Golf is one of the most popular sports in the world. Each year, analysts cover the PGA’s various tours around the world, including the PGA Tour, the European Tour, and the Japan Tour. Fans often bet on majors, as sportsbooks offer incredibly varied lines. This is also popular for first-time bettors taking advantage of offers like a bet365 bonus, which can be applied to PGA events.
The reason many bettors gravitate toward golf is its emphasis on stats. Compared to other sports, there’s a higher emphasis on granular data points, which makes betting simpler for math-minded individuals. In fact, the PGA regularly releases stats for its top pros.
But the PGA, active since 1929, might not be the only authority on golf looking ahead. Last year, LIV Golf was founded with the goal of promoting a brand new golf league with higher prize pools and brand new stopovers at top courses around the world. So far, the league has struggled to find defectors from the PGA… but that might change in the coming years.
LIV Golf, headed by former pro Greg Norman, is keeping its mission statement simple: rival the PGA Tour. The PGA’s response has been swift and unforgiving: golfers who jump ship to the league won’t be welcomed back into the PGA. It also created a ‘strategic alliance’ between its North American and European legs to create a new exciting schedule with increased prize pools.
Most golfers spend years accruing enough points through tournaments in order to be accepted as a member of the PGA. So far, few have jumped ship—but Kevin Na, a PGA Tour member, set the precedent on 4 June 2022. Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, and Phil Mickelson, some of the most popular pros in the PGA, are following suit. Meanwhile, some sources suggest LIV Golf is attempting to woo Tiger Woods with a high nine-figure deal.
Most golf pros and fans hate LIV Golf. Rory McIlroy, one of the world’s reigning golf pros, has spoken out against the league. Rather than oppose another major golf series, the concern is the funding behind LIV Golf. The series is funded by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF), which has been tied to multiple controversies in the last ten years.
The idea is this: in order to improve its public image, Saudi Arabia might be engaging in ‘sportswashing’. Sportswashing is a tool used to seek public redemption with high-profile sports events. So far, defectors like Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson have faced harsh criticism and backlash from the public for joining LIV Golf.
However, neither are backing down from their commitment to the new league. At the moment, LIV is hammering out the details of its accreditation with the World Golf Rankings, which will help standardize rankings globally in both LIV and PGA majors.