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#pounditMonday, February 26, 2024

Report: LIV Golf contracts include big penalty clause

Greg Norman at a LIV Golf event

Sep 3, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Greg Norman CEO of LIV Golf before the second round of the LIV Golf tournament at The International. Mandatory Credit: Richard Cashin-USA TODAY Sports

It seems inevitable that there will eventually be a golfer who wants to leave LIV for the PGA Tour, but the Saudi-backed league has some serious protections in place to discourage a move like that from happening while a player is under contract.

Alex Miceli of Sports Illustrated on Tuesday published a lengthy feature that includes many details about LIV contracts. While each golfer’s contract is unique, there is buyout language in the deals that forces golfers to fulfill their commitment to LIV, at least financially.

If a golfer were to break his signing agreement with LIV, Miceli says the player would have to pay LIV two, three or four times the amount of his signing bonus. When you consider that Phil Mickelson received an estimated $200 million signing bonus from LIV and Dustin Johnson reportedly got $125 million, you can understand why it is highly unlikely that a player would leave LIV before his contract expires.

LIV does not explicitly prohibit players from taking part in or playing a full season with another Tour, but the penalty clause exists to assure they are fulfilling their obligations with LIV regardless.

We know one PGA star does not think LIV golfers should ever be able to return to the Tour. At the very least, there is little chance of that happening before the expiration of a LIV contract.

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