PGA Tour vs LIV Golf: What could a future match up look like?

What could a future Ryder Cup-style LIV Golf vs PGA Tour match look like? We've picked the matches, so let's find out.

Johnny Percival's picture
Fri, 8 Dec 2023
LIV vs PGA Tour

With Jon Rahm's shock exit from the PGA Tour to join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf League now confirmed, the power balance between the two Tours has begun to tip. 

Despite what the world rankings say, LIV now has a powerful stable of players, strong enough to go head-to-head with the PGA Tour in a Ryder Cup-style tournament. Wouldn't that be fun?

While this is all purely hypothetical, it would be incredible to watch, and with a number of rivals now filling out each team, it would undoubtedly attract a huge crowd, too. 

So, with our team captain hat on, we've selected 12 of the best match-ups to go head-to-head against one another in the inaugural LIV vs PGA Tour match. 

Let's get into it. 

PGA Tour vs LIV Golf

Captains

Jay Monahan vs Greg Norman

We can already feel the tension in the air. Greg Norman's influence on the game of golf in recent years has been huge, and the LIV Golf CEO would undoubtedly love to be in the spotlight going up against PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan in some potentially spicy pre-tournament press conferences. 

Monahan and Norman have been battling out for some time since the introduction of LIV in 2022, and seeing them sat side by side, while their players went into battle would be a fascinating spectacle. 

Tiger Woods vs Phil Mickelson

It's a battle we've seen before, but one every golf fan on the planet would love to see again. Woods vs Mickelson would be a blockbuster affair, and despite the fact neither player is in their prime, this would be the match that would undoubtedly attract the most attention. 

Mickelson has been Mr Liv since its inception, and everybody knows when it comes to the PGA Tour, Woods carries more influence than anyone in the world. So, to see these two going head to head for the pride of their respective tours would be a mouth-watering proposition. 

Rory McIlroy vs Jon Rahm

While Mickelson vs Woods is perhaps the most legendary matchup, Rahm vs McIlroy would undoubtedly be the best. 

Two of the best players in the game at the peak of their powers, fighting it out for best professional Tour; what more could you want?

Rahm's move to LIV has been a controversial one, and despite McIlroy claiming he only wishes his European Ryder Cup partner well, we can't help but feel there might be a tinge of animosity lingering within McIlroy.

Take away the emotion, however, and this match would be a ball-striking masterclass. We all know match play brings the best in players, so to see these two battle it out would likely be the closest thing golf fans will get to watching a real gladiatorial battle.

Scottie Scheffler vs Cameron Smith

The best golfer in the world versus arguably the best putter in the world. This match-up would be a fantastic watch. Would Scheffler's ball striking overcome Smith, or would the Australian put Scheffler to the sword with his putter?

Neither player has been particularly outspoken about the LIV vs PGA Tour rivalry, but they would both undoubtedly let their talking be done out on the course. 

Viktor Hovland vs Brooks Koepka

Two of the form players of 2023, both Hovland and Koepka, can be absolutely unbeatable at their best. 

This tie would also carry that extra bit of spice following Koepka's victory at the PGA Championship this year, in which he overcame Hovland in the final round. 

Despite Hovland's smiley disposition, we have no doubt he would love to take revenge, and what better way to do it than a one-on-one match?

Patrick Cantlay vs Dustin Johnson

Despite the enticing allure of the LIV Golf League, we have to take our hat off to Cantlay for sticking firm with the PGA Tour. Now sitting on Tour's policy board, Cantlay would undoubtedly love to get one over the breakaway Tour, and there are few golfers in the world that could give him as good a match as Dustin Johnson. 

Johnson possesses one of the coolest dispositions in the game and when at his best, is close to unbeatable. We saw Cantlay's match-play mentality in full flow at the 2023 Ryder Cup, so hopefully, he can channel that same grit and determination into this match-up. 

Xander Schauffele vs Talor Gooch

Arguably the most in-form player on the LIV Tour, Gooch has gone from strength to strength this year, winning three times and taking home the individual LIV title. 

A match-up against Xander Schauffele would be an ideal way for him to stretch his muscles and prove that the PGA Tour's loss was LIV's gain. 

Calm and composed, Schauffele would undoubtedly relish the challenge in what could be a classic all-American affair.

Matthew Fitzpatrick vs Joaquin Niemann

While perhaps not the most headline-grabbing clash, Fitzpatrick vs Niemann would be an appetising offer for the golf purist. 

Both players have tasted victory this year and would undoubtedly love to claim a point for their respective Tour, and with them both being in some of the best form of their careers, this tie could be a real surprise package. 

Justin Thomas vs Bryson DeChambeau

There is rarely a dull moment with either Thomas or DeChambeau on the course, so putting them up against one another would likely be a recipe for fantastic entertainment. 

Thomas showed that despite his poor form this season, he is still a fierce competitor in match-play golf, and combine that with the long-hitting and drama-filled on-course antics of DeChambeau, you will likely get a blockbuster clash. 

Jordan Spieth vs Patrick Reed

Former teammates going head to head, what's not to love? Reed was, for a long time, the pantomime villain on the PGA Tour, and he also provided outstanding drama in the Ryder Cup. 

Put him up against one of the most entertaining golfers on the planet, and we think you have a match for the ages. 

Justin Rose vs Sergio Garcia

Old friends become new rivals. This legendary European clash would be a fantastic watch. Both Rose and Garcia are long-standing friends, but when it came time to pick between the PGA Tour and LIV, they went their separate ways. 

Rose tasted Ryder Cup victory once more in Rome, and we would imagine Garcia would likely have been looking on, wondering what could have been had he decided to stay. 

Despite his departure, Garcia still remains a Ryder Cup legend, and we would love to see him in the heat of battle once more.

Tyrrell Hatton vs Ian Poulter

No match-play event would be complete in our eyes without Ian Poulter's inclusion. The Postman has provided drama during every chapter of his Ryder Cup career, and to see him go into battle once more would be a proposition too hard to pass up. 

Hatton is considered by many to be Poulter's rightful heir in the European Ryder Cup team, thanks to his fiery temperament and competitive spirit. So, for that reason, we believe this would be a perfect duel—fire fighting fire in an all-English affair, with a great deal of pride at stake. 

While Hatton would undoubtedly have the edge in terms of form, we've all seen what Poulter is capable of when it comes to head-to-head golf. 

Luke Donald vs Henrik Stenson

While highly unlikely, this matchup would carry an extra bit of baggage due to the situation surrounding Stenson's Ryder Cup captaincy. When the tall Swede decided to move to LIV, his captaincy of the European Ryder Cup team was stripped from him.

Donald was next in line for the role and did a fantastic job in bringing victory back to European soil. Whether there is any awkwardness between the two, we don't know. However, seeing them going up against one another on the course would be an enticing prospect nonetheless. 

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