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The PGA Tour won its first legal battle with LIV Golf on Tuesday afternoon. The three LIV golfers being denied a temporary restraining order to compete in the FedEx Cup Playoffs wasn’t the only story to come from the hearing, however. We also learned that LIV Golf prize money could be being recouped.
During the early stages of Tuesday’s trial, a lawyer representing LIV Golf said that the money won in tournaments “is recouped against the LIV contracts.”
This directly contradicts everything we’ve been told about prize money and payouts for LIV golfers.
JUDGE HANDS PGA TOUR A WIN IN ITS FIRST LEGAL BATTLE WITH LIV GOLF
In June, Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee was the first to report that the prize money awarded at LIV Golf events was taken out of player signing bonuses.
In other words, if Chamblee and the lawyer’s statements are correct, then LIV golfers are competing for nothing other than a trophy.
Prior to the second LIV Golf event in Portland at the end of June, Pat Perez was asked about Chamblee’s report and completely shut it down.
“Chamblee was banging that drum the other day,” Perez said, implying that LIV prize purses are in addition to their sign-on fees. During that same press conference, Brooks Koepka was asked if tournament prize money was in addition to sign-on fees, to which he responded by saying “I don’t know, it’s irrelevant.”
Here's video to the contrary.pic.twitter.com/D0b9T4nyoL https://t.co/SwHyQUostR
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) August 9, 2022
Chamblee has since deleted his tweet claiming that prize purses were taken out of player contracts. Charl Schwartzel, the winner of LIV Golf’s inaugural event, replied to Chamblee’s comments on Twitter.
Sorry to disappoint you Brandel but what you claiming happened is untrue.
— Charl Schwartzel (@CA_Schwartzel) June 28, 2022
During Wednesday’s hearing, Golf Channel’s Eamon Lynch also tweeted about the lawyer’s statement. He noted that the lawyer said the prize money is recouped “in some contracts.”
Does It Actually Matter If LIV Prize Money Is Recouped?
From an optics standpoint, LIV golfers saying that prize money is in addition to their sign-on bonuses and a lawyer saying the complete opposite isn’t great. When you take away those optics, however, does it really matter if the prize money is actually recouped?
Steph Curry, Aaron Rodgers, Mike Trout, and professional athletes in other sports sign a massive contracts and get paid on said contracts. Sure, many contracts have player incentives and bonuses built in, but who’s to say the same isn’t true in some of the LIV golf contracts?
It may have looked better if LIV Golf was upfront about its payouts, assuming the lawyer’s statement was accurate. Then again, if LIV was honest from day one the media would have spun yet another negative narrative that ‘these guys are playing for nothing.’
At the end of the day, Bryson DeChambeau reportedly signed a $100 million contract to join LIV Golf. If he goes out and wins a LIV event and all he has to show for it is a trophy, well, he’s still got that $100 million.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris