LIV players react to PGA Tour prize money increase
NORTH PLAINS, Ore. – Last week, the PGA Tour announced higher salaries and new events, among other measures to combat the Saudi Arabia-funded LIV Tour.
How does this affect LIV golfers?
“I think it’s great for the guys out there that LIV might have done other tours to increase their opportunities,” Martin Kaymer said on Wednesday. “I think it’s good for all players. I think the bottom line is it’s great for the members of the tour, but somehow it all comes across as a battle against each other. It’s not, or shouldn’t be, the case.”
Kaymer and his fellow LIVs may not be interested in trading barbs, but these are still coming their way. As LIV hosts its first tournament in the United States and second tournament at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club outside of Portland this week, LIV does so amid further criticism from Rory McIroy, who said players who have left the PGA Tour are looking to LIV have done so in a “double” fashion, and several Oregon officials, including Sen. Ron Wyden, who are taking note of Saudi Arabia’s ugly human rights record.
With more big names signing with LIV in recent days, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan unveiled changes for the 2023 season to help retain talent. These include a multi-million dollar increase in prize money at eight of the PGA Tour’s major tournaments and a calendar-year schedule to lessen the demands on its golfers, which is one of the appeals of LIV, along with the myriad player cash boosts. Path.
However, it doesn’t sound like there are many regrets on the LIV side.
“Personally, I’m happy for the guys on the PGA Tour,” said Sergio Garcia. “I’m glad they can enjoy it. I’ll just say it like that.”
Is there anything the Tour could have done to prevent more players from leaving? Garcia, Kaymer, and Lee Westwood all mentioned transparency and communication as pitfalls without going into specifics.
They also expressed disappointment with the European Tour, which just announced a 13-year extension of its partnership with the PGA Tour and recently fined LIV players $120,000 each and banned them from attending three of their next four events prohibited. The exception is The Open Championship, which has previously announced that LIV players will be able to compete at St Andrews in Scotland next month.
“I’ve been a member of the European Tour for 29 years,” said Westwood, who, like Kaymer and Garcia, is a native European, “and for many of those years I’ve also been a member of the PGA Tour and the European Tour, for as long as I’ve had my four (events to maintain membership) never had any problem playing anywhere else and now it seems to be a problem.
“Yes, communication, and in terms of fines and penalties and things like that, I’m disappointed.”
Monahan has openly opposed Saudi Arabia and its seemingly bottomless sovereign wealth fund funding LIV Golf.
With less than two events, LIV players are already seasoned veterans in dealing with these questions. But they also emphasize that their own handsome compensation is a net credit among golfers.
“I think if we look back in 12 months, yes there were some issues. There were some difficulties. But I firmly believe in all tours,” said Kaymer. “…If LIV Golf helps the PGA Tour and the European Tour to offer even better playing opportunities and provide even more financial support to the players, I think it’s a win-win situation.”
“The competition is good,” added Westwood. “Keep it simple.”