Veteran Hunter Mahan made over $30 million (and the number is growing) during his 19-year grind on the PGA Tour, but in today’s golf world, players cash even bigger checks with the stroke of a pen.
“The players are the winners in this mode,” Mahan said, referring to the guaranteed signing bonuses for joining LIV Golf. “How can I just sit there and say to them, No, you are not allowed to take that.”
On this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar Podcast, the 42nd place winner in PGA Tour history explained who gained and who lost from the Tour division. The advent of a competing tour has divided golf enthusiasts around the world.
It’s hard to say what’s good for the game, Mahan said.
It is easier to determine whether the LIV is adding to or taking away from golf by detailing the question further. Is it good for players? Is it good for fans? Is it good for the American PGA or the Saudi Public Investment Fund?
Mahan believes in the virtue of “free agency” in golf.
“I am happy that the players are playing on the LIV Tour. They make their own choices, and having choices is not a bad thing at all.”
But these choices come with great sacrifices. Recently signed LIV’s Henrik Stenson is no longer qualified to lead the European Ryder Cup team. Veteran veteran Ian Poulter was booed on his first tee in St Andrews last week. The PGA Tour is now off-limits to LIV golfers.
“Is this legal?” Mahan asked. “You can’t tell someone they can’t do something when they have the right to do it.”
But they did. Mahan isn’t the only one feeling this way, as there is an anti-competition case against the PGA Tour.
“This is what leverage looks like,” Mahan said. “It’s uncomfortable.”
One group of people is experiencing the influence of the PGA Tour.
“I’m a little worried about the fans,” Mahan said. “Won’t we see these players compete against each other?”
Subpar co-host Drew Stoltz mentioned that if big business is the only time fans see a field of the best in the world, these events get really, really powerful. Mahan agreed with Stoltz that one tournament, the Masters, would have more influence than the rest.
“This is not over yet,” Mahan said.
To hear his full interview with Subpar, check out the link below.