It upped the SA economy by $65 million last year. Now, LIV Golf is back for round 2


LIV Golf is hitting up Adelaide for the second year, on the back of a hugely successful tournament in 2023. In 2024, a $39-million purse is on the line. Love it or hate it, here is everything you need to know about the headline-machine of a golf tournament.
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 23: Pat Perez of 4Aces GC celebrates after making a birdie on the 12th hole as beers cans are thrown onto the green and Charl Schwartzel caddie shields himself from the beers. Image: Getty

54 is a special number when it comes to LIV Golf.

Unlike the incumbent PGA tournament it is trying to upend, LIV sports 54 players and just 54 holes of golf across three days. That number is also the genesis for the name of the tournament – 54 expressed as a Roman numeral is LIV.

Adelaide’s Grange Golf Club will this week play host to Australia’s own Cameron Smith and international talents including the likes of Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm and Dustin Johnson. Attendance for each day has been capped at 30,000 according to LIV Adelaide tournament director Nick Haslam, a significant increase from capacity last year.

2023’s inaugural event attracted 77,076 attendees, and contributed $65 million to the South Australian economy. Data from YouGov revealed that 37 countries were represented, and 276 million households in 69 countries were able to watch the broadcast of the event.

“South Australia knows how to put on a show, and we look forward to seeing The Grange Golf Club set yet another elevated benchmark for the league as we raise the bar even higher in 2024,” LIV commissioner Greg Norman said in the leadup to the event.

South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas says that the success of last year’s event has him optimistic about the possibilities for LIV Golf in the years to come.

“Hosting the nation’s first LIV Golf tournament and playing home to the now legendary hole-in-one by Chase Koepka at our iconic watering hole, these history-making moments got people looking at Adelaide and talking about our state,” says Malinauskas.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 23:Chase Koepka of the Smash celebrates his hole in one with the crowd on the 12th hole during day three of Liv Golf Adelaide at The Grange Golf Course on April 23, 2023 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

The Adelaide tournament won the 2023 World’s Best Golf Event of the Year. The LIV tour starts in February in Mexico before heading to Las Vegas, Jeddah and Hong Kong.

Oklahoma’s Talor Gooch is the defending champion of both the Adelaide tournament and the 2023 LIV tour. He took home a USD$18 million bonus in October last year after winning the championship, on top of the earnings from each round, bringing his LIV paycheque to USD$36-million.

This year the winner of the Adelaide competition will pocket $6.2-million in prize money. The total payout for the Australian round of the LIV competition is $39-million. The player that comes second at Grange will get $3.4-million, and third $2.3-million. The top 3 winning teams split $7.7-million between them.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 23: Individual winner Talor Gooch of team RangeGoats on the 18th hole during day three of Liv Golf Adelaide at The Grange Golf Course on April 23, 2023 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Sarah Reed/Getty Images)

Players can earn significantly more playing LIV golf than they can in PGA, though the more established tour is working to close that gap.

In June 2023, the Florida-based PGA and LIV owner PIF (the largest Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund) announced they would merge. Their agreement expired in December 2023 and was extended. Negotiations are ongoing.

“The inaugural LIV Golf Adelaide showed the world how global audiences are embracing LIV Golf, which is breathing new life into the sport. It was the highlight tournament of our league’s first official season and a historic demonstration of competition, entertainment and fanfare that golf fans deserve,” says Norman.

And if you’re wondering how LIV sets itself apart on a culture and entertainment point of view, the Instagram post below probably tells you everything you need to know. In stark contrast to the PGA’s traditional ambiance, LIV has opted for loud music, lively crowds, and of course – the odd shoey or two.

Key Background

With the help of billions of dollars from the Saudi investment fund, LIV broke onto the golf scene in 2022 as a direct competitor to the PGA Tour. That money helped the new golf entity lure some of the PGA Tour’s best known golfers and a lengthy, messy fight ensued. The PGA has dominated the golf scene for years, and LIV posed a challenge to that control.

Since its inception LIV Golf has been at the centre of debates concerning sports ethics, competitive integrity, and international diplomacy. This new league has not only reshaped the economics of golf but also sparked a heated discourse on the implications of ‘sportswashing’ in the modern sports era.

NORTH PLAINS, OREGON – JULY 02: (L-R) Pat Perez, LIV Golf commissioner Greg Norman, Talor Gooch, Dustin Johnson, and Patrick Reed pose with the trophy after winning the team title at the LIV Golf Invitational – Portland at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club on July 02, 2022 in North Plains, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

The allure of LIV Golf lies primarily in its staggering financial incentives. Offering unprecedented prize money and signing bonuses, LIV has successfully attracted some of the biggest names in golf, including Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson. This lucrative model presents a stark contrast to the traditional earnings structure of the PGA Tour, leading to significant defections of players to the new league.

The PGA Tour, in response, has not remained passive. It initially suspended players – including Mickelson and Johnson – who joined LIV Golf and later filed a lawsuit against the breakaway league, citing breach of contract among other issues.

A number of LIV golfers then sued the PGA for violating antitrust law.

In a surprising strategic pivot, the PGA Tour has since revised its own prize structures and made changes aimed at retaining its top talent, indicating the significant pressure LIV Golf has imposed on the existing order.

LIV Golf Adelaide 2024 will take place from April 26-28, as part of a double-header. The Grange Golf Club in Adelaide will once again play host to the three-day competition.

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