The Professional Golf Association (PGA) paid out $20 million in a single tournament this year, its largest-ever purse.
But that’s not enough to keep every touring professional happy.
Enter the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series, which is making waves by courting some of the game’s top names such as Phil Mickelson and Dustin (D.J.) Johnson, as well as 24 other top 150 players.
But the league couldn’t win over the game’s biggest name, Tiger Woods.
Former world No. 1 Greg Norman, CEO of the new golf league, told The Washington Post that Woods “was offered, and turned down, a deal that was ‘mind-blowingly enormous.’ The offer reached into the ‘high nine’ digits, Norman said,” according to the New York Post.
So let’s do the math: a million is seven figures, tens of millions are eight figures, and hundreds of millions are nine figures. Low is 1, 2, 3; mid is 4, 5, 6; high is 7, 8, 9. So let’s take the lowest of the “high-nine digits” and call it $700,000,000.
That’ll buy you a lot of ugly golf pants.
“Woods acknowledged before that he was approached by the LIV Tour before but rejected it,” the Post said.
The Saudi-backed league has also wooed other top names in golf. “LIV Golf reportedly offered Jack Nicklaus more than $100 million to run the operation (Nicklaus passed), reportedly offered Dustin Johnson $125 million to play (DJ didn’t pass) and, according to one Golf Channel report, paid [Phil] Mickelson an astounding $200 million to sign up,” the Post reported in a separate article.
Woods last month weighed in on the new league after Mickelson complained about the PGA.
“[Mickelson] has his opinion on where he sees the game of golf going. I have my viewpoint on how I see the game of golf, and I’ve supported the tour and my foundation has run events on the tour for a number of years. I just think that what Jack [Nicklaus] and Arnold [Palmer] have done in starting the tour and breaking away from the PGA of America and creating our tour in ’68 or ’69, somewhere in there, I just think there’s a legacy to that,” Woods told reporters in May.
Johnson, the No. 13 world-ranked player who has won two majors, is the highest-ranked player to join the LIV series, which includes at least 26 of the top 150 players in the world.
But Johnson “has not been granted permission to leave and may now face a ban from the [PGA] tour,” the Daily Mail reports.
“Dustin has been contemplating the opportunity off-and-on for the past couple of years. Ultimately, he decided it was in his and his family’s best interest to pursue it,” said his manager, David Winkle, according to the Mail. “‘Dustin has never had any issue with the PGA Tour and is grateful for all it has given him, but in the end, felt this was too compelling to pass up.”
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.