Saudi-backed LIV Golf Seeks to Rival PGA Tour
From left, Asian Tour CEO Cho Minn Thant, U.S. golfer Phil Mickelson, Newcastle United Football Club Chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan and English golfer Lee Westwood pose on Wednesday during the Pro-Am round of the LIV Golf Invitational Series event at the Centurion Club in St. Albans, England, north of London. (Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)
By Luca Cacciatore | Wednesday, 08 June 2022 06:38 PM
LIV Golf, a new PGA Tour competitor funded by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, picked off two more of the sport's biggest names ahead of its inaugural event this weekend in London, the New York Post reported.
Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed are expected to sign with LIV, joining Dustin Johnson and superstar Phil Mickelson, who agreed to massive deals with the rival circuit in the past week.
According to Golf Channel reporter Rich Lerner, the former top-ranked Rickie Fowler may soon join the four as the next big name to sign with the upstart league.
Due to the short notice, DeChambeau and Reed are not slated to field for this week's London event. But they will likely contribute to the seven other ones, five of which are in the U.S.
"Bryson has always been an innovator. Having the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of something unique has always been intriguing to him," DeChambeau agent Brett Falkoff told the Post. "Professional golf as we know it is changing, and it's happening quickly."
Sources also told the newspaper that DeChambeau's deal is worth over $100 million after he had turned down a lower amount. That puts him $25 million behind Johnson's reported $125 million deal and half as much as Mickelson, who will receive a reported $200 million.
Details of Reed's deal are still unknown.
The success of LIV, headed by former professional golfer Greg Norman, comes amid criticism that the PGA has pandered to the woke crowd instead of seeking the best experience for fans and participants.
Last month, Jack Nicklaus suggested to Fire Pit Collective that PGA CEO Seth Waugh pulled the league's championship from a New Jersey course owned by former President Donald Trump to one in Oklahoma over "cancel culture."
"I like Seth Waugh," Nicklaus told the outlet. "Seth didn't need this job. He took the job because he thought he could give the PGA of America some good guidance.
"But this move is cancel culture. Donald Trump may be a lot of things, but he loves golf, and he loves this country. He's a student of the game and a formidable figure in the game. What he does in the future in golf will depend on what the cancel culture will allow him to do."
LIV has opted not to take the same approach to Trump's courses. As part of the first invitational series, the league will host a tournament on July 31 at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster and close its inaugural season Oct. 30 at Trump National Doral Miami.