Uncivil War – Why LIV Golf And The Current Tours Must Find Common Ground

By Ian John
November 24, 2022

The past year has been an incredible one in the world of professional golf. One that has changed the landscape of golf perhaps forever and that has seen a chasm open between what now appears to be two warring factions.

On the one side of the divide is the established tours led by the USPGA Tour and the DP World Tour, which is formerly the European Tour.

Then on the other is the Saudi-backed newcomers, the LIV Golf Tour, which has seen its inaugural season of nine events come to a close and which, after a less than promising start, has seen a number of the world’s best golfers sign up to the ‘rebel’ tour.

Ever since the LIV Tour was first mooted, it has been a divisive subject and that divide has only widened over the course of the year as while many professionals have remained loyal to the USPGA and DP World Tour, many others have decided to go for the greater financial rewards (and much less demanding schedule) offered by the LIV Tour.

With the 2022 season now over, many golf fans are wondering what the 2023 will hold in store. How will the four Majors be affected by the split? (By the way, you can find betting on all four golf Majors for next season already available at bet365 Sport)



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So what is the current situation in professional golf, how have we got here and how can the game move forward in 2023 and beyond without creating a wholly unsatisfactory divide at the very top of the game?

To tell that story, we have to head back to the week of the 2022 US Open Golf tournament in Brookline, Massachusetts.

USPGA React To First LIV Golf Event

Back in early June, LIV Golf ran its first event at the Centurion Golf Course in St Albans in the UK. In the run up to the event, a number of players from both the USPGA and DP World Tour announced their intentions to play.

Several players resigned their USPGA Tour Cards in advance of this, but several others refused to do so.

After that event, the USPGA raised the stakes considerably, stating that the 17 players that held PGA Tour Cards but who had competed in the LIV event, would be banned from USPGA Tour events indefinitely.

This would include participating in any USPGA sanctioned event, including the President’s Cup and Ryder Cup team events.

However, organisers of golf’s Majors have so far refused to follow suit, with several confirming that they would not ban LIV tour players from competing in their events.

In fact, the organisers of the Masters, US Open and British Open have all stated their intention to allow golfers of any of the rival tours compete.

Alongside banning players, both the USPGA and DP World Tour have made significant moves to increase the amount of money available in their tournaments in an attempt to try and offset the departure of players to LIV Golf.

Furthermore, the USPGA and LIV Golf have headed to the courtrooms with both organisations bringing litigation against the other and it has left the world of top-level golf somewhat in tatters.

And with LIV Golf announcing their intentions to increase the number of players in the field at their events from 48, the threat that more players could decide to leave the current tours for the LIV Tour remains a significant threat.

The Warring Factions

The key players and individuals in this story are as follows:

USPGA Tour/DP World Tour Loyalists

  • USPGA Tour CEO – Jay Monaghan
  • DP World Tour CEO – Keith Pelley
  • Tiger Woods
  • Rory McIlroy
  • Justin Thomas
  • Scottie Scheffler
  • Jon Rahm
  • Billy Horschel
  • Xander Schauffele
  • Will Zalatoris
  • Webb Simpson
  • Stewart Cink
  • Tyrrell Hatton
  • Tommy Fleetwood

LIV Golf Tour Rebels

  • LIV Golf Tour CEO – Greg Norman
  • Phil Mickelson
  • Dustin Johnson
  • Brooks Koepka
  • Sergio Garcia
  • Cameron Smith
  • Bryson DeChambeau
  • Ian Poulter
  • Graeme McDowell
  • Lee Westwood
  • Henrik Stenson
  • Patrick Reed
  • Louis Oosthuizen
  • Charl Schwartzel
  • Bubba Watson
  • Paul Casey
  • Talor Gooch

What Are The Key Issues?

  • USPGA and DP World Tour feel that the current tour system is more than fair to players and offers the greatest opportunity to professional golfers and there is no need for another tour. LIV Golf feel that players should be free to play in any event without sanction.
  • LIV Golf feels that the current format of stroke-play, four-round tournaments is somewhat boring for new fans and that with golf membership in decline, a new type of tournament with all players starting at the same time, larger prize pools, smaller fields and a team event offers a glimpse at the future of golf. The USPGA and DP World Tour argue that their current schedule and tournament format has stood the test of time and does not need too much changing to it.
  • USPGA and DP World Tour fear that the number of players leaving their tour will dilute the qualify of their standard tournaments. LIV Golf hope that they can continue to attract the top players from both tours as they have throughout the inaugural season.
  • Some players argue that they spend far too much time travelling and away from their families on the DP and USPGA Tours, they feel a much smaller schedule will improve the quality of their golf and allow them a better work/life balance. However other players on the USPGA and DP World Tours feel the number of tournaments available offers players, especially those lower down the rankings, more opportunities to claim points to move up the rankings and to earn more money.
  • LIV Golf wants its players to be eligible for Ryder Cup/President’s Cup events. The DP World Tour and USPGA Tour have banned LIV Golf Tour players from these team events.
  • LIV Golf wants its events to be counted towards the official Golf World Rankings. The other tours do not want this.
  • There’s been considerable ‘bad blood’ between players on the rival tours which may have severely impacted the chances of them being able to play together in events in future.

A Glimmer Of Hope?

Despite the differences outlined above and the level of animosity between those allied to one or the other factions in the battle, there is perhaps a glimmer of hope for the future.

The likes of Gary Player and Rory McIlroy have recently called for all parties to get themselves around a negotiating table to try and thrash out some kind of compromise that will not leave the highest level of golf so divided.

Certainly, that is something that several prominent LIV Golf professionals have been advocating for a while too.

Whether or not common ground can be found that will allow all to co-exist peacefully looks doubtful at the moment, but until those talks take place, then the world of golf will remain divided.

And when that happens in top level sport, it rarely turns out positively and usually, it is the fans that love their sport and want to see the very best competing against each other that are the real losers.

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