LIV Golf is an entirely separate golf tour from the PGA professional golf tour, funded by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund. Many golfers have jumped ship from the PGA Tour, and it doesn’t sound like the battle will stop anytime soon. In this guide, I’ll compare PGA vs LIV in full detail. including:
- Differences in rules
- A breakdown of events by each tour
- Broadcasting details
- PGA’s planned changes in response to competition by LIV
If you have any other questions about PGA vs LIV golf, let me know by commenting down below.
PGA vs LIV Number of Events
The PGA Tour has 47 scheduled events for the 2022-23 golf season. These events are held worldwide at different golf courses and feature many of the best professional golfers in the world.
As there are so many scheduled events during the year, you will see that many top golfers can choose which events they want to play. They do not play all of them as that takes a significant toll on the body and can increase the risk of injury. The amount of time traveling and practicing will also take a toll on them, so they usually hand-pick which ones they want to play and let the rest of the field fill up with the fringe players.
LIV Golf is quite different regarding how they run their events during the year. For the 2022 season, LIV Golf has eight events lined up on the schedule. The first seven events are their regular run tournaments. The season finale’s eighth event is a team championship played in a match-play style against one another. The season finale will be played is at the end of October, so the overall season is much shorter.
The number of events is one of the many reasons, so many golfers decided to switch from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf. Having to play fewer events means less risk of injury and less time traveling and away from family.
PGA Tour events consist of four rounds for every tournament, 72 holes in total. After the second round, a cut line is determined based on the leaderboard. Usually, about half of the field does not make the cut.
The remaining golfers will golf on the weekend, trying to shoot the lowest score possible to win. PGA Tour events usually field over 100 different golfers, which is the main reason for four rounds and a cut line.
One of the main differences between the two golf leagues is that LIV Golf only has three rounds of golf. The field is quite a bit smaller, with only 48 golfers competing.
This means that every golfer must golf from the start of the first round to the end of the third round unless they have to withdraw due to injury or another reason. The smaller field is one of the main reasons there are only three rounds compared to four. It also helps with the pace of play.
Start times for PGA Events always depend on a few different factors:
- where the golf course is located
- what time zone it’s in
- the number of players competing
Once these factors are determined, PGA will set the start time for each group (usually three golfers per group). In all cases, the first group usually tees off reasonably early in the morning. Every group tees off from the first hole, meaning groups will usually depart every 10 minutes.
After the first two rounds, a cut line is established, depending on what the leaderboard looks like. As some players get cut and aren’t golfing on the weekend, the start times for each group usually move to later in the morning instead of bright and early.
Also, if a group starts round 1 teeing off first thing in the morning, they are usually moved to the afternoon pairing for round 2. This is done so that each group golf’s in different weather conditions and times of the day, so there are no advantages.
Start times for LIV Golf events are another one of the main differences between the two golf leagues. LIV Golf runs all of its events on Shotgun Starts.
This means that every single golfer starts simultaneously, all on different holes. These start times are usually later morning as they are all starting at the same time, which means that they will all end at the same time.
The broadcast coverage is a much shorter time for LIV Golf events than for PGA Tour ones as well. This also means that each golfer is golfing in the same conditions as others, so there are no advantages.
The main reason why LIV Golf went with shotgun starts is that they believe a faster pace of play is what golfers and golf fans want to see.
The PGA Tour consists of mainly individual stroke play tournaments. This means you golf on your own, trying to shoot the lowest score possible to win the prize money.
PGA does run one team play tournament during the year, the Zurich Classic in New Orleans. Golfers are split into pairs, and they play a Four-Ball format for rounds one and three. Four-Ball means that each golfer plays their golf ball for the entirety of the round, taking the lowest score on each hole.
For rounds two and four, they play a Foursomes format. One golfer tee’s off on the even-numbered holes and the other on the odd-numbered. After the tee shots, each golfer will play alternate shots until the hole is concluded. The winning team is the team with the lowest score at the end of four rounds.
The only other team play events for the PGA Tour are the Ryder Cup and the President’s Cup. These are held every two years alternating. Teams from the United States and Europe will match-play against one another. A captain chooses the teams for each side, and there is a certain number of points to hit to win.
LIV Golf has introduced a new weekly team play element for their events. Every week ,12 captains choose three teammates for their team. The draft is conducted using a snake draft format. The teams will each have their team name, logo, and colors.
For the first two rounds, each team’s two best stroke play scores are counted toward the team totals. For the third and final rounds, the best three scores from the team are measured to determine the winning team.
LIV Golf has payouts for individual and team winners, making it much more interesting to watch.
The PGA Tour recently revealed that their prize pool for the upcoming 2022-23 season would be $428.6 million, the highest it’s ever been.
This comes after some blowback.
LIV Golf was paying their golfers much more than the PGA Tour on average, leading to the change on the PGA side.
If you don’t make the cut at a PGA Tour event, you don’t get paid for that event. As PGA Tour events have many more golfers in the field, they cannot pay every one of them, hence the cut line. Although the prize pool for PGA events is as high as ever, the individual payouts for winning will never come close to what LIV Golf is paying.
All 48 golfers competing in LIV Golf events will go home with some payout. You could get last place every week and still make more than a golfer would on the PGA Tour.
Each LIV Golf event features a $25 million dollar purse. $20 million goes towards the individual stroke play, with the remaining $5 million going towards the team play aspect. The first-place winners of the stroke play portion go home with $4 million dollars.
This is one of the major reasons golfers are jumping ship from the PGA Tour over to LIV Golf, along with having to play less golf each year.
PGA vs LIV Broadcasting in the USA
If you want to check out coverage of the PGA Tour on television, there is no shortage of networks showing it throughout the year. PGA Tour recently signed new deals with both CBS Sports and NBC to continue showing PGA Tour events throughout the weekends.
If that isn’t enough, or if you don’t subscribe to any of these channels, you will also be able to find the PGA Tour live on ESPN+. This will be on the PGA Tour’s premium subscription service, where you can find access to thirty-five different PGA Tour events throughout the year.
Currently, LIV Golf has no broadcasting rights with any television network to show their golf on live television. You can only watch the LIV Golf events live through:
- their official website
- YouTube page
- Facebook page
If you go to the official LIV Golf accounts on those platforms, you will find the events once they have started. Online streaming only has had mixed reviews in the past. More people are moving towards streaming all of their live sports, so if that is the case, this may not bother you.
For the traditionalists who like watching their golf live on television on the weekends, this won’t be for you.
A lot of television channels will not make a deal with LIV because it would break their agreements to be the exclusive home to the PGA.
ESPN+ is a brand new online video streaming service that will be showing many of the PGA Tour events as they are happening. If your television provider has the Golf Network, you can also find some coverage through this channel.
Lastly, the streaming service DAZN also offers PGA Tour coverage all year round. DAZN costs $20/month or $150/year and offers full access to the PGA Tour events to be streamed directly online.
LIV Golf has also signed on as a partner with the video streaming service DAZN, and you can watch those events live if you have a DAZN account.
Most countries outside the US have access to the LIV Golf website. If you don’t, there are other ways to watch including Facebook and YouTube. If those websites are banned for some reason, your best bet may be to sign up for a DAZN account.
The upside to using DAZN to stream LIV golf is that you are given access to many other sports, not just golf.
PGA Tour vs. LIV Golf Rivalry
Since LIV Golf was announced, there has been a rivalry between them and the PGA Tour. However, I don’t think anyone anticipated it being as bad as it already is.
LIV Golf started poaching golfers right away from the PGA Tour, offering them lucrative deals to come over and exclusively play on the LIV Golf tour. After a few golfers switched over, the PGA Tour came out and said that these golfers would be banned from PGA Tour events and unable to gain FedEx Cup points.
Most recently, the PGA Tour sent all golfers who signed on with LIV Golf suspension letters and advised them that their PGA Tour membership could not be renewed for the upcoming season.
Although some golfers that switched to LIV Golf gave up their PGA Tour card, quite a few have not formally resigned from the PGA Tour. There is a current antitrust lawsuit, highlighted by 11 golfers protesting their suspension from the PGA Tour. This is an ongoing lawsuit that has not been completed.
Cameron Smith is the latest high-profile name to jump ship from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf. He joins the likes of Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, and others who headline LIV Golf events.
We will see more and more golfers making the switch as LIV Golf shows to be successful, primarily due to the higher purses involved and less travel.
PGA Tour’s Planned Changes
Ever since the emergence of the LIV Golf tour, the PGA Tour has had meetings to plan how to combat LIV and help keep its players. They have announced a multitude of changes so far:
- 8 additional events added, all with higher purses of money to be won
- A total purse of over 428 million dollars, substantially higher than what it previously was.
- 4 elevated events through the 2023 season, all with massive amounts of money to be won.
The PGA Tour also announced that the top players would be playing in those 12 additional events, plus all of the FedEx Cup events, four Majors, and The Players Championship for a total of 20 events.
This change means that the top 20 PGA players must play in at least 20 events yearly. This is because viewers want to watch the absolute best of the best compete against each other.
Lastly, the PGA Tour added a travel stipend for non-exempt PGA Tour players. This stipend provides $5,000 to players who miss the cut at a tournament and helps cover travel costs and expenses. This is a nice little bonus to the players who fight every week on the PGA Tour, hoping to break out.
As you can see, the PGA Tour is feeling the pressure from LIV Golf with these changes. I hope that they end up being for the better and I can continue watching the best golfers do what they do best.