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The LIV Golf Invitational Series used its superior purse to place itself in an exclusive group of golf leagues — luring top-name talent, including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and others.
The Saudi funding behind LIV has fueled the most commentary, with members from the PGA Tour speaking ardently against the moves and asking to preserve the integrity of the sport by opting not to join LIV.
Bryson DeChambeau spoke with the media on Tuesday in a press conference, via Forbes, to remind fans that the game is often all about the money, calling his addition to LIV a “business decision” after signing on for $100 million.
Fellow golfers Abraham Ancer and Matthew Wolff joined the call ahead of LIV’s second event, slated to tee off on Thursday.
DeChambeau has consistently stated that the money offered by LIV was too good to give up.
“Golf is a force for good,” DeChambeau said. “As time goes on, hopefully people will see the good they’re (the Saudis) doing. And what they’re trying to accomplish, rather than looking back at the bad that’s happened before.
Joining LIV has been challenged for a variety of issues: from being funded by Saudi “blood money” to hosting several of their annual events at Trump-owned courses.
“And moving on from that is important. And continuing to move forward in a positive light is something that could be a force for good for the future of the game,” DeChambeau added.
PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan condemned LIV participants back in May, announcing a ban on those who participated as retaliation for accepting the Saudi funds.
“It’s a money thing,” Wolff bluntly told the media, adding that the format has also been a draw compared to established golf leagues.
“In college, I felt like I really thrived,” said Wolff. “There’s something to be said about playing hard for yourself and for your caddy but when you know people are relying on you, it’s different. The best comes out when you’re on a team. That dynamic really suited me.”
The Greg Norman-organized LIV used its pockets to legitimize itself, landing golf staples Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson to its roster for $200 million and $150 million deals, respectively.
Charl Schwartzel won the first LIV event at The Centurion Club in London earlier this month — winning the biggest first-place check in the history of golf at $4 million. LIV continues to boast deeper pockets than fellow leagues, putting pressure on them to up their purses.
The LIV series tees off for its second event this upcoming Thursday, held at Pumpkin Ridge near Portland, Oregon.
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Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela