We’ve written quite a bit about how LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed golf league, has been poaching players from the PGA Tour. LIV events play 54 holes instead of the traditional 72 and there’s no cut line, offering a more laid-back feel.
Oh yes, and perhaps the most intriguing element: LIV pays a ton of money to its golfers. It’s offered nine-figure deals to some of the top PGA Tour stars, who have jumped at the chance to make millions. Among those stars are Phil Mickelson — who signed a $200 million deal with LIV — and Dustin Johnson, who agreed to a $125 million contract from LIV.
And in just five events, Johnson has already made north of $12.5 million — more than he’s ever made during a single PGA Tour season. He just finished second in Chicago, which paid him $1,812,500, and winning in Boston earlier this year gave him an even $4 million.
For most golfers, the chance to earn big piles of money is the most enticing part of playing in LIV events. Even last-place finishers can score huge paydays — five golfers finished tied for 44th at the Chicago event, 19 shots behind the winner. Each of them walked away with $124,000.
The PGA Tour has promised harsh sanctions against the golfers who leave for LIV Golf, and there’s the ongoing moral issue of accepting money from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which has been involved in several human rights violations.
Yet nearly 50 golfers have overlooked both of those things to participate in LIV events. And from a purely financial standpoint, it’s hard to argue with the results. Johnson has played in only five events but is making more than $2.5 million per start.
It’ll be interesting to see how the LIV vs. PGA Tour battle plays out. For now, Johnson is reaping the rewards of his success on the golf course like never before.