London, New York, Mexico City (11/3 – 18)
PGA is looking gloomy – are the fat years over? The emergence in 2019 of LIV Golf has spectacularly upset the status quo, posing a threat as a rival to the PGA Tour monopoly, as the leading professional golf tour in the world. Newcomer LIV Golf brazenly hijacked a number of some of the most famous professional golfers from the PGA Tour, luring them away with more lucrative deals.
Several major champions and former world numbers, including names like Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, and Patrick Reed are now playing for LIV Golf – no real surprise, since the LIV Golf competition system is considerably more attractive for athletes in general. For instance, they impose no cuts in their tournament, meaning that every LIV Golf player is guaranteed a payout.
Then there was the handsome TV deal concluded in the United States of America. The rise of LIV Golf has forced the comfortable PGA Tour monopoly to hurriedly revise its policies in turn. They will reportedly implement changes making the way they deal with players similar to that of LIV Golf.
Starting in 2024, the PGA Tour plans to field 16 designated events, including the four majors. While field sizes and formats for eight of those tournaments will not be subject to change, other eight designated events will have limited fields of 70-80 players and no cuts. Top PGA Tour players welcome these planned changes.
World number one player Jon Rahm even credited LIV Golf as the impetus of changes in the PGA Tour. “Oh, it’s LIV Golf. Without a doubt,” said Jon, as quoted by Sports Illustrated. “Without LIV Golf, this wouldn’t have happened. To an extent, we should be thankful this threat has made the PGA Tour want to change things. I wish it didn’t come to the PGA Tour being under fire from somebody else to make those changes and make things better for the players. But I guess it is what we needed. So yeah, it is because of LIV Golf – otherwise, we wouldn’t have seen any of this.”
World number three player Rory McIlroy commented that the threat that LIV Golf posed for the PGA Tour now benefits every professional golfer. “I think the emergence of LIV or the emergence of a competitor to the PGA Tour has benefited everyone that plays elite professional golf,’” he said. “I think when you’ve been the biggest golf league in the biggest market in the world for the last 60 years, there’s not a lot of incentive to innovate.”
“This has caused a ton of innovation at the PGA Tour, and what was quite I would say an antiquated system is being revamped to try to mirror where we’re at in the world in the 21st century with the media landscape. The PGA Tour isn’t just competing with LIV Golf or other sports. It’s competing with Instagram and TikTok and everything else that’s trying to take eyeballs away from the PGA Tour as a product.”
The LIV Golf League is now in its second season. 2023 will welcome fourteen 54-hole tournaments, featuring 48 players and no cuts. Participants are to be divided into 12 teams and players will remain with that team throughout the entire season. The league started on February 26 in Mexico.
Charles Howell III from the Crushers GC team is the winner of LIV Golf Mayakoba. The next event is on March 19, with LIV Golf Tucson in the United States.