“I wanna see the next superstar say, ‘I’m going to that LIV. You know why I am going? Because it is unreal. They play Riviera, TPC [Scottsdale] in front of 300,000 people. They do this, they do that.’ But I want them to go for free. But then go on CNN and every TV show and say why they are going because it is that good,” Couples said.
“$100 million doesn’t get it. $200 million doesn’t get it. $300 million doesn’t get it. But for $400 [million]? It’s a great product, and it is a great show… my ass.”
The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) reportedly offered Rahm north of $400 million to join LIV Golf. Hence, the reference Couples made to that particular number.
It seems everyone has a number, which Jason Day alluded to ahead of last week’s Grant Thornton Invitational. The Australian was rumored to join LIV Golf along with Rahm, but he quieted those gossips last week, too.
The golfing world also heard Tony Finau’s name emerge within the LIV Golf rumor mill, but Finau silenced that rumor on Monday.
Yet, Couples caught wind of the Finau-to-LIV whispers as the 1992 Masters Champion dropped Finau’s name on his show.
“Tell me the next guy—if it is Tony Finau—[will say] I am going for free, boys!” Couples added.
“[What if they say] ‘I love this tour. I don’t like the PGA Tour anymore.’ [But] no one is going to [say] that. So what does that tell me? It tells me it is all about money, which is fine. But don’t sit there and go on and say they are changing the game. For 50 years, golf has been changed. Arnold Palmer changed it. Jack Nicklaus changed it. Tiger Woods changed it. The LIV tour ain’t changing a thing.”
The PIF has spent more than $1 billion in creating LIV Golf, offering numerous major champions millions of dollars to join. Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, and now Rahm received lucrative offers to break away from the PGA Tour and play on LIV Golf.
The move has paid off for the PIF, as it is now negotiating with the PGA Tour to try and form an agreement to reshape the structure of men’s professional golf. The two sides have until Dec. 31, 2023, to do so.
Couples certainly makes a strong argument in saying that whoever joins LIV Golf did it for the money. Harold Varner III even admitted to doing so, while others insist they are changing the game.
But there is no doubt that LIV Golf has changed the current landscape in professional golf. Sure, it may not have the same impact as Nicklaus and Palmer—or let alone Tiger Woods—but the golfing establishment has never faced an existential threat like it does right now.