'The Money Makes It Look Gross' - Rich Beem On LIV Golf Scrutiny

The former PGA champion thinks the mammoth sums on offer on the LIV Series is why golfers are being so heavily scrutinised

Rich Beem during the 2022 PGA Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Former Major champion Rich Beem has given his take on why golfers defecting from the traditional tours to the up-start LIV Golf Series are being subjected to such widespread backlash.

Without much fuss, several major sporting events have been hosted in Saudi Arabia and boosted by the country's mammoth sovereign wealth fund. The Jeddah street circuit has become a feature on the Formula 1 calendar, for example, while Anthony Joshua and Oleksander Usyk will travel to the Kingdom for their blockbuster heavyweight championship rematch in August.

Video: What is LIV Golf?

Why, then, have the likes of Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter had their morality scrutinised to closely for featuring in the Greg Norman-fronted breakaway circuit?

"I'm just gonna say it, the money makes it look a little bit gross," Beem told BoyleSports Golf Betting. "When you hear the numbers being thrown around - for winning a tournament it's $4 million when you're playing against 48 guys. And if you look at the 48 guys, half of them play horrible. When you look at the disparity between first place and last place as far as the scores go, that's a little bit bizarre. 

"It's been more than just the entire F1 going, it’s not like the tours going to Saudi Arabia. It has a different vibe to it than anything else. Maybe it's because of the fact that we are independent contractors, but you're also breaking away from the PGA Tour.

"I think it's just the fact that there's so much money being thrown at the players. I say thrown, offered, because have these guys maybe earned the right to accept all this money? Sure they have, they've had some amazing careers. 

"Mickelson has 40-odd PGA Tour wins, six major championships; DJ with two; Brooks with four. These guys have got some pretty tasty CVs, but I think it's about the money more than anything else. 

"It looks like these guys are buying a tour or buying players, whereas the F1 has to go there as a group. Even boxing, the promoters are the guys that want to have it there. I think it's just a different look for golf, something that hasn't been exposed yet and it just doesn't have a very good look."

Once a fan favourite, Poulter was booed onto the first tee at the 150th Open on Thursday, presumably for jumping ship to LIV. Norman is the man charged with spearheading the new venture and for that the R&A uninvited him from the Celebration of Champions and the Champions' Dinner held in St Andrews in the build-up to the historic championship.

Mickelson was told he could attend but that the R&A didn't think it was a great idea, while Martin Slumbers, CEO of the Royal and Ancient, admitted "we will review our exemptions and qualifications criteria for The Open."

An avenue being explored is to exclude players who are suspended from either the PGA or DP World Tour from featuring in future Opens. Should this happen, it's also expected the other Major organisations would follow suit in adjusting their qualification criteria.

Norman has vowed to support LIV players in the inevitable legal battles to come, with Poulter already successful in overturning his ban from teeing it up at the newly co-sanctioned Scottish Open. 

Andrew Wright
Staff Writer

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.

Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.

As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.

What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x