It’s no secret that the touring pros who made the jump to LIV Golf were highly compensated to make the move. In the first three LIV Invitational events, all competitors in the field played for $25 million in individual and team prizes, with no one earning less than $120,000. What’s more, sources say several big-name players, including Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, have signed eight- and nine-figure guaranteed contracts in addition to the money they earn on the course. If and when sponsorship rights for these teams are sold, they will play in the LIV circuit.
Less well-known, however, is what is expected in response to the looming payday on the Saudi-backed circuit. Some of that was revealed on Wednesday when the Wall Street Journal reported that LIV offered players a draft contract.
Among the stipulations in the contract, according to the WSJ, are that players are required to wear LIV apparel when playing in LIV and non-LIV events, and that most non-LIV logos require approval of any logos worn by the players. Products used in events. An example of the latter is a logo found on a coffee mug. The contract gives players the exclusive right to wear “third-party golf equipment suppliers’ names on the side of the hat.”
The report goes on to say that players have been asked not to give interviews related to “an event or league activity” without the approval of LIV management. They must help recruit other golfers to join LIV. Language in the contract states that the players agree to “assist, upon request, the league operator in persuading the players to enter into multi-year player participation agreements with the league operator.”
As the contract is structured, the players are described as independent contractors, but it states that the players will participate in multiple LIV events, with no option to pick and choose individual schedules. The contract also restricted players’ media rights, one of Mickelson’s complaints about the PGA Tour and one of the reasons he considered joining LIV Golf was the tour’s ban on players’ media rights.
The WSJ report said it was unclear whether the terms in the draft contract were included in all LIV contracts or whether players could negotiate any of them.
The draft contract also does not list the appearance fees the players are said to be receiving. Those deals are believed to be included as riders only on individual player contracts. But another financial incentive appeared in the deal: Players could earn a $1 million bonus if they win one of the four men’s majors.