Some of the top players on the PGA Tour gave different reasons for resigning their memberships and deciding to take part in the LIV Golf Circuit.
But, for a longtime tour member, the reasoning is simple.
Curtis Strange, a 17-time PGA Tour winner and Back-to-back US Open champion (1988-89), told Fox News Digital this week that he believes money is the biggest motivator for players joining the rival Saudi-backed golf league.
“You know, these players go for one reason, and one reason only, and that’s show money,” Strange said.
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“When I was playing well I went abroad two or three times a year, it’s about money. It’s about performance fees. But, at the same time, you’ve been playing in tournaments with substantial prize money. So you always try. I mean, but they are real life ranking tournaments. , So it means something – financially, rewarding up to world ranking points and your status in the game, it’s very important. It’s not. “
The PGA Tour does not allow a show fee while doing LIV golf, similar to the DP World Tour. Players will compete for $ 20 million in pursuits, along with a $ 5 million prize in addition to the team competition for each tournament.
Players like Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson signed contracts with bonuses worth $150 million and $200 million, respectively.
The latest move by the tour to bring purse sizes accelerated due to the birth of LIV Golf brings the two circuits closer together, but the show makes money even more important.
He said some players could understand the financial bait, but dismissed some of the reasons publicly provided for their departure.
“I understand the players are going. I’m doing it because it’s huge, it’s life-changing,” Strange said. “Now, some people say, ‘Well, they already make a lot of money.’ Yes, they do. But some of these players are at the end of their careers, so they’re not going to make a lot of money in the years to come.
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“It’s not about you not liking it. It’s not about not touring. It’s not about wanting to see my family more than a year. It’s not about allocating more time to me. These guys do not play much anyway. It’s all about this huge show money. ”
Brooks Koepka, who joined LIV Golf ahead of the first US-based event in Oregon this week, told reporters at a press conference that his main reason for joining the tour was Desire to spend more time on injury and rehabilitation.
“What I’ve experienced on my knees over the last two years, the pain, the rehab, all of this, you realize, you know, I need a little more time,” he said. “I have to say first: for the last two years it’s not an easy thing to do, I think I should take a little more break at home to make sure I’re 100% right before I play. It’s an event and I do not feel like I need to play right away [is good]. “
In February, Koepka said of LIV Golf: “They get their guys. Somebody’s going to sell out and go to it.”
But on Tuesday, he said, “opinions will change,” adding that he will make his decision after the US Open.
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Strange expressed his understanding, but said he believes it will hurt both the PGA Tour and the game of golf in the long run.
“Is it harmful to the tour? Yes, because it’s removed the names of some of the big players from the tour. Is it harmful to golf? Yes. Because it’s diluting the whole system. It’s a rebellious system with very deep pockets, and they’re repurchasing their tour.
“It’s one of the biggest things that can happen to our game, so it’s not good for anyone. But will it happen? You know, there’s always a chance, until they throw that kind of money. Wants to put money. “
Strange defended the PGA Tour and commissioner Jay Monahan for suspending the defectors’ memberships, saying he was trying to protect the integrity of the tour for the remaining members.
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“I can’t imagine turning your back on an organization that gave you a platform to be who you are,” he quipped. “At the same time, I understand a guy who doesn’t think he can play well anymore. But I have a hard time. After playing the Tour for so long, it’s detrimental to an organization to turn back and actually be somewhat. But I get it. I get it. It’s money.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.