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Many reasons have been thrown around by the golfers who defected from the PGA Tour to join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational.
A different format, the ability to play less golf, the PGA Tour doesn’t let golfers profit off of their digital assets, etc. But it all comes down to one thing – money.
The LIV Tour reportedly paid out crazy money to golfers such as Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson to entice them to join the tour, and that was just the signing bonuses. LIV has large paydays for the winner of events, a reality that Charl Schwartzel realized when he won LIV’s first tournament in June.
Schwartzel took home a whopping $4.75 million for winning the inaugural tournament, and he isn’t shying away from saying the money played a major role in his decision to defect from the PGA Tour.
“That’s the whole thing,” Schwartzel said, according to GolfWeek, “it’s beyond everybody’s imagination. You can’t lie (and say) it’s not about the money. There’s a lot of money out there and it’s more than any guy has ever played for.”
The money has certainly caught the attention of the PGA Tour, which recently announced the addition of eight events with a total purse of $160 million to the 2023 calendar.
“There is more work to be done and details to confirm,” PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a lengthy press conference at TPC River Highlands, “but implementing substantial changes to our schedule gives us the best opportunity to not only drive earnings to our players, but also improve our product and create a platform for continued growth in the future.”
The LIV Tour is currently playing its second event, and first in the U.S., at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Portland, Oregon.