Nearly 50 golfers have joined LIV Golf, the upstart golf league that's setting out to disrupt the PGA Tour. LIV Golf, which boasts shorter events (54 holes compared to the 72 of PGA Tour events) and shotgun starts, has made waves for a couple of reasons. First, it's backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, which has been behind some horrific human rights violations. Second, the league has thrown around huge amounts of money to get golfers to join.
Phil Mickelson received $200 million from LIV Golf, saying he believed the league would be good for the game of golf. Dustin Johnson will make $125 million after leaving the PGA Tour for LIV Golf. Even less-heralded golfers have a chance to earn—the last place finishers in LIV Golf events take home at least $120,000. In a PGA Tour event, finishing last would earn you nothing.
Despite the big names joining LIV Golf, there's one notable omission: Tiger Woods. LIV CEO Greg Norman recently told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that, before Norman became CEO, Woods turned down a massive offer from LIV Golf. Just how much was that offer worth?
According to Norman, Woods received an offer somewhere between $700 million and $800 million to join the LIV Golf Invitational Series. Nearly a billion dollars to play in eight events. And that's on top of any money he made from his performances on the golf course.
"Look, Tiger is a needle mover, right? So, of course, you've got to look at the best of the best," Norman said. "They had originally approached Tiger before I became CEO. That number is somewhere in that neighborhood."
Woods has been openly critical about LIV Golf, believing players who join are taking the easy way out. Of course, he's almost a billionaire, so the decision to turn down such a large amount of money might have been slightly easier than if he were just starting out on the PGA Tour.
Even so, saying no to $700 million to $800 million is a difficult decision to make. LIV Golf has already announced updates for 2023 that will increase the money-making potential. Its series will expand from eight to 14 tournaments, with 48 players across 12 team franchises competing for $405 million in purses.
We'll likely see even more players leaving the PGA Tour for LIV Golf. After all, the promise of hundreds of millions of dollars is tough to ignore.