Skip to main content


Presented by:


LIV, PGA Tour negotiations on pause for the Masters

Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy - Getty Images

Jon Ramm arrives at Augusta National this week trying to do something only three players have managed in the long history of the Masters. He’s also trying to accomplish something else that only one golfer has done.

The first record would be to win consecutive green jackets. Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods are the only three golfers to have captured the season’s first major in consecutive years.

The second goal is to join Brooks Koepka as the only LIV Golf players to win a major championship. Koepka captured last year’s PGA.

While the first one might be the more impressive, the second one comes with plenty of bragging rights.

There are 13 LIV golfers who will play the Masters this year, including seven who have a green jacket. In addition to Rahm and Koepka, the list of LIV golfers playing this week includes Bryson DeChambeau, Sergio Garcia, Tyrrell Hatton, Dustin Johnson, Adrian Meronk, Phil Mickelson, Joaquin Niemann, Patrick Reed, Charl Schwartzel, Cam Smith and Bubba Watson.

Aside from past champs, others gained entry by virtue of winning another major championship in the past five years (Smith, the Open; DeChambeau, U.S. Open), being top 50 in the world ranking (Hatton, Meronk) or receiving a special exemption (Niemann).

Now in its third year, LIV Golf has had a healthy rivalry with the PGA Tour. Sometimes it’s been in-your-face, over-the-line harsh, often being led by Greg Norman, the organization’s top dog. Last year, he famously said that if a LIV golfer won the Masters, all the other members of that circuit would storm the 18th green in celebration.

Storming the 18th green after a win simply isn’t done at Augusta National where tradition and decorum reign. Of course, winning at the Masters is not something Norman would be familiar with.

In more recent times, it’s been about friendly one-upmanship between the players and one side trying to prove that the golfers on LIV are still capable of being the best in the world.

In fact, the us-versus-them attitude that was loud and clear in the early days has moved to more of a why-can’t-we-all-just-get-along sentiment in the past few months.

Players on both sides seem fed up with the split and what it’s done to the overall product of professional golf.

“There needs to be a correction,” McIlroy told Golf Monthly recently. “I think what’s happening is not sustainable right now, so something needs to happen to try to bring it all back together so we can all move forward so we don’t have this division that’s sort of ongoing.”

“The only answer is for us to somehow come together in some sort of terms where it makes sense and for us to be playing all again in somewhat of the same boat,” DeChambeau stated at a press conference ahead of last week’s LIV tournament in Miami. “It’s great to have the majors where we come together, but we want to be competing – at least I want to be competing every week – with all of the best players in the world.”

Right now, the only time players from both circuits meet up is at the four majors. Even then, it’s a limited gathering as several players from LIV haven’t managed to qualify for the majors, largely due to the circuit’s inability to get points from the Official World Golf Ranking.

LIV player Talor Gooch, known for making a number of outrageous statements over the years, went so far as to suggest that if McIlroy won the Masters this year to complete the career grand slam, it would come with an asterisk because not all the best players would be in the field.

The PGA Tour and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, the backers of LIV Golf, have been negotiating since last June and, according to those involved, continue to talk although no news on progress have been revealed.

Bringing the two side together won’t be easy and the longer it takes, the worse things seem to be for professional golf. Television ratings and attendance  have dropped for the PGA Tour and LIV still can’t be seen on any major network in North America or draw any sizeable galleries at its events in the United States.

Meanwhile outside of their respective tours, the players seem to get along just fine. Any grudges between individuals likely existed before the creation of LIV.

Golfers from both circuits play rounds together and socialize at their home bases including Jupiter, Fla., and Phoenix. Most of them are simply tired of the split and equally tired of waiting for a solution.

“We’re probably still quite a long way from it,” said McIlroy, “but I would hope that in the future, that we can get there, unify the game and get the best players back together again.”

This week, the attention will move away from negotiations and all the negativity that has built up over the past two-and-a-half years and once again focus on the drives and putts on one of the most cherished golf courses in the world.

That may give those involved a reminder of what golf can be and where it should be headed.

The Masters isn’t perfect by any means, but for right now it seems to be the perfect elixir for what ails the sport.