Current LIV Golf star, Bubba Watson, is currently rehabbing after knee surgery in June, but that hasn’t stopped him from making headlines.
While recovering, Watson has spent time behind the microphone, providing insight and personality during some of the new Tour’s broadcasts. This gave the former Masters winner the opportunity to discuss the PGA Tour, and recently, the American revealed some very interesting details to ESPN during a recent interview.
According to Bubba Watson, he received several appearance fees during his PGA Tour career.
“It makes me laugh because on the PGA Tour, I got paid behind closed doors to show up at tournaments, many tournaments. And if Bubba Watson’s not the best, that means the best were getting paid better than me and more than me. And so it’s guaranteed money. I miss the cut, I still make money. I make the cut, I make extra money,” Watson stated in the interview.
This is an interesting development in the recent golfing saga as many PGA fans have been critical of stars leaving the PGA Tour for the guaranteed money that comes with Greg Norman’s LIV Golf Tour.
Bubba Watson received a hefty payday to join LIV Golf.
For reference, Bubba Watson was guaranteed $50 million from LIV, this on top of any winnings he may earn when he returns for the 2023 season.
On paper, at least, Jay Monahan and the PGA Tour forbid appearance fees for events with its rules clearly stating that:
"“Neither players nor other individuals acting on such players’ behalf shall solicit or accept any compensation, gratuity or other thing of value offered for the purpose of guaranteeing their appearance in any PGA tour cosponsored, approved or coordinated tournament, including any pro-am played in connection therewith, except as may be specifically authorized by the PGA TOUR Policy Board prior to the tournament.”"
This recent development poses two main questions: is Watson telling the truth? And if he is, how many other PGA stars were pocketing appearance fees behind the scenes?
Since multiple PGA Tour stars’ defection to LIV; there are quite a few who have been hush regarding their rationale behind the decision to leave.
However, there have certainly been a few who have been honest about their choice stating that the deciding factor was the increased cash flow, both in contracts and purses. Veteran Martin Kaymer was one of those; saying that he desired one last payday.
"“I would be lying if I said money wasn’t a motivator. Of course, we’d love to earn a little bit more money in the tournaments that we play – it’s very human – but money was never a motivator when I started playing golf. The world we live in has become very money-driven, and that’s why I like the field that they invited this week.”“As I said, money has never been a motivator but I would be lying if we wouldn’t enjoy a few dollars more.”"
Since Bubba Watson made the eye-opening comments; neither Monahan nor his team has responded. Without solid proof, it is doubtful that the PGA Tour will say anything other than to deny the allegations.
If there is proof, it would certainly be a notable black mark against the PGA Tour, which claims to pride itself on the history and integrity of its Tour. And if it were true it would mean that the two Tours share at least one thing in common.
Now that the inaugural LIV Golf season has officially come to an end, the PGA Tour will get to hog the spotlight with a few more events before 2022 draws to a close.