A few weeks ago, LIV Golf shocked the sports world after it successfully convinced a number of star PGA players to join the newly-launched golf league. How did LIV convince these roughly two dozen golfers to abandon the PGA? Simple! It paid them absolutely enormous
bribes… err "courtesy payments."
Dustin Johnson reportedly was paid $125 million in a lump sum to join LIV. Brooks Koepka got $100 million. Phil Mickelson apparently received $200 million, which was enough to push his career earnings above $1 billion. Tiger Woods reportedly turned down $1 BILLION to join LIV.
Players abandoning the PGA had to demand big paydays because joining LIV effectively meant their PGA careers were over forever. And sure enough, the PGA did indeed issue lifetime bans to all players participating in LIV events.
How is LIV able to afford such massive paydays?
Well, its parent company is a generic-sounding organization called The Public Investment Fund.
The Public Investment Fund is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund. In other words, it's the private equity/hedge/venture fund that manages the truly unlimited, never-ending, bottomless well of money generated by oil revenue which is controlled by the House of Saud Royal Family.
As of this writing, The Public Investment Fund controls an estimated $620 billion in assets under management. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud has instructed PIF to make investments that will help the country create non-oil sources of revenue and attractions in the decades to come. Hence the LIV Golf league and its veritable blank check.
LIV officially kicked off an eight tournament world tour on June 22. The eight events have a combined total prize pool of $255 million. That's an average of $32 million per event. By comparison, the average prize pool at a PGA event is $7 million. Another significant bonus for LIV players is that every player in a LIV event walks away with a check. At PGA events, only players who make the cut get paid. The biggest winners at LIV events walk away with significantly larger top prize paydays than the equivalent from a PGA event.
There are other benefits as well. Benefits you'd never even think of. For example… Transportation.
PGA players have to pay for their own plane tickets, car rentals and hotels to get to-and-from tournaments. And not just for themselves. For their caddies, family members, wives and girlfriends.
LIV on the other hand is happy to cover these costs. And because this league is owned by the Saudi Investment Fund, the players (and their friends, caddies and girlfriends) are not being flown around in a basic Gulfstream. They are being flown in a stunningly-lavish royal Saudi private jet. The kind of private jet you would try to imagine when picturing a plane that's owned by a $620 billion Saudi Royal Family investment fund. But even then, it still defies imagination. We know this because someone posted a video taken from inside the jet to social media earlier today:
The @LIVGolfInv private jet party 🤯
— Caddie Network (@CaddieNetwork) July 7, 2022
And in case the above Twitter embed isn't displaying for you, here's a YouTube version:
In the video above we see LIV golfer Pat Perez celebrating his performance at the second LIV event which was held recently at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Oregon. Pat Perez is celebrating because he walked away from the tournament with $900,000. What place did he finish, out of 48, in order to earn $900,000? Second? Maybe third or fourth? Nope. Try…
At the equivalent PGA tournament, a 34th place finisher would earn less than a tenth of that.
Also visible in the video, Brooks Koepka and his wife Jena Sims (she's the attractive woman sitting at the table in the white tube top), and the $125 million dollar man himself, Dustin Johnson.
For whatever reason, the original version of the above video was removed from TikTok, hence the Twitter embed. But here is a second video from the plane that has not yet been removed from TikTok yet: