LIV Golf Vs. PGA: Controversy, Rivalry And Merger

liv golf vs pga

LIV Golf, established in 2021, has consistently been a hot topic in the world of golf, disrupting the peaceful terrain of professional golf. 

Breaking News: PGA Tour has agreed to merge with its rival, LIV Golf, which is supported by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund controlled by the Saudi crown prince. 

This merger is a result of ongoing lawsuits between the two entities related to antitrust claims. 

PGA and LIV Golf Merger 

The PGA Tour and LIV Golf have signed an agreement to merge their commercial businesses and rights into a new company which is currently unnamed. The PGA European Tour, also known as the DP World Tour, is included in the agreement. 

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan after the merger agreement, highlighted the global growth of golf and recognized previous tensions between the two organizations. However, he mentioned that this agreement will benefit the game of golf. 

Following the merger agreement, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan emphasized the global growth of golf and acknowledged the previous tensions between the two organizations. Moreover, he mentioned that this agreement would bring significant benefits to the game of golf.

As part of the deal, there will be a fair and objective process for players to reapply for membership with the PGA Tour or DP World Tour after the 2023 season. 

Here we compare LIV Golf and the PGA Tour, highlighting their differences and delving into their ongoing rivalry.

How did LIV Golf vs. PGA Rivalry start? 

The rivalry between LIV Golf and the PGA TOUR can be traced back to Greg Norman’s dream of establishing the World Golf Tour

In 1994, Norman presented a blueprint for the World Golf Tour, envisioning a breakaway golf league. However, his plan did not succeed at the time.

Nevertheless, the rivalry began to take shape when the PGA TOUR realized the similarities between Norman’s World Golf Tour blueprint and the current LIV Golf Series. This realization indicated Norman’s long-term vision for a breakaway golf league.

In response, PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem sent a memo to players, cautioning them about the potential consequences of joining a rival tour, just before Norman’s presentation. 

LIV Golf vs. PGA legal battle and ban

The rivalry between LIV Golf and the PGA TOUR has sparked a legal battle, as players who switched to LIV face bans from PGA events. Here’s a simplified breakdown of the conflict.

Ban and battle

The PGA TOUR have imposed a one-year ban on members and non-members who participated in LIV Golf events, leading to a heated legal battle between the two organizations. LIV Golf players and the LIV Series argue that PGA TOUR’s actions are unjustifiable.

Relaxation of bans for PGA Majors

In a notable development in 2023, the PGA TOUR has made a significant decision to ease its limitations on players who have previously taken part in LIV Golf events. This strategic move aims to enhance the caliber of competition in the four prestigious PGA majors.

LIV Golf Vs PGA: Differences

Difference between LIV Golf Vs. PGA Tour Image

Here are the detailed differences that you need to know:

1. Holes

One of the primary differences between LIV golf and the PGA Tour events is the number of holes played during a tournament.

While the PGA Tour traditionally plays 72 holes over four days, LIV events adopt a more condensed format, with only 54 holes played over three days. This shorter format aims to provide more excitement and keep the golf fans engaged throughout the tournament.

2. Tee times

In terms of tee times, LIV Golf follows shotgun starts, where players start on different holes simultaneously. This format creates a faster pace of play and allows for more strategic positioning on the golf courses. 

In contrast, the PGA Tour follows a traditional sequential tee time start, with players going off one by one.

3. Fields

In the LIV tour, the field consists of a select group of only 48 players. On the other hand, regular PGA Tour events typically have larger fields, ranging from 120 to 156 players, depending on the time of year. 

4. Payouts

LIV Golf offers substantial payouts for all participants. Each LIV event has a purse of $25 million, with $20 million allocated to the individual competition. The winner receives $4 million, and even the player finishing in 48th place receives $120,000. 

In contrast, on the PGA Tour event, only those who make the cut are eligible for prize money. However, PGA Tour members now have a guaranteed payment of $500,000 for the season. 

5. Team elements

LIV Golf introduces a team element that sets it apart from traditional PGA events. 

In LIV, 12 teams, each consisting of four players, compete for a share of $5 million prize money. The winning team receives $3 million, the second-place team earns $1.5 million, and the third-place team is awarded $500,000. 

Additionally, there is a season-ending team championship where all teams receive a payout. The winning team takes home $16 million, while the team in last place receives $1 million.

6. Number of events

The PGA Tour boasts a packed schedule with numerous events throughout the year, providing ample opportunities for players to compete and earn ranking points. In contrast, LIV Golf currently offers a more limited number of events. 

For example, in 2023, LIV Golf scheduled 14 events, while the PGA Tour featured a total of 47 events during the 2022-2023 season.

7. Path to Participation

The PGA Tour provides a merit-based pathway for players to participate. They can progress through feeder tours, earn PGA Tour status, and also have opportunities to qualify for events through Monday qualifiers. Additionally, some players may receive sponsor exemptions to compete in PGA Tour events.

On the other hand,  LIV Golf has a more exclusive approach with its limited roster of 48 signed players. While LIV Golf claims to have a pathway through its International Series, it may not have the same level of merit-based achievement as the PGA Tour.

Instead, participation in LIV Golf is primarily based on invitation, considering performance and ranking in the golfing world. The league aims to bring together top golfers from around the world. 

8. No cut rule

In the PGA Tour event, there is a “cut” rule after the 36 holes, where only the top players, based on scores, make it to the final two rounds. 

However, LIV golf does not have a cut rule, ensuring that all players get to compete in all the holes. This allows for greater exposure and playing time for all participants, offering a fairer playing field.

9. World ranking points

PGA Tour events provide Official World Golf Ranking points, allowing tour members to accumulate points in each tournament they compete in. 

These ranking points play a crucial role in determining eligibility for major championships such as The Open Championship. As players climb higher in the rankings, their chances of meeting the qualifying criteria for major tournaments increase.

LIV Golf events currently do not offer World Ranking points. Consequently, LIV Golfers have experienced a decline in their world rankings as they face challenges in including other events in their schedules where ranking points are available.

Comparison of Earnings – LIV Golf vs PGA tour events

Golfers participating in LIV Golf events have the potential to increase their earnings compared to the PGA Tour significantly. LIV Golf offers higher purses, often reaching double the amount of those in PGA Tour events. 

US Open Championships vs LIV Golf Prize Money

Let’s take a look at some popular golfers and their earnings in LIV Golf versus the PGA Tour:

PlayerLIV golf earnings per eventPGA Tour earnings per event
Dustin Johnson$2,998,147 $243,964
Branden Grace$1,641,486$67,210
Peter Uihlein$1,429,470$31,591
Patrick Reed$1,400,226 $138,304
Talor Gooch$1,551,915 $79,470

Can LIV players play in the masters?

The Masters is one of the most prestigious tournaments in professional golf, held annually at Augusta National Golf Club. In December 2022, the Masters announced that it would invite eligible LIV players to compete. 

The Augusta National Golf Club has invited 17 players from LIV to compete in the 2023 Masters tournament including past champions such as Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed, and Charl Schwartzel.

Pros and Cons of LIV golf

LIV Golf offers its own advantages and disadvantages when compared to the PGA Tour. While some golfers appreciate the potential for increased earnings and the unique competitive environment, others have raised concerns. 

Tiger Woods has criticized the format of LIV Golf, stating that it diminishes the challenge of playing multiple rounds. Additionally, professional golfer Justin Thomas has expressed doubts about the quality of players in LIV Golf compared to other tours.

However, here are the pros and cons  of LIV Golf:


  • Increased potential for earnings
  • Unique competitive environment
  • Flexibility in scheduling tournaments
  • Shorter and smaller tournaments


  • Limited number of events
  • Division among players
  • No world ranking points
  • Lower quality of field compared to other tours
  • Format diminishes the challenge of playing multiple rounds


LIV Golf and the PGA Tour provide unique experiences for professional golfers. LIV Golf appeals to those seeking higher earnings and unique competition. However, concerns arise regarding the caliber of players in LIV Golf compared to other tours. Ultimately, golfers must decide if the benefits of LIV Golf outweigh the drawbacks.

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