LIV Golf Is the Worst Thing Could Happen to Golf World – Rory McIlroy Doesn’t Think So; At Least His Bank Account Doesn’t

Published 09/01/2023, 10:30 AM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

When LIV Golf was introduced in 2022, it attracted a lot of backlash from the golf world, including from fans, veterans, golfers, and so on. LIV Golf brought a revolution to the golf industry that nobody was expecting to witness for years to come. The breakaway league’s inaugural season witnessed a lot of hardships, but the league persevered through all the backlash and reached a new level of success in its second season.

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One of the most vocal LIV golf critics is the PGA Tour pro, Rory McIlroy, and he has never shied away from expressing his true feelings about the Saudi-funded leagues and even the LIV golf defectors. But one good thing that the Saudi-funded league contributed to was the hike in the PGA Tour’s pros bank accounts.

Rory McIlroy’s bank account disagrees with his words 

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When the Saudi-backed league was introduced, the primary changes that it attracted a lot of heat for were its non-traditional format of 54 holes instead of the traditional 72 holes, no-cut events, every competing golfer earning a sum of money, and extravagant tournament purses. LIV Golf events offer prize money worth $25 million for their events, out of which $20 million is for individual winners, and the remaining amount goes to the winning teams of the team championship. 

Rory McIlroy was one of the first people to take a swipe at the league when it was introduced and express his true feelings about it. The Irish golfer started bashing the former rival league ever since its start and didn’t stop even after the $3 billion merger between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf.

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Just recently as well, expressing his stern stance, McIlroy said that he would rather retire from golf than play in the Saudi League. McIlroy’s ‘hate’ towards the league has been made pretty evident every now and then by the golfer himself with the kind of words he has used to explain his feelings about the backway league.

The 4X major champion might hate the Saudi-funded league, but he surely does not hate what the league has done to his bank account. Confused? Let us break it down for you by analyzing Rory McIlroy’s earnings for the past three years to witness the increase in his prize money, despite the reduced number of wins and top-10 finishes.

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  • In the 2020–21 season, McIlroy earned $4,391,809 from the PGA Tour. He won once on the PGA Tour and finished in the top 10 in seven events. The official career earnings after the 2020–21 season were $57,519,984.
  • For the 2021–22 season, McIlroy earned a whopping $66,174,549 in career earnings after winning three tournaments on the PGA Tour and competing in other events. Solely on the PGA Tour, he earned $8,654,566. But as compared to the 2022–23 season, the golfer’s earnings were way higher despite winning fewer tournaments.
  • McIlroy won twice this season; his first win came in the CJ Cup, and his second victory came in Scotland when he won the Genesis Scottish Open. For three wins and 12 top-10 finishes, the former world number 1 golfer earned a whopping $13,921,008. The Irish golfer’s career earnings have reached $80,095,557.

Despite the fewer wins and top-10 finishes, McIlroy was able to almost double his 2022–23 season earnings. With career earnings of over $80 million, the former world number one golfer is now in the second position among PGA Tour career money leaders. He just sits below Tiger Woods on the table, who has earned $120,954,766 from the Tour so far.

How did the introduction of LIV Golf impact McIlroy’s prize money?

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LIV Golf’s hiked prize money encouraged the PGA Tour to increase the winning purse for some of its events. Not being paid enough in the tournaments was stated as one of the primary reasons by the LIV golf defectors when they defected from the PGAT.

After being inspired by the former rival, the PGA Tour introduced the concept of designated events, where the prize money was way more than the regular tournaments. Many PGA Tour events offered prize money worth $20 million to $25 million to the golfers competing.

USA Today via Reuters

For the upcoming 2023–24 season as well, the PGA Tour has increased the number of designated events that will be taking place and even adopted a limited field model, just as LIV Golf did for a few of its events. The introduction of LIV Golf ultimately helped the PGA Tour pros in terms of money and increased purses. The opportunities increased somewhat as well. So, Rory McIlroy might not agree with the Saudi League’s format or ethics, but his hefty bank account definitely disagrees!

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Written by:

Riya Singhal

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One take at a time

Riya Singhal is a promising golf writer at EssentiallySports. She was recently recruited in the latest round of ‘ES Draft’ as one of the young writers with a strong passion for golf writing. Despite being in her early days, Riya has already showcased exceptional talent in her coverage of the sport, with her article on Brooks Koepka's kind gesture towards a young fan after his Masters loss quickly rising to the top of the charts.
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Edited by:

Sheldon Pereira

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