Chris DiMarco Labels $2m Champions Tour Purses A 'Joke' In Hard-Hitting Podcast Interview On Money And LIV Golf

The three-time PGA Tour winner had some strong views on money in the game and the inception of LIV Golf

Chris DiMarco during a PGA Tour event wearing a white Ping cap and sky blue hoodie
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Chris DiMarco joked that he is "kind of hoping" that LIV Golf buys the over-50s PGA Tour Champions so the players can "play for a little real money".

The three-time PGA Tour winner, 55, shared some hard-hitting views on the Subpar podcast with Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz amid golf's influx of Saudi money and the rivalry between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf.

He also called the average of $2m purses on the PGA Tour Champions a "joke".

LIV Golf plays for $25m each event and former PGA Tour stars like Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson are just some of the names to have left the PGA Tour for nine-figure fees.

The PGA Tour has been forced to up its prize pools in response, and even created the lucrative $100m Player Impact Program bonus scheme, which has been reduced to $50m this year. 

DiMarco, who has $22.7m PGA Tour career earnings, referenced the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, which had a $25m purse and saw Scottie Scheffler bag $4.5m and four others pick up over $1m.

“Well, we’re kind of hoping that LIV buys the Champions Tour," he joked on the podcast.

"Let’s play for a little real money out here. I mean, this is kind of a joke when we’re averaging two million. There were like seven guys last week from TPC that made more money than our purses.”

"I was fortunate you know you came in about the same time as Tiger did so I got to go from we're playing to a million dollars to all of sudden we're playing for four and five and I thought that was you know 'now we're playing for so much money' and then now Tiger and Rory and all these guys and tour has just gotten even way more than it was.

"All of a sudden they found $150m out of nowhere and added that to the purses and now they've got 14 elevated events at what $20m a piece and TPC at $25m.

Scottie Scheffler holds the Players Championship trophy

World No.1 Scottie Scheffler won $4.5m at the Players Championship

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"So obviously the money's there, I was fortunate to play during the Tiger era and got to play for some good money but not like the kind of money these guys are playing for. It seems like every week there's another person passing me on the career money in a couple of years of being on tour."

DiMarco, who famously lost to Tiger Woods in the 2005 Masters playoff after Woods' iconic chip-in on the 16th in regulation, doesn't blame anyone for joining LIV and admitted he would have jumped himself during the height of his career and for one reason: "money".

"I don't fault any of those guys for going to LIV if you had asked me the same thing in 2004 or five when I was at the height of my career, 'see you later, I'm gone'," he said.

"And it would be purely a monetary thing for me, you're talking generational money these guys are making. It'd be nice to have that in the bank to have your kids taken care of and all that, I don't see any problem with it.

"When they first came out and they said, Oh, we’re playing this less golf all that’s bulls***. You know what they just want to? They want they want to play for a lot of money, and they deserve it. They’ve had some great careers; why not go get some money?”

The American later revealed a conversation he had with Graeme McDowell and also criticized Jay Monahan's leadership during the fracture.

"I saw Graeme McDowell at the Old Memorial Pro-Member, and he was telling me, he goes, 'Listen, I went up to Jay Monahan and said I love the tour but you know what, I am struggling to keep my card and these guys are offering me all this money and all these tournaments and less golf.' He goes 'I'm sorry, I'm going.' And I don't blame him one bit, and I said I would have too," DiMarco said.

“Not to bash Jay Monahan, but I think he handled it terribly…. I think the beginning just to have the cut and dry thing that he did, I think it was a little too much. I think he should have maybe let some of this soak in and see what's gonna happen with this. He just got to the point where it was just black and white, that's it and 'we're taking this route, if you play there you're off.' 

"I think he could have done a little bit better job of that and then the guys that stuck by like Rory McIlroy, these guys have turned down a lot of money, now what do they have to show for it? These guys get to come back and play, I mean I’d be pretty ticked off if I was them.”

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV