6 Numbers That Show How Saudi Money Changed Golf Forever

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Topline

On the eve of the British Open, the last major tournament of 2022 which begins on Thursday, here’s how LIV Golf has shaken up the sport since bursting onto the scene earlier this year, in six figures.

Highlights

$25 million: It’s the purse for every LIV Golf regular season event, thanks to funding from the Saudi Arabian Sovereign Wealth Fund, surpass all PGA Tour tournaments, including the $20 million main purse at the Players Championship in March.

Approximately $54 million: This is How many the PGA Tour has committed to increasing its purse by eight tournaments in 2023.

New: This is the number of golfers in the sport’s top 40 – Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Abraham Ancer, Louis Oosthuizen, Paul Casey, DeChambeau, Kevin Na, Talor Gooch and Patrick Reed – have joined LIV Golf.

92%: This is How many the purse of golf’s four majors has grown over the past 10 years – although each major still brings in far less than a regular LIV Golf event (the US is the most lucrative at $17.5 million).

2.78 million: It was CBS’ average viewership for the final round of the RBC Canadian Open last month that coincided with LIV Golf’s first event, marking a 22-year high for the tournament, according at Sports Business Journal, experiencing an apparent boost in ratings due to additional LIV Golf publicity.

Key Context

LIV Golf officially launched last fall with Australia’s former world No. 1 Greg Norman as managing director, but started to really make waves in February when Mickelson defended his links with the Saudi-backed league. with inflammatory comments about the Saudi government’s involvement in the murder. of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi and his criminalization of homosexuality. Mickelson said and disappeared from the public eye for months before playing his first tournament in June at LIV Golf’s first-ever tournament at Centurion Golf Club near London. The PGA Tour announced last month the suspension of all golfers participating in LIV Golf tournaments on the tour. DeChambeau made his LIV Golf debut in the series’ first U.S. tournament on June 30, where Koepka, Reed and Ancer also made their debuts.

crucial quote

Ancer, DeChambeau and Wolff bluntly explained their motivation for joining the new team at a joint press conference last week: money. DeChambeau said his decision was a “personal business decision,” Wolff called it a “money thing” and Ancer said “getting paid more is better” convinced him. Although not worded as forcefully, DeChambeau echoed Michelson’s comments about looking beyond the history of human rights abuses by the Saudi government, saying he hopes that “people will see the good they are doing and what they are trying to achieve, rather than looking at the bad that has happened before.

Surprising fact

World No. 2 Rory McIlroy, perhaps the PGA Tour’s most ardent defender and leading critic of LIV Golf, changed his tune this week, calling on PGA Tour executives and its European counterpart the DP World Tour to s sit down with LIV Golf Brass to make amends. McIlroy Told BBC on Wednesday called the situation “messy” and “unfortunate” but conceded “if these people are serious about putting billions of dollars into golf I think ultimately that’s a good thing”.

Large number

94,000. That’s the average number of viewers on the YouTube stream of the very first round of LIV Golf on June 9, according at Apex Marketing. The new tour doesn’t have a major television deal, broadcasting its events on YouTube, Facebook, its website, or the DAZN streaming service.

Tangent

Several sponsors severed ties with LIV Golf players following their decision to join, including Rocket Mortgage, Royal Bank of Canada, KPMG and UPS, but most golf apparel companies stayed on. away from the ongoing power struggle.

Further reading

Rory McIlroy pleads for golf tours to meet and try to sort out ‘messy’ situation (Sports Illustrated)

‘A money story’: Golfers DeChambeau, Wolff and Ancer bluntly explain why they joined the Saudi-backed LIV (Forbes)

As far as prize money goes, LIV Golf’s London debut is blowing the PGA Tour (Forbes)

LIV Golf has marquee names and giant purses. So why not agree TV? (New York Times)

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