'I've Got To Play Somewhere': LIV Golf's Opportunity Appeals to Players on the Fringe – Sports Illustrated

With the millions sloshing around in the PGA Tour prize pool every week, an established player deciding to play in the LIV Golf experiment may appear selfish.
That’s how some may view former world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, already wealthy thanks to his performance on the PGA Tour ($74 million in earnings, third all-time) who jumped to the LIV Golf series for reportedly a $100 million fee
But Johnson is the most notable outlier in a field that is largely filled with lesser-known names from tours paying a fraction of the PGA Tour’s riches.
And there are more players that want in.
Take Michael Campbell, the 2005 U.S. Open winner. Now 53 years old, he is of age for the PGA Tour Champions but has virtually no status and is relegated to writing letters to tournament directors for sponsor’s exemptions. He’s in professional golf limbo.
He finished T55 last week at the Senior PGA Championship, which was the first time Campbell played in a PGA Tour Champions event since the Senior British Open last July and only his sixth start on the tour since he turned 50 in 2019.

“The more you play, tournament play, the more reps you have out there. You get into the groove more,” Campbell said. “It’s frustrating, but it’s just a matter of can you get on some sort of run, three, four weeks in a row and get the juices going again.”
For Campbell, who holds both a DP World Tour and Legends Tour card, his next best chance as he sees it is playing on this week’s Asian Tour event, The International Series at Slaley Hall in the English midlands. With a top-5 finish, he would get an exemption into the inaugural LIV event next week at the Centurion Club.

“I’ve got to play somewhere,” Campbell said when asked about potentially playing in a LIV event. “Everyone has their own opinion about the Saudi stuff and I’m at the end of my career and if I get paid ‘X’ amount of money or play for a lot of money, I’ll probably take it.”
Campbell is not alone.
Retief Goosen is a two-time U.S. Open winner.
USA Today
South African Retief Goosen, a two-time U.S. Open winner has been playing on the Champions Tour since 2019, succinctly boiled down the thoughts of many on the of the over-50 set when discussing the potential of players jumping to play in the LIV events from the PGA Tour.

“We play golf for a living,” Goosen said. “We’re only here to make money, unless you’re a billionaire and you’ve made your money somewhere else. But we are here to make money.
“The PGA Tour goes on about integrity and loyalty. I do understand it. But at the end of the day, money talks like anything else. And I mean, none of these guys play out here just for fun. We all try and make a living, otherwise you might as well go home and sit on your couch.”
Goosen went on to say finishing last and making $120,000 a tournament — as is the case in LIV Golf events — would be very intriguing and hard to pass up, if he was offered the opportunity.
“I personally think that thing is going to suddenly boom and next they’re going to have 120 players and it’s going to become a cut event,” Goosen predicts. “It’s hard to say no to that.”
Fellow South African Ernie Els played in the Saudi International the three years it was part of the DP World Tour and had discussed jumping to LIV Golf. He ultimately declined, but believes the idea could and should work.

“I would love to have seen it work with tours, especially the PGA Tour, I would have loved to have seen that,” Els said. “I think there was an opportunity to do that. I really do think so.”
Els remembered the old silly season of golf, which took place after the Tour Championship. For about two months, different events with unofficial money gave players places to play instead of taking time off.
The Skins Game, the Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge and the JCPenney Classic were some of the events that fell in that silly season.
Els believes that would be a perfect time to add in the LIV tour to the schedule — if tours could cooperate.
“I don’t know if it’s possible or not,” Els said. “Everybody’s enemies of everybody. This thing could have worked.”
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Alex Miceli, a journalist and radio/TV personality who has been involved in golf for 26 years, was the founder of Morning Read and eventually sold it to Buffalo Groupe. He continues to contribute writing, podcasts and videos to the new Morning Read on


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