The biggest component of the new LIV Golf league is cash. How big the tournament purses are and how engorged the contracts have been for superstar talents like Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson are top stories. Players are getting paid wheelbarrows of cash for their services apart from the PGA Tour.
An interesting rumor began to circulate over the last few weeks, however, that the $25 million purses LIV Golf was doling out were not all they seemed to be. The thinking was that if a player got, say, a $100 million contract from LIV Golf and won the $4 million first prize at an event, that would count as part of the contract instead of being paid out separately.
Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee made this public this week, and golfers were asked about it on Tuesday ahead of the LIV Golf event in Portland. The exchange was fascinating:
Q. It's been reported by people that ... your signing bonuses versus the draw, meaning what you win comes out of your signing bonus or vice versa. That's supposedly in your guys' contracts. Can you confirm if that's actually true or not?
Brooks Koepka: "That's not -- no. No."
Q. Just to confirm, Brooks, you're saying it's not the case?
Koepka: "No. I don't know -- it's irrelevant."
Q. Okay. And the rest of you guys?
Pat Perez: [Shook head]
Q. The only reason I ask you is because both Keith Pelley, Jay Monahan and you can name other people keep saying that we're mis-reporting stuff all the time, and the reason is because every time we ask a question we can't get answers or people don't want to talk about the specific issues. That's why I'm asking.
Koepka: "I heard that rumor on Monday morning at the U.S. Open. I also heard I was in London on Saturday or Sunday before. I mean, that was on Monday. Just saying. You can't believe everything you hear."
At first, it seemed like players were deflecting and that Chamblee was correct, that prize money actually was a draw against the contracts various players have signed. However, at the very end of the press conference with Koepka, Perez and Patrick Reed, the LIV Golf moderator cleared things up.
"I just wanted to address Alex's question earlier when you were asking about the prize purses and if they are in addition to the contracts," she said. "The prize purses are in addition to. There is no draw at LIV Golf on any finances. We just wanted to, on the record, it's in addition to. And while you guys have, this is your first event, but you should know that from your contracts. You can attest to it. Thank you guys."
To simplify this, let's say Koepka signed a $100 million contract to play in the LIV Golf league. He will receive all of that money, and if he wins the Portland event this weekend, he'll also receive $4 million for a total of $104 million in addition to other winnings he accumulates over the course of his LIV Golf career.