Now the PGA Tour has finally merged with LIV Golf's bankrollers, the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), we can come clean here at GolfMagic on what we know from multiple sources as to what many of the biggest and best PGA Tour players were offered to jump ship last season.
Some of the figures have been leaked on social media, while others have been revealed to GolfMagic by multiple sources with direct ties to LIV Golf.
Tiger Woods was said to have been offered the biggest pay packet ($750m) of them all, but he immediately turned it down.
Rory McIlroy had been rumoured to have been offered $500m, but he explained earlier this week how he was not offered a dollar!
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Of those PGA Tour players that did eventually move over to LIV Golf last season, Phil Mickelson went for the most at $200m.
Dustin Johnson was said to be next up in the region of $150m, with Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Cameron Smith all picking up just shy of that.
But LIV Golf was unsuccessful with plenty of their other offers.
Estimated LIV Golf offers that were turned down by some of biggest and best PGA Tour stars in 2022:
Tiger Woods - $700m-$800m
Woods was essentially offered an open cheque book to join LIV Golf, even if he was only able to play a handful of events as he continues to recover from his multiple injuries and setbacks. LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman revealed Woods' true price tag to join LIV Golf back in August 2022, but then a LIV Golf boss played that down two months later. From what we were told by our sources, "TW received well over half a billion." Only Woods had absolutely no interest.
Hideki Matsuyama - $400m
The case of Matsuyama to LIV Golf is a fascinating one. The Japanese star was offered a huge $400m cheque to jump ship to LIV Golf. This was not just because of his Masters champion status, but more the fact Norman wanted to take LIV Golf all over Asia and especially Japan. To properly go about setting up a tournament in Japan, he would need the nation's most popular sports athlete to be in the field. Matsuyama is said to have considered the offer, but wanted to concentrate his efforts on the PGA Tour, which already holds an event in his homeland at the ZOZO Championship.
Jon Rahm - $200m-$300m (rose close to $400m after he won the 2023 Masters)
Rahm may have told everyone on social media he had no intentions of heading to LIV Golf last season, but he was certainly thinking about it. We have had that explained to us by at least three sources close to LIV Golf over the past 12 months. Norman was intent to bring both Matsuyama and Rahm to LIV Golf. According to our sources, they were the two players he considers to have "got away from him". Norman also wanted to take LIV Golf to Spain, which he duly did in 2023. To have Rahm in the field at Valderrama this June was part of his plan, despite already having Sergio Garcia. From what we know, and what Golf Channel's Matt Adams also revealed earlier this week, Rahm was in "advanced discussions" with LIV Golf. Rahm's value is said to have further risen after he slipped on the green jacket at The Masters this April. But Rahm ultimately turned them down twice.
Jordan Spieth - $100m
Spieth was pursued by LIV Golf in the very early stages. One source revealed to us Spieth was offered a fee of $100m given his superstar status. But Spieth gave no consideration to the offer at all as he wanted to continue his resurgence back on the PGA Tour.
Justin Thomas - $100m
JT was said to be intrigued by what LIV Golf was doing in its inaugural season, but just like with his good pal Spieth, he was determined to fully focus on the PGA Tour.
Patrick Cantlay - $100m
Cantlay was really interested in heading to LIV Golf along with his best bud Xander Schauffele. Multiple sources told us the two things holding Cantlay back from a move to LIV Golf was world ranking points and the Ryder Cup. This is because LIV still doesn't have OWGR points, and given Cantlay has yet to win a major championship he did not want to potentially miss out on competing in the four big events of the season as a result of slipping down the ladder. Had the former FedEx Cup champion already locked up a recent major title, and been eligible for the majority of majors no matter what happened to OWGR points, then Cantlay would have very likely been competing on LIV Golf in 2023. The thought of missing out on the Ryder Cup with his team-mate and best friend Schauffele was also something he did not want to risk, and so he eventually refused their offer. LIV have kept a door open though.
Xander Schauffele - $100m
Ditto to the above.
Viktor Hovland - $100m
Ditto to the above.
Will Zalatoris -
Zalatoris was another player apparently offered a huge deal to join LIV Golf following a number of impressive displays in the major championships, albeit coming up short. The young American is understood to have given the offer some thought but eventually turned it down as he struggled with injury. LIV Golf reportedly upped the offer to try and get it over the line, according to one source. Zalatoris did win his first title on the PGA Tour in August last year, but he soon sustained back troubles and that ruled him out of multiple events to close out the year. Zalatoris got married and returned to the circuit earlier this season but then had to have a back surgery and that has ruled him out for the entirety of this season.
Cameron Young - $75m
A very similar story to the above with Zalatoris having impressed in the major championships only to just come up short. Unlike Zalatoris though, Young is still yet to win on the PGA Tour. Despite that, Young is considered one of the brightest young sparks on the PGA Tour right now by those at LIV and hence they wanted to reward him accordingly. Young did give things plenty of thought, so we are told, but he eventually remained loyal to the PGA Tour.
Now for some special mentions:
Multiple reports claimed McIlroy was offered in the region of $500m to head over to LIV Golf last season, but the Northern Irishman confirmed after the PGA Tour's shock merger with Saudi PIF earlier this week that he was not offered a single dollar. But as a four-time major champion, former World No.1, two-time FedEx Cup champion and the lead player voice of the PGA Tour, do we really believe LIV Golf had little to no interest in ever signing him?! Come on, do us a favour!
The current World No.1 and last year's Masters champion was no doubt offered a huge sum to go and join LIV Golf, but we were not made aware by any of our sources as to the exact figure. That is apparently because Scheffler nailed his colours to the PGA Tour mast as soon as LIV Golf emerged on the scene. He had no interest at all. Given we know current World No.2 and two-time major champion Rahm was offered well over $200m to join LIV Golf, you have to believe Scheffler's price tag would have been similar.
There was plenty of rumour about Fowler heading to LIV Golf last season, especially given the state of his game at the time. Even many of Rickie's most ardent fans would have been thinking it wouldn't have been the worst move for him given he was struggling to make cuts on the PGA Tour. However, despite no doubt being approached by LIV Golf, it always sounded like the poster boy of American golf was keen to remain loyal to the PGA Tour and fight his way back into the winners' circle. Although that hasn't yet happened, the form reads much better for Fowler in 2023. While we don't know the exact price tag LIV Golf put on Fowler's back, you have to believe given his popularity both on and off the course that he would have been well over the $100m mark.
All of the above with Fowler could very much be related to Day, who had been struggling to find form in 2022. Few would have argued with Day taking a pay packet to join LIV given the state of his game and most importantly the state of his back. But Day has changed his golf swing to go easier on his body and it has paid instant dividends with a victory on the PGA Tour this season. Day isn't quite back to his former World No.1 best but he is close. Day would have no doubt also been offered around the $100m mark to join his fellow Aussies over on LIV Golf.