2022 was a chaotic year for the world of golf with the rise of LIV Golf. LIV is a Saudi-backed tour, which creates a lot of debates regarding ethics. However, they have also shaken many things up and are significantly different from the PGA Tour in many aspects.
They’ve famously attracted some of golf’s best talents, including Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, and Cameron Smith. This has caused many golfers to wonder how they differentiate themselves from the already well-established PGA Tour.
The first thing that comes to mind when discussing the differences between LIV and the PGA Tour is undoubtedly payouts. LIV Golf is backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, making them anything but short on cash.
This has enabled LIV to lure talent over with large-sum contracts and much higher event payouts. In fact, the 7 Iron distance champions Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson have allegedly received over $100 million each for solely joining the LIV Tour, and then proceeding to win millions more in the events.
The higher payouts have been a real headache for the PGA tour, largely because they might not be able to match them. Nevertheless, they’ve still raised payouts significantly to compete with LIV, and for the 2022-2023 season, all tour players competing in 15 events will make a minimum of $500,000.
54 Instead of 72 Holes
Another big difference between LIV and the PGA Tour is the number of holes the golfers play during an event. On the PGA Tour, players who make the cut play 72 holes. This is the most common playing format, with the also large DP World Tour doing the same.
However, playing four rounds of golf puts a lot of stress on your body and takes a long time, which is why LIV golfers only play 54 holes during an event.
No Cut for LIV Golfers
After half of a PGA Tour event, in other words 36 holes, only the golfers with a top-65 score gets to keep playing the final two rounds. The rest simply have to go home and are left without any prize winnings.
On LIV, there are no cuts. This means that all players get to play all three rounds and don’t have to deal with the stress of not even being able to finish.
Fast Shotgun Starts
LIV Golf events have shotgun starts, meaning that all contenders start playing simultaneously, just on different tees. This is not done on the PGA Tour, where golfers only start on the first or tenth tee during the first two rounds and then start one at a time, with the top score starting first.
Shotgun starts are significantly faster, making LIV events take way less time than PGA Tour events.
Competing as Teams
There are team competitions on LIV Golf with twelve teams of four players, where the winning teams split the winnings evenly. The PGA Tour rarely features team events, with a few exceptions like the President’s Cup.
Number of Events and Players
LIV Golf has fewer events than the PGA Tour, with only 14 scheduled for the entirety of 2023. On the other hand, the PGA Tour will have more than triple that at 47 events.
There are also fewer golfers at a LIV event, as they feature a field of only 48 players. The PGA Tour events almost always have a field of well over 100 players, with only the FedEx Cup playoffs and a few others as outliers.
The question of whether the traditional PGA Tour is better than LIV Golf, or vice versa, is being fiercely debated throughout the world of golf. Which is better is up for you to decide, but there are undoubtedly pros and cons to both of them.