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Hours Before the $20,000,000 Event, Rory McIlroy Indirectly Hints About the Pressure LIV Golf Has on PGA Tour

Published 06/01/2023, 5:00 AM EDT

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Professional golf has become more than just a club-and-ball sport. With the entry of globalization and capitalization, the game had to also evolve. This meant that elements like sponsorship, contracts, prize money, and endorsements found their place within the game. While everything was going in order, LIV Golf entered the golf courses with its colossal events and heavy paychecks. It caused complete mayhem in the golf community!

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Competing with the rival league, the PGA Tour also couldn’t help but improve the purses it previously offered. And this may indicate some good news for the professional golfers participating in the Tour events. But the question arises: is the move viable when it comes to generating new revenues to fulfill high cash prize criteria? Well, Rory McIlroy might have an answer for that!

Rory McIlroy opens up about the exponentially growing tournament purses


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Before the PGA Tour’s iconic Memorial Tour commences on Thursday, Rory McIlroy took to the mic in Ohio to provide some insight into the game. At the press conference, many questions were asked on diverse fronts. One of which included the query about the augmentation of the money pool at recent events. The question was about the sustainability of such actions, especially when it comes to generating new earnings to meet the event purses.

Unlike his one-word answer regarding LIV Golf at the PGA Championship, McIlroy welcomed a descriptive answer. The Northern Irish golfer said, “At some point maybe“, referring to the growth as becoming unsustainable. He further added, “Look, as a player, these big prize funds are great. But it’s a good question whether that’s sustainable in the long term.” The PGA Tour star believed golf to be at its healthiest stage, with the industry doing “really well”.


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Like the golfer mentioned, as more people are moving toward investing in the game, it can provide momentary support. However, as far as long-term vision and sustenance are concerned, it is difficult to judge. “So I think for the short- and medium-term, I don’t think it’s a problem. But long-term, I don’t really have a good answer for you. But right now I think it’s at least sustainable for the next decade,” the 2012 PGA Champion said.

Interestingly, the golfer also had someone in mind who might be responsible for creating pressure on other entities. He said, “Look, I don’t know if this is, I don’t know who to place the blame on here, but you have a new entity coming into the game offering 25 million dollar prize funds and other entities feel the pressure to keep up.” To support his statement, McIlroy commented on how the prize funds of the four major golf tournaments still don’t fall in the top 20 of the prize funds.

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Although the golfer did not blame LIV Golf directly for the new standards that are being set in golf when it comes to the prize pool, he subtly hinted at the competition that the Saudi-backed league has given birth to.

The whopping increase in the purse of the Memorial Tournament over the last two years


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The Jack Nicklaus-led Memorial Tournament is all set in motion for June 1. Along with the fierce competition and great golf course, the tournament has massive prize money to boast about this year. The total amount calculates to $20,000,000. One person who tops the leaderboard on Sunday will take home 3.6 million dollars from this huge purse.

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This equates to a massive jump of eight million dollars from last year’s $12 million cash prize. Even the winner has a rise of over a million in the amount he’ll pocket. Last season, Billy Horschel received only $2.16 million.

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In 2021, the rewards were even lower than in 2022. The difference between the $9.3 million purse in 2021 and the $20 million purse in 2023 is stupendous. It just proves the exponential rise in cash prizes on the PGA Tour. However, now that the question asked of PGA star Rory McIlroy has been raised again, will this increase prove to be sustainable? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!


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Areeba Basharat

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Areeba Basharat is a Golf writer at EssentiallySports. She drives inspiration from the women players at the LPGA who've taken the sport to a level that allows female golfers to flourish and thrive with grace. Areeba defines her love for the sport by quoting legend, Michelle Wie West : "The first time I grabbed a golf club, I knew that I would do it for the rest of my life."

Edited By: Sheldon Pereira