A tainted prize?
Some of the world’s best professional golfers have faced criticism this week for their decision to enter a controversial Saudi-backed tournament. Reporters and fans have accused the legends of trading their morals for cash, pointing to the severe and persistent human rights abuses in the nation funding the event.
the most lucrative tournament in the history of the sport
It’s certainly evident why the golfers have chosen to take part despite the moral issues. The UK edition of the LIV Golf Series, commonly known as the Super Golf League, is the most lucrative tournament in the history of the sport, offering a combined purse of $25m. A win in the individual competition will earn a lucky golfer $4m, more than the PGA Tour’s flagship event this year. Each player has also secured an additional bonus to sign up, some reaching nine figures.
The move has come at great cost in another way, however. After the likes of Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Dustin Johnson, and Lee Westwood teed off in London on Thursday, they received a letter from the PGA Tour declaring them officially suspended. It was an eventuality they all knew could happen, and one that will most likely also cost them a place playing for their countries in the prestigious Ryder Cup.
With the high price of their participation clear to see, VegasSlotsOnline News has taken a look at the finances of three of these golfing legends to assess why they have chosen to take part regardless.
Saudi League deal: $125m
US golfing legend Dustin Johnson has won everything there is to win. He has 28 professional victories to his name, including a staggering 24 in the PGA Tour. In fact, he has claimed at least one win every year since turning professional in 2007. As a result, his net worth stands at around $50m, meaning he could increase his total worth by 8% by taking gold in the inaugural LIV Golf Series event.
stands to make a reported $125m
Like the other pros, he has now received a suspension from the PGA Tour after teeing off in the Super Golf League on Thursday. That said, he might find it a little easier to sleep at night after securing a monster deal with the Saudi owners. Johnson, who has made $74.2m in his career in tournament winnings, stands to make a reported $125m for quitting the PGA Tour and joining the Super League fully, according to The Telegraph. That would increase his net worth by a staggering 250%.
Johnson said he had to “think long and hard” about his decision to join the league. Commenting on the impact for his Ryder Cup participation, he added: “Ultimately, I decided to come and do this. Obviously, the Ryder Cup is unbelievable and something that has meant a lot to me. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to do that again, but I don’t make the rules”:
Saudi League deal: $30m
Ian Poulter is not exactly new to controversy, most notably finding himself in hot water after posting anti-Semitic comments on social media in 2010. The English golfer has experienced an incredibly successful career, however, with three wins in the PGA Tour and 12 in the European. This, along with his sponsorship deals, has contributed to his net worth of around $60m.
could increase his net worth by as much as 50%
If Poulter wins the individual event in London then he stands to increase this by just under 7%. However, according to Golf Monthly, the 46-year-old received an offer of as much as $30m to take part in the Super Golf League, for which the UK competition is just the inaugural event. This means he could increase his net worth by as much as 50%, or even more if he is able to take home some trophies.
Poulter has been one of the most vocal regarding his participation in the Saudi-backed Series. That said, he was left speechless this week when one Sky Sports News reporter asked if he would take part in a similarly lucrative tournament if it was backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin:
Saudi League deal: $200m
Phil Mickelson needs no introduction as one of the most famous and richest golfers of all time, his net worth reaching $300m. The Californian turned pro 30 years ago this week, and has reportedly earned $925m on and off the course in those three decades. Clearly, the $4m purse from the inaugural Super Golf Series event is small change to such a wealthy man, so why take part?
Well, according to Forbes, the golfer has signed a contract for roughly $200m to join the league. That would increase Mickelson’s already impressive net worth by almost 67%.
difficulties with gambling in the past
It’s also important to note that Mickelson has had difficulties with gambling in the past. A recent biography excerpt revealed that he lost $40m through this habit during his prime earning years, although the golfer has affirmed that financial difficulties are not the reason for his joining the Super League. Speaking with reporters earlier this week, he said he was in a comfortable place financially and was attending therapy for his gambling.
Mickelson has faced significant backlash for his comments on the league. This month, he expressed no reservations about working with the Saudis despite the 2018 murder of Washington post columnist Jamal Khashoggi – something a United Nations probe deemed a “premeditated execution.” He broke his silence over the comments earlier this week: