Report - LIV Golf Spent $784m This Year & Will Splash Out $1bn In 2023

LIV Golf's Saudi Arabian backers will splash out a reported $1bn in 2023 to keep their series going

Greg Norman at the LIV Golf Invitational Series London draft on 7 June 2022
(Image credit: Getty Images)

LIV Golf have reportedly splashed out an eye-watering $784m in the first year of their plan to shatter the world of professional golf – and could spend as much as $1billion more next year too.

Greg Norman was determined to break what he thinks is the PGA Tour monopoly on golf and, given his own personal beef with them, has been delighted with how LIV Golf has upset the status quo so far.

Money is key, of course, and in the Saudi Arabian government’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) Norman found the perfect backers – with the deepest pockets who are not scared to spend it to make a splash for their own reasons.

And now, Sports Illustrated’s esteemed golf journalist Bob Harig has published a report on just how much the PIF has backed Norman, with the massive $784m outlay to fund huge prize purses, signing on bonuses and also funding travel, accommodation and lavish parties for their players.

The season-ending LIV Golf Team Championship has a $50m prize pot, with the previous seven tournament having $25m in prize money to be won – even finishing last would win a player $120,000.

Harig notes that the bulk of the first year expenditure came on huge signing fees for LIV Golf poster boy Phil Mickelson, then the likes of Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, and expects the outlay to increase further as LIV Golf expands.

“Mickelson, Johnson, DeChambeau, Koepka and Smith alone count for more than half a billion dollars in guaranteed contracts,” writes Harig. “That is in addition to $225 million in purses over eight events. And all expenses paid. 

“LIV’s first-year expenditure, according to a source, is pegged at $784 million all-in. Another $1 billion is committed for next year as the schedule will increase to 14 events.”

Phil Mickelson at a LIV Golf media conference

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The true payments and structures of the contracts are still unknown, but Mickelson is thought to have signed a $200m deal with LIV Golf as the huge marquee signing that really got the ball rolling.

From there, Johnson is thought to have signed a deal worth around $150m with DeChambeau getting $125m for joining the exodus.

Players often cited “spending more time with family” or “growing the game of golf” as reasons for joining LIV, but first and foremost it’s the huge, and importantly guaranteed, sums of money on offer that has turned heads.

Less golf, more money should perhaps be the mantra with expenses such as the infamous private plane LIV Golfers shared on social media, and lavish parties thrown in for good measure – the Saudi Arabian millions have been well received.

“The game of golf is very lucky to have the PIF invest in the game,” Mickelson said at the LIV Golf Jeddah event.

“The sport of the game of golf is being influxed with billions of dollars now. And the ability to go global and make golf a truly global sport is really beneficial for the game.”

With legal proceedings still active, battles over world ranking points and question marks about who will be allowed to play in Ryder Cups and the majors, this has been a year like no other and a monumental shift in golf is underway.

And judging by plans for next season Norman and his financial backers have no intention of slowing the spending any time soon.

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.