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How Much Money is Too Much For The World's Best Golfers

By: | Tue 13 Jun 2023

THE world of golf is still reeling from the astonishing U-turn that will see the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf forming an uneasy alliance that has led to widespread accusations of hypocrisy.

I don’t mind admitting that I was stunned when the announcement came. Like everybody else, I didn’t see it coming.

Much has been said and written in the days since Jay Monahan left us all speechless. But I can’t let something that Rory McIlroy said last week pass without comment. 

You don’t need me to tell you that McIlroy is a very wealthy man. Forbes put his income for the year 2022 at $80.8m - just over $26m of that came in the form of prize money. He has earned more than $72m in career prize money on the PGA Tour alone, second only to Tiger Woods.

He finished seventh at the recent Memorial Tournament and picked up a cheque for $675,000. For finishing SEVENTH!

He also signed massive contracts with Nike and TaylorMade, each reputed to be in the region of £100m.

So you surely understand my utter astonishment when he said that he agreed that players who had remained loyal to the PGA Tour should be rewarded financially. He is not talking about regular prize money here. He is talking about receiving an additional payment.

I totally get why McIlroy feels so miffed about how things have panned out for him and others who chose not to take the Saudi dollar. 

He has been hung out to dry. After speaking out against LIV Golf for months he wasn’t even consulted about the merger. He was told in a phone call that it was a fait accompli.

Rory McIlroy

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

And when he faced the media on the eve of the Canadian Open, where he was the defending champion, he was given no opportunity to speak about the tournament.

Instead he was grilled for 15 minutes on his feelings about what had just happened. He described himself as a sacrificial lamb. And he had plenty to say on the subject.

After listening to Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour commissioner, consistently attack LIV Golf before his mind-boggling U-turn, the men who remained loyal and rejected approaches from Greg Norman’s breakaway tour now feel utterly betrayed.

Time and again McIlroy has spoken out against LIV Golf and even last week was still saying that he hated everything it stood for. 

But to hold out a begging bowl really goes beyond the pale. 

When asked if players who stayed loyal to the PGA Tour should be rewarded financially, McIlroy replied: “The simple answer is yes. The complex answer is how does that happen? It’s hard for me to not sit up here and feel somewhat like a sacrificial lamb and feeling like I’ve put myself out there and this is what happens.

“Removing myself from the situation, I see how this is better for the game of golf. There’s no denying that. It unifies it and it secures its financial future.

“But for me as an individual, there’s just going to have to be conversations that are hard. There are mixed emotions in there.”

I repeat - he received $675,000 for finishing seventh at Muirfield Village. Viktor Hovland, who won the tournament, picked up more than $3m. By his own standards, McIlroy is having an average season but before the Canadian Open he had collected nearly $6m in prize money on the PGA Tour. Jon Rahm had banked $14.5m.

These are vast sums of money. And, of course, money talks.

McIlroy also got it wrong when said the merger has nothing to do with LIV. He said: “It’s the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and the Public Investment Fund.” Sorry Rory, but PIF and LIV are one and the same thing. Who do you think has been forking out these huge prize funds and lucrative contracts?

But my question is this: how much is too much? Do these multi-millionaire golfers really believe they deserve another hand-out? 

It has to be said that there seems to be an unlimited supply of the stuff. Saudi money has bought Newcastle United Football Club and now effectively owns world golf outside the majors.

“I’ve come to terms with it,” said McIlroy. “I see what’s happened in other sports. I see what’s happened in other businesses. And, honestly, I’ve just resigned myself to the fact that this is what’s going to happen. 

"It’s very hard to keep up with people that have more money than anyone else.”

There will be those who read those words and find themselves thinking precisely the same thing. 

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Tags: PGA Tour LIV Golf FedEx Cup european tour dp world tour daily picks

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