ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - JUNE 11: Charl Schwartzel of Stinger GC celebrates with the LIV Golf Invitational individual trophy following victory during day three of LIV Golf Invitational - London at The Centurion Club on June 11, 2022 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Joe Maher/LIV Golf/Getty Images)
Golf

Are More PGA Tour Pros Set To Join The LIV Golf Tour Exodus?

You may recall that last week we reported on the fact that the US PGA Tour, ostensibly through a memo from Chief Executive Jay Monahan, suspended indefinitely the 17 professionals that had held or did hold a PGA Tour Card but who had also played in the LIV Golf Invitational at the Centurion Club in St Albans, England.

The inaugural tournament was won by one of those players, South African Charl Schwartzel, who pocketed a record-beating $4m for winning the individual tournament, and he then picked up a nice little additional bonus of $750,000 when his team won the Team Tournament too.

The $4.75 million Schwartzel earned in this one tournament equalled the total amount that he had won over the last four years on the US PGA Tour.

Rory Roars Back In Canada

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic Ocean, Rory McIlroy shot a final round 62 at the RBC

ETOBICOKE, ONTARIO – JUNE 12: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after winning the RBC Canadian Open at St. George’s Golf and Country Club on June 12, 2022 in Etobicoke, Ontario. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Canadian Open at St. George’s Golf Course to claim back-to-back victories in the tournament, winning the event by two shots from Tony Finau and Justin Thomas.

McIlroy’s two wins came three years apart, in 2019 and 2022, due to the previous two tournaments being cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tellingly, despite beating a much stronger field, McIlroy picked up $1,566,000 for his win.

Even if McIlroy were to win the US Open this coming week, he would pick up around $2,250,000 for winning the tournament, less than half of what Charles Schwartzel received for 3-days work against a far inferior field in terms of the depth of quality.

The Irishman is now the +1100 favorite to win the US Open with FanDuel Sportsbook, ahead of Justin Thomas (+1200) and Scottie Scheffler (+1300) and current US Open Champion, Jon Rahm (+1600).

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US Open Lives Up To It’s Name

With the USGA confirming that it will still be honoring the invitations extended to the

AL MUROOJ, SAUDI ARABIA – FEBRUARY 02: Phil Mickelson of USA and Greg Norman, CEO of Liv Golf Investments interact during a practice round prior to the PIF Saudi International at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club on February 02, 2022 in Al Murooj, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Luke Walker/WME IMG/WME IMG via Getty Images)

LIV Golf Tour professionals that have qualified for the US Open this year, and strongly hinting that this policy is unlikely to change in the future, we will see several LIV Golf Stars teeing it up against their PGA Tour adversaries this week.

Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Talor Gooch and Phil Mickelson are just some of the stars that played in St. Albans that will be present in Massachusetts later this week.

And despite their suspension of players from their tour, the US PGA does not seemed to have stemmed the leak of talent moving from the tour to the LIV Golf Tour.

Barely had the first day of action been completed on Thursday last week, when the LIV Tour announced Bryson DeChambeau would become the latest US PGA Tour card holder to join the tour for their next event in Portland, Oregon.

Then over the weekend, it emerged that a further six popular US PGA Tour Card holders, some of them Major Champions, could well make the switch to the LIV Golf Tour at the next event.

This includes players Rickie Fowler, Pat Perez, Matthew Wolff, Jason Kokrak, Patrick Reed and Bubba Watson.

That may well be a major concern for the US PGA as a trickle, can soon turn into a stream and then a torrent as players fear being the ones left behind.

US PGA Support From Players

For the time being, the US PGA Tour still enjoys healthy support from its players. Rory

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – APRIL 07: Tiger Woods plays his shot on the fifth hole during the first round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 07, 2022 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

McIlroy was moved to defend the tour, as well as throwing barbs at the LIV Golf Tour, in his acceptance speech after winning the Canadian Open this weekend.

Other players such as Justin Thomas and, tellingly, Tiger Woods, have also handed their support to their current tour.

However, if the tour continues to lose quality players to the LIV Golf Tour, how long will that be the case before at least some form of compromise can be found?

With the LIV Tour rebels in town this week for the US Open, it promises to be a hugely exciting week and probably one that is no less controversial than the previous seven days.

One thing is for sure, the future of golf has changed, but at the moment, nobody is quite sure how.

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