Lawsuit Hearing Throws Doubt On LIV Golf Prize Money Claims

The lawsuit hearing brought by 11 LIV Golf players against the PGA Tour has raised confusion on contract terms

A general view of the 18th green the LIV Golf logo and Club 54 during the 3rd round of the LIV Golf Invitational Series Bedminster
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The hearing to determine the outcome of the LIV Golf players’ lawsuit against the PGA Tour has thrown up a surprising twist concerning the players’ contracts.

According to a tweet from golf data analyst Rick Gehman, the lawyer representing LIV Golf has reportedly said that the money won in tournaments is recouped against LIV contracts. That contradicts what was previously believed – namely that the prize money players win is in addition to their contracts.

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Prior to the second LIV Golf Invitational Series event in Portland, Oregon, new signings Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed and Pat Perez were asked about the specifics of their contracts. Perez appears to confirm that the prize purses are in addition to their contracts and says: “Chamblee was banging that drum the other day.”

You can see the video below. 

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Rumours surrounding the terms of the players' contracts began when, in a since deleted tweet, the Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee had claimed that, following the inaugural tournament of the Series at London's Centurion Club, Charl Schwartzel “didn’t 'win' 4.7 million because as it turns out the winnings went against his guarantee, which was never noted on air, proving once again that this Saudi regimen with MBS heading the PIF fund are slow to or don’t pay.”

That drew a response from Schwartzel, who bluntly replied: "Sorry to disappoint you Brandel but what you claiming happened is untrue."

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At the same press conference, Brooks Koepka was asked whether the prize money was in addition to the signing fee, to which he responded: “I don’t know, it’s irrelevant.”

Golfweek's Eamon Lynch later attempted to add clarity, tweeting: "In testimony, lawyer for LIV players said that in some contracts a player's prize money is recouped against his advance. A noteworthy admission that LIV previously denied."

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Finally, Golf Digest's Dan Rapaport reported on comments from a LIV spokesman, who said: “Our counsel was responding to a different question about recouping or offsetting FedEx cup earnings. “We maintain that every player’s contract is separate from prize money.”

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Whatever the truth is on players' contracts, the moment was just one part of a dramatic hearing in which the San Jose judge ruled against LIV Trio Hudson Swafford, Talor Gooch and Matt Jones, who had hoped to play in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, which begin this week with the St. Jude Championship. 

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.