PGA Tour Champions see LIV damage to golf but understand it’s hard to turn down the money

Boca Raton, Florida. – Live golf She is just as divisive with the PGA Tour Champions crowd as it is with other professional golfers.

Most veterans don’t follow the LIV and don’t care about golf or shape, but they understand that money is hard for some to turn down.

Then there is Hall of Famer Bernhard Langer, who believes the series, which is funded by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, is detrimental to the sport.

“I think it hurts golf, and I don’t think it’s a good thing,” Langer said. “I don’t see that they have a business plan but I can understand it’s hard for some people to turn down that kind of money.”

Langer’s impression of the league is lousy compared to legendary caddy Mike Kwan, the man known as “Fluff” who gained fame for being the first Tiger Woods buggy. Now 74, Kwan has been in Jim Furyk’s bag for 23 years.

I asked Kwan about the perspective of the can on the LIV.

“It doesn’t exist in my world,” he said. “I don’t give a (expletive) about it.”

He then warned Kwan that he would have to sleep a lot if he continued.

Jim Furyk, right, talks about things with boxer Michael Thomas “Fluff” Cowan on the 17th hole during the first round of the TimberTech Championship at the Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida. Friday 4 November 2022. [JIM RASSOL/palmbeachpost.com]

Tour champion payouts change compared to LIV

The Tour Champions is holding its penultimate event at the Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club this weekend. Golfers play for the $350,000 first place prize and the top 36 will advance to Phoenix where the Charles Schwab Cup champion will be crowned and take home a $1 million bonus.

Coarse change compared to money thrown by LIV.

LIV wrapped up its inaugural season on Sunday at Doral with a $25 million purse. LIV has awarded $255 million in prize money and rewards to eight events this year. This number will rise to $405 million for 14 events in 2023.

That’s why those on the Champions Tour, some of whom have made a solid living on the PGA Tour, understand those who just can’t get away with generational money.

“These guys make a lot of money,” said Scott McCarron. “I don’t blame any of the guys for my going. If I was young, I probably wouldn’t go. I wanted to win majors and wanted to be in the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup. Older guys, I don’t blame them for going.”

McCarron has won $12.65 million in two decades on the PGA Tour. This is about what Peter Oehlen made of Jupiter this year in eight events in the LIV series. But Furyk took in more than $71.5 million in prize money on the PGA Tour, so he has a greater understanding of what it means to be so successful.

Furyk wonders how some of the most successful golfers can turn their backs on the Tour.

“For guys aged 40, 45 and 48, I think they saw a lot of gold at the end of the rainbow and decided to go and do it,” Furik said. “The guys are very interesting people and they kind of made me scratch my head.

“The tour plays for a lot of money, their retirement packages, and the ability to make a living there is there.”

However, Furek’s comments were measured. He wonders how long the LIV model will be sustainable, especially without a TV contract.

“The tour has got a sustainable model,” he said.

He doesn’t think the sport will be harmed but he also doesn’t think there is any chance of fusion. “What I see is two rounds competing against each other,” he said.

But he, like Langer, isn’t sure how LIV would develop the game.

“They said they were developing the game,” Langer said. “How do they develop the game? I think it’s bad for the game because we don’t all play in the same tournaments.

“I don’t see any real positive in any of them. And that’s the team thing, I don’t know if people are buying it.”

The champions of the tour were LIV Langer. Langer, who lives in Boca Raton, has raised $33.33 million in 15 years at the 50 and up circuit. He earned $10.76 million in three decades on the PGA Tour.

Darren Clark turned down a chance to be at the LIV broadcast booth

LIV offered Darren Clark a three-year deal to be a color commentator for broadcasts, which appear only on YouTube and the LIV website. When he was told that his participation in the broadcast would be in breach of regulations and he would be subject to disciplinary action, he declined the offer.

Clark, 54, would have been banned from the Champions League and at risk of playing in the British Open and the senior British Open.

Clark declined to comment on LIV on Friday but spoke about the show to SI.com/Morning Read this summer.

“I’m really enjoying my time on the Tour of Champions and didn’t want to put it in jeopardy,” said Clarke, who did not reveal the value of the offer.

Langer, 65, was asked what he would have done if LIV had been in its prime and received an offer.

“I don’t really know and can’t answer that,” he said. “I’ve never been in this situation and I don’t know what I would say if they threw $100 million at me, or whatever it might be. It’s hard. I can’t answer that.”

This article originally appeared on the Palm Beach Post: PGA Tour Champions Bernhard Langer believes LIV Golf is not good for the sport