why the PGA doesn’t get along with LIV Golf:
LIV Poached Top PGA Players
There is no way to like a business rival that takes your top talent. PGA has the legacy and reach, both of which have allowed some very talented and hardworking golfers to become superstars.
Because of their star power and ther global ranking, they have been approached by LIV Golf, an entity that makes offers interesting enough to make the players ditch PGA.
LIV hasn’t engaged in any of the talent cultivation work or incubation and outreach activities that PGA has, yet it manages to get top talent by going directly to PGA’s top performers. This kind of strategy definitely inspires resentment.
LIV Allegedly Interfered with PGA Contracts
As if treating PGA as a talent nursery wasn’t enough, LIV went ahead and rubbed salt into the PGA’s wounds by including in its contracts a clause that players would prioritize their LIV dates over any other clashing dates.
This would mean that PGA games would need to be scheduled around LIV’s schedule. That would not make LIV an apple of PGA’s eyes. Of course, PGA tour organizers dislike such meddling in their already difficult scheduling work.
LIV Golf is Changing Too Much About Golf Too Quickly
From the golf purist’s point of view, the reduction of holes, elimination of a round, and reduction of the field sizes are all pandering moves that trade Golf’s integrity for a broader appeal.
Add to that the team format with four players teams, and you get the current sentiment that LIV is changing too much about Golf too quickly. Changing a game’s conventions and paying the top stars to play your version over the mainstream version can ruffle a lot of feathers.
LIV’s approach is like paying professional boxers more money to pillow fight. It won’t be received properly by people who care about maintaining the sport’s current shape.
LIV Golf Is Affecting PGA’s Profits
Finally, the PGA dislikes LIV Golf simply because LIV is setting the trend for giving more money to golfers. This cuts the margins of PGA, which is now expected to hand out bigger purses and has even made some guaranteed pay commitments. In the absence of LIV Golf, PGA had one of its greatest years in terms of revenue (2020) yet didn’t hike its purse value proportionately.
It is evident that LIV being a higher-paying alternative, forced PGA to be more generous with its player compensation policies. Generosity is good, but we don’t usually like those who force us to be generous.
Because of the reasons listed above, PGA and LIV Golf aren’t expected to get along anytime soon. And that renders all of the players who signed to play LIV Golf are rendered unable to compete in any PGA event.
What Events Can LIV Golfers Not Play In?
LIV Golfers cannot play in PGA tour tournaments though they can play The Masters, US Open, and The Open, alongside the PGA championship. Some PGA co-sanctioned events and tournaments are more open to LIV Golfers.
Here is a list of all the events in the PGA Tour Schedule. Let’s look at whether LIV golfers can or cannot play in them.
- Fortinet Championship – LIV Golfers cannot play in the main Fortinet Championship games in the US. It is not to be confused with Fortinet Australian Championship, which is cosigned by DP World Tour and allows LIV Golfers to play.
- Presidents Cup – LIV Golfers cannot play in the Presdients Cup. This is one of the most significant hits to the players’ ranking and visibility points since this cup has significant prestige attached to it.
- Sanderson Farms Championship – LIV Golfers cannot play in this championship. This ban equates to a $7.9 million loss in potential earnings.
- Shriners Children’s Open – Not being able to play in this open equals a loss of $8 million in potential income. LIV Golfers will not play Shriners Children’s Open.
- Zozo Champtionship – ZOZO Championship is cosigned by PGA and not wholly organized by it. Japan Tour members can play if they forfeit their LIV Golf membership and agree not to appear in future LIV events.
- THE CJ Cup in South Carolina – Th CJ Cup won’t see any LIV Golfers teeing off for the foreseeable future. In 2023, this cup will be defended by the defacto anti-LIV spokesperson Rory Mcllroy, who is vocal about players leaving the PGA for favorable pay from LIV Golf League.
- Butterfield Bermuda Championship – LIV Golfers will not be able to play in the Butterfield Bermuda Championship. The purse value of this championship is $6.5 million.
- World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba – There might be future openings for LIV Golfers for this tournament since it isn’t on US soil. As of now, no LIV Golfer is making an appearance in this championship.
- Cadence Bank Houston Open – Count this as an $8.5 million loss in potential earnings for LIV golfers who will not be able to play the Cadence Bank Houston Open.
- The RSM Classic – The RSM Classic will not be played by any LIV Golfer for the foreseeable future. That equates to an $8.1 million loss in potential earnings for the golfers who would otherwise be serious contenders for the top spot.
- Hero World Challenge – A relatively smaller loss of opportunity, Hero World Challenge is currently not open for LIV Golfers’ participation. But given that its purse value is $3.5 million, they are probably happier trading in their playing opportunity for guaranteed money from LIV Golf.
- QBE Shootout – LIV Golfers must say goodbye to their opportunity to tee off in the QBE Shootout. This event has a modest $3.8 million purse.
- Sentry Tournament of Champions – With a $15 million purse and Cameron Smith (LIV Golfer) as reigning champion, there was a lot of hope around LIV golfers’ participation in the Sentry Tournament of Champions. However, the Sentry Tournament is the last stop of the PGA Tour, and one has to be among the top performers in the game, according to the PGA criteria, to qualify. Cameron Smith will not return to the Sentry Tournament of Champions in 2023, which means no other LIV Golfer will be considered.
- Sony Open in Hawaii – With a $7.9 million purse, Sony Open in Hawaii is moderately attractive for PGA Tour players. LIV Golfers do not have immediate chances of playing this Open. However, it might be open to them in the future if the PGA changes its policies.
- The American Express – LIV Golfers cannot play in The American Express because of the indefinite suspension from the PGA’s side. Therefore, they have to give up on the hopes of scooping up the $8 million purse.
- Farmers Insurance Open – LIV Golfers cannot play the Farmers Insurance Open until the PGA Tour doesn’t take back its suspension and reverse the ban that it has imposed on the golfers supporting the Saudi-backed league.
- AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am – With a $9 million purse and zero LIV Golfers, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is expected to kick off in February 2023. PGA Tour’s ban on LIV Golfers keeps them from entering this stop.
- WM Phoenix Open – While technically, players without PGA membership should be able to play in an open, the WM Phoenix Open roster remains clear of LIV Golfers. This indicates that this open isn’t open to the players that the PGA has banned from its tour. It is worth noting that this is one of the ‘elevated’ tour stops for the 2023 season. Elevated tournaments are designed to compete with LIV Golf’s mass-appeal format and formula.
- The Genesis Invitational – The Genesis Invitational will not be open to LIV Golfers. This might change if the PGA decides to review its policy regarding the initial crop of defectors.
- The Honda Classic – The Honda Classic is a prestigious tournament with a fairly substantial purse of $8.4 million. It is not open to the LIV Golfers who switched away from their PGA contracts.
- Puerto Rico Open – Puerto Rico Open doesn’t have any LIV Golfers on its 2023 roster. This might indicate that the PGA’s ban on the defecting LIV Golfers might cover the Opens that it is involved in.
- Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard – Arnold Palmer Invitational won’t invite LIV Golfers for the foreseeable future. This might change if LIV Golf and the PGA get along. But until then, LIV Golfers should say goodbye to the $20 million purse that is attached to this prestigious series.
- THE Players Championship – The Players championship has Cam Smith as its reigning champion, yet it won’t see him defend the title the next time around because he is a LIV Golfer. If the champion can’t compete in this championship just because he’s a LIV Golfer, no other LIV Golfer can. And if you don’t think that the PGA is serious about this, remember that Cam Smith’s parking spot (reserved for the winner) was taken away.
- Valspar Championship – This championship excludes LIV Golfers as it is a PGA event. The purse value for this tour stop is $8.1 million. Sam Burns is defending the title in 2023.
- World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play – With a whopping $20 million purse, this is one of the biggest potential income snubs for LIV Golfers as they are not set to compete in the Dell Technologies Match Play of World Golf Championships in 2023.
- Corales Puntacana Championship – This championship has the potential to open up to LIV Golfers in the future but hasn’t expressed any desire to be an exception to the PGA stance. That means that LIV Golfers miss out on the overall purse of $3.8 million, which they probably won’t be heartbroken about.
- Valero Texas Open – A sizable purse of $8.9 million is pretty tempting. But it is probably not tempting enough to pass LIV Golf’s undisclosed guaranteed money deals. LIV Golfers won’t be seen in the Valero Texas Open.
- Masters Tournament – LIV Golfers will be able to play in the Masters tournament as the Augusta National Golf Club refuses to break Golf history over a league rivalry. The masters of Golf, despite moving to a newbie league, remain legends worth watching.
- RBC Heritage – LIV Golfers aren’t expected to tee off in this $20 million bout. This remains the case until PGA changes its view on the defectors.
- Zurich Classic of New Orleans – With an $8.6 million purse, the Zurich Class of New Orleans counts as a medium-tier stop in terms of compensation. PGA tour players will play in the Zurich Classic, but LIV Golfers won’t’.
- Mexico Open at Vidanta – As an open, this tournament really shouldn’t be cutting off people, but since it is limited to PGA members, LIV Golfers will remain suspended and excluded from the Mexico Open at Vidanta.
- Wells Fargo Championship – There isn’t any statement from the organizers of the Wells Fargo Championship indicating that it will be any different or any more accepting of the LIV Golfers than the average PGA Tour stop. Ineligibility for the $20 million purse has got to hurt.
- AT&T Byron Nelson – This Texas stop is out of LIV Golfers’ reach as they remain unable to tee off in it unless the PGA reverses its suspension and renews the memberships of the players who defected.
- PGA Championship – The PGA Championship is open to LIV Golfers who qualify, and many do. In fact, the acceptance of the LIV Golfers in the PGA Championship deserves a post/section on its own.
- Charles Schwab Challenge – The qualifying criteria for this challenge make room for some LIV Golfers, but whether they will be allowed or invited to play remains to be seen. As of 2023, the Charles Schwab Challenge remains free of LIV Golfer participants.
- The Memorial Tournament presented by Workday – There are no LIV Golfers playing in the 2023 iteration of the Memorial Tournament. This is because of the PGA ban on LIV Golfers. The tournament has a $20 million purse, which can be seen as a loss of potential earnings by LIV Golfers.
- RBC Canadian Open – LIV Golf affected the RBC Canadian Open quite directly in LIV’s own maiden year. There was a serious scheduling conflict alongside direct talent poaching which makes the Canadian Open pretty cross with LIV Golfers. They will not be allowed to compete in this stop of the PGA Tour.
- US Open – This event is primarily governed by the USGA (United States Golf Association). It is PGA-branded but doesn’t hold up the PGA’s ban on LIV Golfers. In 2022, 13 of the invitation series golfers competed in the US Open field.
- Travelers Championship – With a purse of over $20 million, this championship is one of the most sought-after stops of the PGA Tour. It is off-limits for LIV Golfers unless the PGA changes its mind, or is legally ordered to take back its suspension of LIV Golfers. The US justice system does not seem to interpret the suspension as an anti-competitive act, so the Traveler’s Championship seems out of LIV golfers’ reach.
- Rocket Mortgage Classic – With an $8.8 million purse, Rocket Mortgage Classic is one of the mid-tier PGA Tour stops that LIV Golfers cannot play in. It is held at the Detroit Golf Club and is usually scheduled between June and July.
- John Deere Classic – John Deere Classic is hosted by the TPC Deere Run with a decent $7.4 million purse. The PGA’s ban on LIV Golfers bars them from teeing off in John Deere Classic.
- Barbasol Championship – LIV Golfers cannot play in the Barbasol Championship. They are, therefore, ineligible for the championship’s low-end $3.8 million purse.
- Genesis Scottish Open – Among the better-prized tournaments is the Genesis Scottish Open. It has a $9 million purse which is considered among the fifth percentile of PGA purse values. It is unfortunately not open to LIV Golfers.
- Barracuda Championship – LIV Golfers cannot play in the Barracuda Championship. This isn’t as big a purse value loss ($3.8 million), but it is a missed opportunity for the prestige that comes with victory.
- The Open Championship – LIV Golfers can play in the Open Championship. And the current reigning champion of the British Open is none other than Cam Smith, a LIV Golfer who earned his win as a part of the PGA.
- 3M Open – The 3M Open is not open to LIV Golfers. Currently, PGA’s ban on LIV Golfers prevents them from the 3M Open and keeps them from trying their luck at the $7.8 million purse.
- Wyndham Championship – Hosted at the Sedgefried Club, the Wyndham Championship comes with a $7.6 million purse in 2023. It will not be played by any LIV Golfer due to the PGA suspension of LIV Golfers previously affiliated with the PGA.
- FedEx St. Jude Championship – The FedEx St. Jude Championships is one of the stops that LIV Golfers have tried their best to be a part of. Unfortunately, the St. Jude Championship and its $20 million purse are out of LIV Golfers’ reach.
- BMW Championship – BMW Championship has a high $20 million purse. It is one of the few stops on the PGA tour, which stings LIV Golfers who were previously contenders for it. The PGA’s ban continues to keep LIV Golfers from competing in the BMW Championship.
- TOUR Championship – This is also known as the FedEx cup and was specifically named in the injunction request that LIV Golfers signed to keep the PGA from enacting its ban.
Why Can’t PGA Players Play In LIV?
PGA players can’t play in LIV because the two leagues are business rivals, and PGA considers playing for LIV Golf a conflict of interest for its members. This stems from the PGA’s assertion that LIV Golfers sign a contract where they agree to choose LIV events over PGA events taking place on the same day.
This, according to the PGA, is interference with its contract by LIV Golf. To avoid having to schedule around LIV Golf, the PGA indefinitely suspended its members who signed to tee off in the LIV Invitational in 2022. LIV Golfers’ PGA memberships were not renewed, barring them from playing in all PGA Tour stops that require a PGA membership.
Some people have come to believe that LIV Golfers are going to play LIV Golf exclusively. And that is a belief popularized by the fact that the PGA has its footprint across the global golf scene. LIV Golfers can currently play in DP events and are even allowed to play in the Masters, which has a PGA Co-sign.
As of 2023, the PGA suspension keeps LIV Golfers from playing in PGA events not co-executed with another golfing body. Many PGA partners have agreed to extend the ban preventing LIV golfers from playing many international events and even some specific “opens.”
The ban, however, doesn’t cover The Open and US Open. At this point, you might be confused as to why LIV Golfers are playing in the PGA Championship if they can’t play some of the PGA-partnered events hosted by other entities.
Why Are LIV Golfers Playing in the PGA Championship?
LIV Golfers can play in the PGA Championship because the PGA Championship criteria don’t require all participants to be PGA members. Even former members can participate as long as they meet the championship entry requirements.
The PGA Championship requirements are:
- All former PGA Champions
- The winners of the five US Opens prior to the specific PGA Championship event
- The winners of the five Masters prior to the specific PGA Championship event
- The winners of the five Open Championships prior to the specific PGA Championship event
- The winners of the three The Players Championships prior to the specific PGA Championship event
- The current holder of the Senior PGA Championship title
- The 15 golfers with the lowest scores and ties in the previous PGA Championship
- The 20 golfers with the lowest score in the last PGA Professional Championship
- The 70 top golfers in the official money standings leaderboard on the PGA Tour
- All the members of the most recent United States and European Ryder Cup Teams (as long as they are in the top 100 of the Official World Golf Ranking as of one week prior to the start of the tournament)
- Winner of any tournament co-sponsored, co-hosted, or officially approved by the PGA Tour, since the previous PGA Championship
- Any player invited by the PGA of America
- A maximum of 156 players make up the field. Vacancies are filled by availability from the list of alternates (those under the 70th spot in official money standings)
As of 2023, Cameron Smith cannot be stopped from playing in the PGA Championship because he is a former champion. Phil Mickelson cannot be barred for the same reason, as he is the 2021 PGA Champion.
Dustin Johnson is the winner of the 2020 Masters, giving him a free pass to the majors, including the PGA Championship, until 2025. Bryson DeChambeau is a LIV Golfer who won the 2020 US Open, which means he can play in the Majors until 2025.
Brooks Koepka is a LIV Golfer with a 2019 PGA Championship win, which gives him a free pass to enter the majors until 2024. Patrick Reed is a LIV Golfer who won the 2018 Masters, which means he can enter the Majors until 2023.
Martin Kaymer can play in the PGA Championship for life because he is a former PGA Champion.
Until the PGA changes its criteria for the PGA Championship, former US Majors champs and PGA champions specifically can play in the majors.
LIV Golf Payouts: How much is LIV Golf Paying Players?
LIV Golf’s signing bonuses are not officially disclosed though the chairman of the league mentioned that the offer extended to Tiger Woods was a 9-figure one, which he refused.
Signing bonuses are speculated to be in the hundreds of millions, with the Cam Smith offer being most consistently cited at around $225 million.
In terms of purse and compensation, the official numbers regarding what LIV Golf is paying are as follows:
- The one team that wins out of the twelve competing gets $16 million, split four ways.
- The second team gets $10 million, while the third gets $8 million.
- The rest of the teams get $1 million each, split 4 ways.
This means that the minimum earnings for a LIV Golfer in the way of tournament purse are $250,000, and the maximum earnings are $4 million per player. The players in the top three teams get $2 million to $ 4 million, while the remaining players get $250,000 each.
Aside from this, the players get an undisclosed amount of money as their signing bonuses.
How Many Golfers Left PGA For LIV?
66 Golfers have left the PGA for LIV Golf as the Golf Tour plans to expand from a 48-player tour to a full-fledged Golf League with its own majors.
The full list of PGA defectors who left to join LIV Golf is as follows:
- Cameron Smith – Ranked #2 in the world at the time of signing with the LIV Golf.
- Joaquin Niemann – Signed with LIV Golf while ranking #19 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
- Dustin Johnson (USA) – #22 in the world at the time of signing to tee off in LIV Golf.
- Abraham Ancer (ESP) – #24, according to the OWGR, at the time of signing up for LIV Golf.
- Brooks Koepka (USA) – #26 in the world rankings when he defected from the PGA.
- Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) – Left the PGA when he was #31 in the world and joined LIV Golf.
- Bryson DeChambeau (USA) – Became a LIV Golfer while ranking #37 in the world.
- Kevin Na (USA) – Became the first LIV Golfer to leave the PGA prior to his move. He was #34 in OWGR when he did this.
- Jason Kokrak (USA) – Ranking #38 in the world, Kokrak, left the PGA for LIV Golf.
- Talor Gooch (USA) – Gooch Left the PGA for LIV Golf when ranked #45 in the OWGR.
- Harold Varner III – Varner became a LIV Golfers when he was #46 in the world.
- Patrick Reed (USA) – A household name in Golf, Reed left the PGA for LIV while ranking #50 globally.
- Cameron Tringale (USA) – Became a LIV Golfer when he was #55 according to the OWGR.
- Marc Leishman (AUS) – The Australian Golfer was #62 in the world when he joined the LIV Golf league.
- Sergio Garcia (ESP) – #74 according to the OWGR when he became a LIV Golfer.
- Pablo Larrazabal (ESP) – LEft the PGA while ranking #70 in the world. Became a LIV Golfer soon after.
- Anirban Lahiri (IND) – Lahiri became a LIV Golfer while he ranked #92 according to the OWGR.
- Matthew Wolff (USA) – Wolff was in the top hundred but was the #100 in OWGR when he left the PGA to become a LIV Golfer.
- Matt Jones (AUS) – Jones was #82 globally at the time of joining LIV. He is no longer a PGA golfer.
- Richard Bland (ENG) – Stopped being a PGA Golfer while ranking #79 in the world. Bland is now a LIV Golfer.
- Bubba Watson (USA) Bubba was just above Wolff when he joined LIV Golf as the #99 in the world, leaving PGA.
- Shaun Norris (RSA) – Norris was #93 when he joined LIV Golf and left the PGA.
- Sam Horsfield (ENG) – The Englishman left his PGA Golf perks and became a LIV Golfer while ranking #95 in the world.
- Lee Westwood (ENG) – Not in the top 100, but still a force in global Golf, Lee Westwood left the PGA while ranking #102. He is now a LIV Golfer.
- Phil Mickelson (USA) – The legendary Phil Mickelson was #109 soon after leaving the PGA for LIV Golf and missing out on a series of PGA events in the aftermath.
- Scott Vincent (ZIM) – One year after LIV Golf, Vincent’s global ranking is #81 since he left the PGA in favor of the Saudi-backed golf league.
- Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA) – The Thai golfer is #91 as of 2023, after leaving the PGA to join LIV Golf.
- Oliver Bekker (RSA) – Becker left the PGA when he ranked #104 in the world to join LIV Golf.
- Ryosuke Kinoshita (JPN) – #119 golfer in the world at the time, Kinoshita chose LIV Golf over the PGA Tour and was subsequently rendered unable to play in PGA Japan events.
- Ian Poulter (ENG) – Poulter left the PGA when he ranked #111, according to the OWGR.
- Hudson Swafford (USA) – Swafford was #115 globally when he left PGA to join LIV Golf.
- Bernd Wiesberger (AUT) – Wiesberger was #110 soon after leaving the PGA to join LIV Golf.
- Jinichiro Kozuma (JPN) – Kozuma favored LIV over PGA. At the time of his joining announcement, he had the #134 spot.
- Justin Harding (RSA) – Harding was #131 globally when he left the PGA for LIV Golf. He will need to play non-LIV tournaments to collect OWGR points.
- Charl Schwartzel (RSA) – #126 globally at the time of joining LIV after leaving the PGA. Schwartzel has become one of the mid-tier PGA players to have favored the upstart league.
- Carlos Ortiz (ESP) Ortiz is a household name in Golf. He left the PGA while ranking #146 and joined the Saudi-backed league.
- Branden Grace (RSA) – Grace left the PGA for LIV Golf while ranking #145, according to the OWGR.
- Laurie Canter (ENG) – When Canter left the PGA to join LIV Golf, he had the #139 OWGR ranking.
- Hennie Du Plessis (RSA) – #165 in the world according to OWGR, Du Plessis left the PGA to join LIV Golf.
- Phachara Khongwatmai (THA) Khongwatmai left PGA to join LIV Golf as the #142 golfer in the world. Whether he can rise above in rankings without LIV Golf being accredited by the OWGR remains to be seen.
- Sihwan Kim (USA) – Kim was #157 in OWGR rankings when he joined LIV Golf.
- Henrik Stenson (SWE) – Stenson left the PGA for LIV Golf while ranking #179 globally.
- Charles Howell III (USA) – Charles Howell III was tied with Stenson for #179 in OWGR charts when he left the PGA for a LIV Golfing gig.
- Adrian Otaegui (ESP) – Left PGA Golf to be a part of LIV Golf while ranking #159 globally.
- JC Ritchie (RSA) – A mid-value acquisition for the LIV Golf league, Ritchie had the #200 rank in the world when he ditched the PGA.
- Pat Perez (USA) – Perez was #196 globally when he left PGA for LIV Golf.
- Hideto Tanihara (JPN) – Tahinara’s #236 standing might tank further if LIV Golf doesn’t get accredited by OWGR since he is unable to play in the PGA Tour.
- Martin Kaymer (GER) – Kaymer is a LIV Golfer with a history of golfing for the PGA. Hi ranking at the time of his departure to the Saudi league was #338.
- Jediah Morgan (AUS) – The Australian Golfer was #296 when he became a LIV Golfer.
- Ratchanon “TK” Chantananuwat* (THA) – The Thai Amateur favored LIV Golf over the PGA while ranking #321 in the world.
- Blake Windred (AUS) – Windred was #366 when he became a LIV Golfer. He is no longer allowed to play at PGA tour events.
- Wade Ormsby (AUS) – Ormsby left PGA to play for LIV Golf while ranking #362 globally according to the OWGR rankings.
- Peter Uihlein (USA) – Uihlein now plays for LIV Golf, having left the PGA when he had the #361 rank in the world.
- Graeme McDowell (NIR) – Graeme McDowell might not have a great rank as of late, but he’s a popular Golfer who will be missed in the PGA after having affiliated with LIV Golf while ranking #399 as per the OWGR.
- Ian Snyman (RSA) – #430 in the world at the time, Snyman prioritized the PGA, which could have helped him improve his world ranking in favor of LIV Golf.
- Travis Smyth (AUS) Travis Smyth is ranked #440 as of the time of leaving PGA Golf in favor of LIV Golf.
- Viraj Madappa (IND) – #561 Golfer Viraj Madappa is now a LIV Golfer and is not allowed to play PGA tour events until the PGA changes its mind regarding LIV Golfers.
- Itthipat Buranatanyarat (THA) – Itthipat Buranatanyarat is another LIV Golfer who left the PGA, in favor of a league that will not earn him global ranking points for the foreseeable future. He was ranked #486 at the time of exercising this decision.
- Turk Pettit (USA) – Petit moved to LIV Golf when he was ranked #650. Whether he manages to get his ranking up is yet to be seen now that he cannot earn points in PGA.
- Kevin Yuan (AUS) – Kevin Yuan is one of the handful of golfers who weren’t in the top thousand yet managed to get a LIV Golf contract. He was ranked #1,051 at the time of leaving PGA.
- Oliver Fisher (ENG) – Fisher was ranked #1,241 when he left the PGA for LIV Golf.
- Andy Ogletree (USA) – #1,510 globally at the time, Ogletree opted for a league that wouldn’t earn him global ranking points. Now, he’s a LIV Golfer without PGA tour prospects.
- Chase Koepka (USA) – Chase Koepka was #1,615 when he became a LIV Golfer. He is related to Brooks Koepka, who was poached by LIV after Chase.
- James Piot* (USA) – Piot is an amateur, ranking at #2,326 at the time of quitting PGA in favor of LIV Golf.
- David Puig* (ESP) – David Piug was #2,326 as an amateur when he decided to pursue a professional career with LIV Golf instead of PGA.
- Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra (ESP) – While he was #2,326 at the time of joining LIV Golf, the Spaniard dropped another thousand points in the ranking before ultimately being cut.
Can LIV Players Play in the Masters?
sLIV Players can play in the Masters because PGA membership isn’t mandatory for the majors.
Masters criteria allow previous Majors champions to compete in the Masters for 5 years after their previous wins.
How Many Golfers Are Allowed In A LIV Golf Tournament?
LIV Golf tournament can be played by 48 golfers divided into 12 teams of 4. The format is currently being revised as LIV Golf is set to turn into a full-fledged league.
Among the things that are expected to change are the number of players, the number of events, and even potential majors, as the LIV Golf league plans to become a stronger competitor for the PGA.
Final Thoughts on the LIV Golf Tour in 2024
LIV Golf is a Saudi Golf league that started as a golf tour. It is not accredited by the OWGR as of 2023, as its application for recognition is under process.
Until then, the golfers playing at its events don’t get to collect points for their performance. But as per speculation, they collect enough money to make it worth their while.
The PGA doesn’t allow LIV Golfers to play in its tour stops, but its majors remain open to the peak performers who are ex-PGA Major Champions and are now ex-PGA Players.