NORTH PLAINS, Ore. — Charl Schwartzel made more money in three days than any of his PGA Tour years after winning the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series event near London earlier this month.
The South African is one of the few players to admit that “everything” on the upstart circuit led by Greg Norman and backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund is the money.
“You can’t lie and say it’s not about the money,” Schwartzel said earlier this week. “There’s a lot of money there and it’s more than any guy has ever played.”
Player representatives agree. In a Golf Digest History, Alan Shipnuck of the Fire Pit Collective spoke with four different agents who represent golfers at LIV, each speaking anonymously “to facilitate the franchise.” They are referred to as Agents A, B, C and D.
“What you have to understand about professional golfers is that they are all whores”, said Agent A. “It’s the starting point.”
The multi-million dollar deals the players have reportedly signed — $200 million for Phil Mickelson, $150 for Dustin Johnson, $100 million for Bryson DeChambeau — have been a hot topic of discussion for weeks, but Brandel Chamblee from Golf Channel stirred the pot of money when it sent a since-deleted Tweet that claimed prize money is applied to a player’s signing bonus.
Jane MacNeille, vice president of communications for LIV Golf, ended a press conference on Tuesday before the event to clear up the confusion, saying: “Prize grants are in addition to (player contracts). There is no draw at LIV Golf on finances.
“Chamblee was hitting that drum the other day,” joked Pat Perez.
Agent B covered the nine-figure reports, asking the question: who benefits from these figures?
“LIV, obviously, because they’re trying to generate buzz and get more players,” he explained. “But it also benefits agents who are trying to sign new players or entice other clients to take the plunge.”
A whopping $255 million is up for grabs in the 2022 eight-event series. The seven regular season events offer $25 million in prize money, including $4 million for the individual winner and $3 million for the winning team. The total tag team championship purse is $50 million, with the winning team taking home $16 million. The player crowned regular season champion will earn $18 million, including $8 million for second and $4 million for third.
The final spot this week at Pumpkin Ridge will net $120,000.
“The prize fund is the prize fund”, says Perez, who earlier this week said he had no problem with Saudi Arabia funding the series despite its human rights record. “Whatever you earn, you keep. That’s why guys take it seriously.
“Mine is in it,” Perez said later of his initial money. “I got it all figured out. It’s (expletive) unbelievable.
Agent C claims that higher value contracts for bigger players are paid with annual installments over the life of the deal. Also inside the contracts? Injury recovery provisions and a “morals clause” that deals with on-course and off-course incidents such as cheating or legal issues that would allow LIV to void a contract and recover original money.
A veteran caddy says one of the biggest stories at LIV Golf is the agents looking for a big payday. Of Shipnuck reporting:
Although subject to negotiation, the standard arrangement in professional golf is that players keep all money they earn on the course, but agents take 20% of appearance fees and settlement agreements. approval. LIV’s initial money is treated like the latter, and as a result, player reps get a big cut. (Because there are no discounts in events and players are guaranteed a check, some agencies take a commission on the first $120,000 of a player’s winnings, treating it as a fee of de facto appearance.)
The story also quotes Agent D saying he’s heard players complaining about how much they should be paying their team of caddies, physios and agents, “but there’s been so much talk about the greed of the players in quotes that i think they are sensitive not to rush anyone at the moment i expect that at the end of this season some percentages will be adjusted.