PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Patrick Cantlay’s name was one of the hottest when it came to PGA Tour pros considering a jump to LIV Golf last offseason.
Cantlay, ranked No. 4 in the world, several times had to put an end to those reports, finally declaring at Kapalua in January: “I have no plans to do that as of now, which has been my stance for, you know, basically since the whole time.”
LIV came up again Wednesday after Cantlay’s practice round in preparation for Thursday’s start of the 2023 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. He was asked if changes on the PGA Tour — designated events with no cuts and money similar to what the Saudi-financed league is throwing around — might cause some players who made the jump to LIV to think about asking for reinstatement to the Tour.
“I’m not sure these changes really have much (to do with) making them want to come back,” said Cantlay.
Then he threw out an even more interesting question.
“I’m curious how many would have liked to have left if these changes happened earlier,” he said. “Probably the same number of guys or a similar number of guys, just with the guaranteed money that they were throwing around. But it’s a good question. I’m not sure.”
It is a great question.
If, a year ago, the PGA Tour had announced eight designated events with $20 million purses — which does not include the majors, the playoff and a $25 million purse for this week’s Players — would LIV even exist? And if so, what would the field look like?
The money is exactly what LIV Golf pays out to individual golfers, with an additional $5 million for the team event, at each of its 14 events.
Those who left the Tour may have had reason to pause, especially if they realized LIV was going to grow to where most of the 48 golfers now on LIV will play about as much as they would be playing on the PGA Tour.
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