High Stakes and Low Scores: LIV Golf League is Aiming for PGA’s Top Spot



A new golf league called LIV is competing for the well known golf league PGA spot and has already made many professional golfers switch to the new league. https://unsplash.com/license

Charlie Raynor

The Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA) has long been the pinnacle of professional golf. All of the world’s best golfers convene every few months for tournaments across the globe with millions on the line for the winner. The PGA Tour dominated the professional golf scene, until a new league, founded last year, has many golfers leaving the PGA Tour for the LIV Golf tour.

The new golf league, founded in 2021 with tournaments starting in June of 2022, offers a more laid-back approach to golf, a higher player compensation, different formats and fewer yearly events than the PGA.

LIV Golf has a roster of 48 professional members, with an unconventional style of play for tournaments. The 48 golfers are split into 12 teams of four, and a captain of each team drafts players. The PGA Tour has historically been a solo event, with golfers facing off against each other for the lowest score. Instead of the average four rounds in a PGA Tournament, there are three rounds in a LIV Golf Tournament, and the winner of the tournaments is the team that averaged out to the three lowest rounds. The purse for the winners is $4 million, and anyone that participates is guaranteed $125,000 – much higher earnings than the PGA.

Some of the world’s best golfers, such as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau have all left the PGA Tour for huge pay raises. Mickelson is reportedly receiving upwards of $200 million, Johnson around $150 million, and DeChambeau’s contract has not been disclosed, though he almost definitely received a similar pay when joining.

This new league has already been met with its fair share of controversy. LIV Golf gets most of its money from Saudi Arabian royalty, which has been known for the killings of Washington Post journalist Jamal Kashoggi along with a slew of other major human rights violations. This has caused many golf fans to protest LIV Golf and its owners and the PGA banning any professional golfers that compete in the league. 

Even with many fans’ protests and their controversial human rights record, LIV Golf has seen high amounts of success due to savvy marketing and fun-to-watch tournaments. LIV markets itself as a more playful version of the PGA Tour by following recent online trends and having golfers wear microphones while playing. These have played a big role in the current success of the league, though only time will tell if the PGA Tour will continue to be the pinnacle of professional golf or if LIV Golf will front a new era for the next generation of players.