PGA Tour Vs LIV Golf: Everything You Need To Know

Traditionalists who support the PGA Tour criticized the newly introduced series, while many condemned the LIV Golf for political reasons.

LIV Golf (In a file photo)
By Abhiruchi Rout | Dec 6, 2022 | 5 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

The PGA Tour is the entity in charge of planning professional golf tours. The PGA Tour, formerly known as the “Tournament Players Division,” took on the name “PGA Tour” in 1975. It oversees the majority of the weekly professional golf competitions including The Sentry Tournament of Champions, The Players Championship, the FedEx Cup, The Tour Championship, the Fortinet Championship, the Phoenix Open and the biennial Presidents Cup. The Professional Golfers’ Association of America was established on April 10, 1916, and this date serves as the historical foundation of the current PGA Tour.

The LIV Golf League, intended to compete with the current PGA Tour, attempts to bring the roots of arena-style sporting events into the realm of golf. The LIV Golf Invitational, formerly known as the Super Golf League, is a Saudi-funded initiative that consists of eight invitational tournaments with no cuts, shotgun starts, and a $255 million purse. Greg Norman, the two-time Open champion and former World No.1, is the face of the league.  It represents the roman number 54, which is also the total number of holes to be played in each event.

Why LIV Golf sparked controversy?

Former golfer and CEO of LIV Golf Investments, Greg Norman

Traditionalists who support the PGA Tour criticized the newly announced series, while many condemned the LIV Golf for political reasons. LIV Golf Investments, whose CEO is Greg Norman, provides financial support for the league. The Public Investment Fund (PIF), a sovereign wealth fund that owns Newcastle Football Club, is the company’s major shareholder. Due to the PIF’s connections to the Saudi government, LIV Golf has been charged with sports washing. (The practise of people, organisations, businesses, or governments utilising sports to rebuild reputations damaged by wrongdoing is known as “sports washing.”) The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, serves as the PIF’s chairman. He is charged with ordering the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist who condemned the Saudi government.

It is also speculated that the Saudi government was involved in the 9/11 attacks in New York. This gained attention after PGA Tour golfers received an open letter from families of those who died or were injured during the September 11 attacks. Approximately 2,500 individuals praised the golfers for not supporting LIV. However, after numerous players received sizable salaries to compete in the series, the debate around LIV Golf became uglier. The PGA Tour has also banned the golfers who joined the LIV Golf, thus breaking their ties with the PGA.

Who all are the golfers to have joined the Saudi-sponsored tournament?

Among the big names who have shifted to LIV Golf are former World No.1 and two-time Major champion Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson who is a six-time Major champion , four-time Major champion Brooks Koepka, the US Open 2020 winner Bryson DeChambeau, other Masters champions Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia and Charl Schwartzel, three-time PGA Tour winner Jason Kokrak, former Open champions Henrik Stenson and Louis Oosthuizen, and Ryder Cup stars Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Martin Kaymer. About 68 players have joined the Saudi-backed tournament. Given the league’s generous prize purses, it’s likely that the number will increase in the near future.

PGA Tour Vs LIV Golf: Difference in Total Rounds

The LIV Golf program consists of only three rounds, while the traditional PGA Tour boasts four rounds.  Cuts have the strongest influence. Most of the tournaments on the PGA Tour feature more than 100 golfers, and the four-round format enables a simple cutoff at the halfway point of the competition. On the other hand, all golfers will compete from the start of the first round through the end of the third, with just 48 golfers and three rounds, until they choose to quit. The score is identical between the two leagues. The LIV tournament is played over 54 holes, while the PGA Tour is over 72 holes, with the player with the lowest score at the end of the tournament being declared the winner.

PGA Tour Vs LIV Golf: Prize Money Distribution

The handsome prize money is what attracted a lot of golfers to the LIV Golf. Due to the limited field, everyone will have a chance to win at LIV Golf events, where the purse will exceed the PGA Tour rewards for golfers. Golfers that participate in LIV Golf are guaranteed a portion of the prizemoney. On the other hand, who do not make the cut in PGA Tour events are not paid for their participation in the event.

PGA Tour Vs LIV Golf: Start Times

In order to minimize overlap, the field on the PGA Tour either begins on the same hole or two distinct holes at separated tee times. On the other hand, shotgun starts are used by LIV Golf, which means that players will start from several tees at the same time. The shotgun format allows for a smaller field while still shortening the duration of each round. Given the number of golfers in the field, shotgun starts on the PGA Tour would still necessitate staggered start times, whereas groups of three golfers in LIV Golf could all play at the same time. This is one of the major differences between the PGA Tour and the LIV Golf.

PGA Tour Vs LIV Golf: Teams

The winner of the Invitational LIV Golf, 4Aces Team (Credits – Golf channel)

The PGA Tour is nearly entirely comprised of individual competition. While, the LIV Golf comprises both individual stroke play and team events. Each week, three teammates will be selected by each of the 12 captains in LIV Golf. The two best stroke-play scores from the first two rounds of the three-day competition contribute toward the team totals. The best three team scores are counted in the final round to decide the winning team.

Each week, the selection for players is held in a snake style, and each team has its own name, colors, and logos. Each of the season’s eight weeks will feature a team structure, but the final week will feature a team championship that will be a seeded four-day, four-round match-play knockout event. As a result, teams will be matched and advance through an elimination process to determine the overall winner.

Read more: LIV Golf 2023: Mexico, Singapore, Spain announced as new venues