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Golf

LIV Golf contracts: What players can and can’t do

Signing with LIV Golf has meant a big pay-day for some of the best golfers in the world, but it entails some conditions you may not expect.

Update:
Signing with LIV Golf has meant a big pay-day for some of the best golfers in the world, but it entails some conditions you may not expect.
Charles Laberge/LIV GolfGetty

LIV Golf players are disputing what they consider to be unfair rulings and decisions by the PGA Tour as the war between the two golf circuits continues, but they also have their own rules to follow as specified in their new contracts with the Saudi-backed league. This documents have become revealed and consequently analyzed by the press following the legal procedures taking place right now. As three golfers try to prove that they should have been allowed to play in the FedExCup Playoffs after having signed with LIV, their contracts have been exposed. You can read the 30-page documents via these links, here and here, but you can skip the legalese and find the main takeaways below:

LIV expectations for its players

Play all events

This inaugural season has a total of eight events, each one under the 48-men field format, which means that as the LIV Golf roster is being constructed right now some players may not be allowed to play in all events, but their contracts explain that they are required to do so if asked to. LIV will transition to a 10-event format next year before stabilizing at 14 for 2024 and beyond, as the players and teams will also be solidified.

BEDMINSTER, NJ - JULY 31:  Henrik Stenson comes on stage to receive his winners trophy at the LIV Golf Invitational Series Bedminster on July 31, 2022 at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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BEDMINSTER, NJ - JULY 31: Henrik Stenson comes on stage to receive his winners trophy at the LIV Golf Invitational Series Bedminster on July 31, 2022 at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)Icon SportswireGetty

Wear team apparel

Another rule that will make more sense when teams and players have found their definitive spots in LIV Golf franchise system, as teams and players have been shuffled around quite a bit in these first events. The contract stipulates that players must “wear and use only the appropriate Team Apparel and not display any badge, mark, logo, insignia, or trading name” not previously accepted by LIV. The league franchises are not very well known or established for now, but having players wear the Fireballs and 4 Aces logo will help a bit with it.

Participate in the tournament pro-am

Just another of the obligations that players accept when entering a tournament, such as press conferences or photo-ops, will be playing at the pro-am tournament taking place before the main event. This, plus some scheduled “meet and greets” and receptions means that any golfer’s participation in a LIV Golf tournament will comprise much more than their three days of playing.

Recruit other players

Any LIV Golf player must simply try to secure any other golfer that the league is interested in, acting as LIV ambassadors both in public and private. Luckily, there is no tampering in Golf as there is in the NBA, but the PGA Tour may still not be happy about having Phil Mickelson constantly telling Scottie Scheffler to change sides.

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No drama in the media

A character clause that makes it so that any LIV Golf players need to maintain a level of respect and normalcy at all times as not to dame the league’s image. Players are compelled not to “act or fail to act in any manner which brings or could be expected to bring any Relevant Person into disrepute, scandal or ridicule including as a result of any comment made to the media, via any Social Media channels or in any other public forum”, which means that some of golf’s spiciest beefs, such as Koepka and DeChambeau’s, will not take place under the public eye. LIV players are also limited as to their media appearances outside of the league’s own outlets, for which they will need “obtaining the Specified Approval”.

LIV benefits for players

Most of the economic side of the contracts have been blacked out due to confidentiality reasons, but we got a glimpse of some of the bonuses available for LIV Golf players such as $1 million for winning one of the four major championships (Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open or Open Championship) “provided that he has, while competing in such tournament, complied with all of his obligations in this Agreement including as regards apparel”. This relies on the idea that LIV Golf players will still be able to play in these events next to the PGA Tour golfers, which may not be the case as soon as next year in the British Open.