PGA Tour winner calls Champions Tour purses “a joke,” urges LIV Golf to take over

On the heels of The Players Championship, PGA Tour policy board members met with Yasir al-Rumayyan, the governor of the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), for the first time.

The PIF, which bankrolls LIV Golf, signed a framework agreement last year with the PGA Tour, hoping to unite professional golf once again. But discussions and negotiations to a larger deal remain in its infancy stages, as this initial meeting served as an “ice-breaker” of sorts.

Regardless, Chris DiMarco, who won three times on the PGA Tour and finished runner-up to Tiger Woods at Augusta National in 2005, has an idea.

He wants LIV Golf to purchase the PGA Tour Champions, the circuit for players 50 years of age and older.

“We’re kind of hoping that LIV buys the Champions Tour,” DiMarco told Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz on the Subpar podcast.

“Let’s play for a little real money out here. I mean, this is kind of a joke when we’re getting $2 million. There were like seven guys last week from TPC [Sawgrass] that made more money than our purses.”

Last week, Padraig Harrington won the Hoag Classic on the final hole, netting $300,000 for finishing one stroke ahead of Thongchai Jaidee.

Meanwhile, on the PGA Tour, Peter Malnati took home $1,512,000 for winning the Valspar Championship—a full-field, non-signature event.

The week before, The Players had a $25 million purse, with Scottie Scheffler winning $4.5 million for finishing atop the leaderboard.

Sam Ryder, Doug Ghim, and Sepp Straka all tied for 16th, and took home $406,250—more than $100,000 than what Harrington received for his 7th victory on the PGA Tour Champions.

Chris DiMarco, Tiger Woods

Chris DiMarco lost to Tiger Woods in a playoff at the 2005 Masters.
Getty Images

Knowing this, DiMarco is frustrated by the relative small purse sizes on the Champions Tour. But the problem is that the PGA Tour Champions does not draw the ratings or sponsors that the PGA Tour does. Therefore, the purse sizes cannot match those seen on the PGA Tour, which has been sorely inflated in recent years to combat the rise of LIV Golf.

The PIF reportedly has $770 billion in assets and has already committed close to $2 billion to funding LIV Golf. Players have received multi-millions for joining the Saudi-backed circuit; most notably Jon Rahm, who received north of $400 million.

Still, DiMarco understands why some players jumped to LIV Golf to receive guaranteed money.

“They wanted to play for a lot of money, and they deserve it. They have had some great careers. Why not go and get some money?” DiMarco added.

“I saw Graeme McDowell at the Old Memorial Pro Member, and he goes, ‘Listen, I went up to [PGA Tour Commissioner] Jay Monahan and said I love the tour, but I am struggling to keep my card, and these guys are offering me all this money and less golf. I’m sorry, I’m going.’ And I do not blame him one bit, and I said I would have, too.”

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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