PGA Chief Reiterates LIV Golf Business Model Comments

PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh has questioned the viability of LIV Golf for the second time in a matter of days

Seth Waugh takes a shot a the 2022 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews
Seth Waugh has doubled down on his thoughts that LIV Golf is unsustainable
(Image credit: Getty Images)

PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh has doubled down on comments he made in an interview with The Times on the sustainability of LIV Golf.

In the interview, Waugh described LIV’s business model as “flawed” and said it was burning money without accomplishing much.

Waugh spoke to the media as preparations for the PGA Championship continue, and he reiterated his opinion that LIV Golf is not sustainable. First, though, he made the point that the players in the field are invited guests, including the 17 LIV Golf players

He said: “What we're about this week is having it be the greatest field in golf. We said that's what we wanted to do, and that's what we've done. Everybody who's here this week is our invited guest, and we're happy to have them and we're going to treat them all the same."

Waugh then said that while he doesn’t see the benefit of division in the game, he can appreciate the advantages of disruption of the type LIV Golf has brought. He continued: “We don't think division is in the best interest of the game. As a former businessman who looks at things, I think disruption is a good thing. I think good things have happened from that. 

"Certainly the players are better off in a lot of ways from what it was. I think having more the fans deal with -- get to see more of the great players together more often is a good thing. I think there's more interest in the game frankly as a result of all this disruption.”

However, while Waugh admitted the emergence of LIV Golf has brought some benefits, he again made the point the he doesn’t see any long-term viability. He continued: “I struggle and I have since the beginning, even before the beginning, with understanding how it's a sustainable business model.”

The appearance of LIV Golf players at The Masters was controversial but, in the end, their presence alongside players from other circuits was largely harmonious, and, despite his misgivings about the circuit, Waugh said he expects the same at Oak Hill.

“I am proud of The Masters because they returned civility to the game. That's how they dealt with it. That's how we want to deal with it," explained Waugh. "Again, everybody is our invited guest. That's consistent, and I'll say that today, and I'll greet the players when I see them for sure. They're all invited to our dinner tonight, past champions. We're treating them in the way that we would treat everybody else.”

However, Waugh again insisted that he didn’t see how LIV Golf is either sustainable or superior to alternatives. He said: “I'm going to be honest in the same way that I was at Kiawah three years ago to say, I'm not sure that it's a superior product and I'm not sure that it's a sustainable business model because nothing has changed my mind about either of those things.”

Last December, a 2021 plan drawn up by management consulting firm McKinsey & Company emerged which outlined ambitious plans LIV Golf needed to succeed, including attracting each of the world’s top 12 players and “sponsors to an unproven product.” Then, in February, it was reported that lawyers admitted that LIV Golf made "virtually zero" revenue in its first season.

Mike Hall
News Writer

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.