No matter which way a person spins, Leaf golf related to money.
That’s why 13 main champions – all but four of them under the age of 40 – participated in the Saudi-funded league. It offers 54 uncut holes for a 48-player field, a limited schedule and team competition these guys haven’t enjoyed since they were amateurs – and none of it is attractive without the money.
Ridiculous money, sure, but it’s now starting to look very real with seven singles events from LIV Golf in its inaugural year. Forget signing bonuses for a moment, which are said to be in the $235 million range for the biggest names.
Dustin Johnson Biggest Pull From Start – has crossed $49 million in just five months, of which $28 million is from the season’s roster winning bonus. This is not a big surprise.
“I’m really sorry for my decision to come here. It’s just so appalling,” Johnson said, his sarcasm ticking higher than his pulse.
Most worrisome is Peter Uihlein, the former US Amateur Champion who started his career on the Challenge Tour in Europe. In his last five years on the PGA Tour, Uihlein has grossed just over $6 million. He single-handedly earned that much in bonus as he finished third in the points race, taking his total for seven events to over $17.8 million.
Branden Grace scored just over $24.7 million, compared to the $19.32 million he made in his entire eight seasons on the PGA Tour.
The money is real, and it gets attention.
“I knew it was going to happen,” Jordan Spieth said. “When you see those portfolios ($39.5 million per event) and then the rewards ($47.5 million for the top three players), someone would have had $30 million (AU$47 million) to $40 million (AU$63 million) in the cycle. .”
What he doesn’t know is whether that money counts for the signing bonus. LIV Golf said it doesn’t. One of her lawyers suggested otherwise in a court hearing.
Either way, there is a lot of money out there. The temptation won’t go away, and there’s a reason the PGA Tour remains on edge.
The eight players who have made at least $9.5 million since June — there is still a $79 million prize fund in the team championship next week — include Spain’s Eugenio Chacara, who left Oklahoma State after three years to join LIV Golf.
He won in Thailand and earned $6.3 million. Throw in the team results, and Chacarra received $9.7 million.
“I don’t care because I’m happy,” said Speth. “I don’t think the numbers you mentioned would make me any happier.” “But what I’m interested in is the impact it might have on some of the guys on the PGA Tour.
“If you’re talking about Chacarra, guys like him are coming out, it’s a real threat when you see the total and realize they haven’t had a full season yet.”
LIV Golf plans a 14 tournament schedule for 2023.
Spieth also mentioned the world ranking points, whether LIV Golf ever got it and how much it would be worth if it did. Currently, ranking points are a big part of the standards for major leagues.
Money or specialties?
It’s an easy answer for John Ram, who said he only cared about being the best in the world when he left the Basque Country of Spain for Arizona. As the world’s No. 1 US Open champion, who earned about $79 million through 15 wins in two rounds, he said it would take more than a 54-hole event with no chops to tempt him to change lanes. .
But he thinks of Chakara, and perhaps others like him.
“That’s what you wonder,” Ram said. “He won a championship. He won ($9.5 million) and he’s not going to be in any of the majors and he won’t be eligible for the Ryder Cup next year. Is that what you wanted, just playing golf to achieve it or did you grow up to win majors and play the Ryder Cups?”
“I’m not going to lie. If you asked me in 2016 and offered me $50 million (AU$79 million) to play LIV, I don’t know if I could go to my dad and say, ‘We’re going to say no. I don’t know if I could tell you I wouldn’t have accepted it.'” And a lot of guys will do the same when you have none and offer that as collateral.”
Ram once faced temptation on a smaller scale. He was a junior in Arizona when he tied for fifth at the 2015 Phoenix Open, turning down nearly $400,000 to remain an amateur and earn his college degree.
“One thing we loved was the Jack-in-the-Box run of these tacos at $2 for $1,” Ram said. “At that point, we translated everything into tacos.” “One of my roommates said, ‘You gave up half a million tacos, man.’ You could have eaten for the rest of your life.”
One of the notes when LIV Golf signed on to the first group of players was that while the PGA Tour was still the ultimate destination, it lost market shares that day.
The trick is to renew the pipeline. Cameron Young, Will Xalatores, and Tom Kim appeared this year. Ram said it was essential that the PGA Tour not wait for the stars to develop and pay attention to the burgeoning college game.
“I think they need to create a better path,” Ram said. “Right now it’s really tough. There’s a lot of talent missing in Canada and Latin America. Every other major sport has a direct path to the majors from college except for golf.”
Chakara has taken a different path and has $9.5 million to show for it. It’s a lot of money for a college student. It’s real. There is much to come.
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