After its efforts to lure the top professionals in the world backfired, the new Saudi-funded startup league is going after the world’s best amateurs.
According to a Telegraph report, the top six players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking have been extended one-year invites to compete in all eight events of this year’s inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series, which begins next month in London. It is unclear when the invitations were sent out and which players were in the top six at the time.
“We did invite several amateurs as part of our mission to develop the next generation of golf talent,” a LIV spokesperson told the Telegraph. “They can stay amateur or turn pro.”
GolfChannel.com has confirmed that at least two of the current top six amateurs have been contacted by LIV Golf, but further details could not be disclosed. Also, one of the top-6 players in the WAGR said that he had not received any sort of invite from the league.
The report adds that such amateurs would have the opportunity to earn guaranteed paydays of $840,000 total for the first seven events, the equivalent of finishing last in each, and the chance to compete for $4 million winner’s checks and percentages of the $90 million team prize pool.
However, the report also mentions that amateurs cannot earn prize money in PGA Tour and DP World Tour events because of those tours’ specific policies, which is not completely accurate. Even new rules regarding name, image and likeness, as well as the USGA’s rules of amateur status, stipulate that amateurs cannot earn prize money. And currently, there are NCAA-eligibility hurdles for international players in obtaining NIL deals, which would be one way for LIV Golf to financially compensate current amateurs.
Of the six players in the latest WAGR, updated Wednesday morning, four of them play college golf and only one is expected to turn professional after the NCAA Championship this June. So, it’s assumed that any acceptance of prize money at these LIV events would cause such player to forfeit his amateur status and, in some cases, his NCAA eligibility.
The report also notes that a spokesperson said the league “would allow amateurs quickly to change their status and earn unprecedented sums to kick-start their careers,” and the amateurs would also be extended Asian Tour membership.