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LIV Golf denies speculation that players aren’t getting prize money

LIV Golf has gained notoriety for its ludicrous payouts and contract offers, although in recent days rumors have circulated that such financial terms are partially dubious.

Their validity came into question Tuesday, during a hearing for three LIV golfers currently suspended by the PGA Tour who sought emergency relief to compete in the tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs.

Beth Labson Freeman, the judge for the case, noted that the contracts given by the Saudi-backed golf league calls for immediate payments “simply for showing up for the first tournament.” Robert Waters, the players’ attorney, seemed to insinuate otherwise, however.

“Well, they do, but then they have to win money in order to recoup against the contract, so they are a little bit different,” Waters explained.

LIV Golf, though, abruptly shut down the idea that players receive prize money only if the amount tops their guaranteed pay.

LIV Golf CEO/Commissioner Greg Norman.
LIV Golf CEO/Commissioner Greg Norman
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“I haven’t yet received the transcript from the proceedings [Tuesday], but it seems there is a misunderstanding regarding prize purses,” Atul Khosla, president and chief operating officer of LIV Golf, said in a memo. “This issue is simple, and we’ve addressed it before. Prize money is of course separate from the contractual monies that players earn. As you already know, prize money is not subtracted from a player’s contractual earnings. That’s all there is to it.”

“We maintain that every player’s contract is separate from prize money,” a LIV spokesperson also told Sports Illustrated.

Earlier this summer, at LIV’s tournament outside Portland, Ore., Brooks Koepka, among others, were also asked whether their tournament winnings counted against the money they received for joining the league and they said that was not the case.

Meanwhile, the three players — Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones — did not receive a temporary injunction.