How LIV Golf rips the sport apart, in 3 charts

Looks like you can’t go a week without players from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf sniping each other out in the press. The Latest version Perhaps the two biggest fundamentals of golf’s Civil War – Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy – emerged in the round that represents the game’s future. This argument has been at the heart of the battle that has torn professional golf apart since the Saudi-backed LIV golf course came onto the scene earlier this year.

From discussions on the ethics of assisting LIV Golf’sports wash“Human rights abuses by the Saudi royal family over questions about professional golfers LIV Golf have given them greater financial leverage, it is not melodramatic to frame the PGA Tour-vs-LIV golf battle as a battle for the spirit of the sport itself. But how we got to a rupture point A major two-way sport, within Just under a year?

One of the big reasons why the meteoric rise of LIV Golf has created such a huge rift in the sport is simply the amount of names the rookie round has pulled off in such a short period of time. When Mickelson became the first golfer to publicly consider the idea of ​​a split from the PGA Tour – in comments Introduced to journalist Alan Shipnock, First published in February – he is ranked between The 100 best players in the world (and was Defend the PGA Champion), but he was pretty much off the island when he was 51 in prime days Perhaps they were far behind him. However, in the time since then, LIV Golf has managed to significantly upgrade its roster: Forty-four of the world’s top 150 players have left as of June 11 for the Rebel Tour:

The timeline chart shows Phil Mickelson, the first player to join LIV on February 17, 2022, and 15 weeks before other players start joining.  Most of them join the week before or the week of the first LIV tournament.  In the end, 44 out of 150 top golfers joined the LIV.
The timeline chart shows Phil Mickelson, the first player to join LIV on February 17, 2022, and 15 weeks before other players start joining.  Most of them join the week before or the week of the first LIV tournament.  In the end, 44 out of 150 top golfers joined the LIV.

That group includes the 2022 British Open champion Cameron Smith, who They defected from LIV Golf in August. While the majority of top golfers still play on the PGA Tour and/or Affiliate organizationsThe fact that nearly a third of them jumped ship helps explain the shock waves that set off LIV Golf within the golf world.

And if you want to know why they left… well, it’s all about the money. (When is it ever Not?) We compared PGA Tour and LIV Golf per-course earnings for players who transitioned from the former in 2020-21 – the last full PGA Tour season without LIV Golf as a competitor – to the latter in 2022, and the differences for most players range from a modest increase in LIV Golf to an increase Astronomical in money for any given event:

For some golfers, like Smith, this at least partly reflects the benefits of a well-timed career year. (Kan Smith almost doubled His previous career high earnings in the PGA Tour season even before moving to LIV Golf.) Some of LIV Golf’s higher payouts per event is also a function of getting more money going to fewer events – he’s been there Seven since June 11compared to 19 to PGA Tour – Although most of the big players play a fraction of the total events in the calendar anyway. But it is primarily a testament to the amount of money the Saudi government has spent to lure elite golfers out of the PGA Tour’s sphere of influence. According to The Athletic$2 billion of the $620 billion from the country’s Public Investment Fund to spend on the startup’s golf round — and that money has contributed to the talk so far.

In fact, another way we can see the impact of LIV Golf’s presence on the professional golf industry is how the PGA Tour reacted to those splits. in different points Summer and Autumn Commissioner Jay Monahan announce That the tour will work with the players Prize money increase Multiple events on the calendar for future seasons – obviously in an effort to retain players who are considering the idea of ​​moving to LIV Golf.

Two warm charts show the value of the bags for the PGA Tour and LIV events.  The Top Bee Party shows the 2021-22 season, with LIV bags costing $20 million per event, far more than nearly all other PGA events.  The second Bee Shows announced for 2023, the PGA increased the value of six events, but LIV raised the value of all of its events to $25 million.
Two warm charts show the value of the bags for the PGA Tour and LIV events.  The Top Bee Party shows the 2021-22 season, with LIV bags costing $20 million per event, far more than nearly all other PGA events.  The second Bee Shows announced for 2023, the PGA increased the value of six events, but LIV raised the value of all of its events to $25 million.

In response to the reply, LIV Golf also Announcing an increase in prize pools For its events, which sparked what many called arms race between the two competing rounds. The increased pressure to acquire and retain talent may be a good thing for high-level players in the short term, but it remains unclear where the bitter battle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf will ultimately leave the sport.

A successful LIV Golf will do nothing to discourage types Human rights violations Critics say the Saudi government is using golf as a blackout. Meanwhile, if big players continue to defect in greater numbers, LIV Golf may become a less viable option for the middle and lower class of players, who The situation in the round is actually the most fragile. (In addition to that file Younger players who join LIV Golf directly Among the ranks of amateurs can find themselves You will never qualify for the PGA Tour.) Although there are historical cases Competing leagues Forced mergers and Upgrading existing organizations They competed with her once, and there are also opposite examples in the case of a split She left her sport in tatters.

What outcome will golfers find themselves in when the smoke clears up in this fight? Only time will prove it.

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