LIV Captains: More Big Names Are On Their Way

Once upon a time Phil Mickelson and Ian Poulter were being lined up to be the next Ryder Cup captains at Bethpage in 2025. That all now looks a long way off and this week, at the LIV Team Championship in Miami, the pair were making positive noises about more big names joining the breakaway circuit for its third season.

When the talk of the PIF-PGA Tour merger came about there was a clause that prohibited LIV Golf from soliciting the PGA Tour's stars. A month later that was dropped and now the talk is now heating up on more moves between the two tours.

After the final individual event Jediah Morgan, James Piot, Chase Koepka and Sihwan Kim were relegated from the LIV roster – they can still play their way back in – and Mickelson was particularly buoyant about players coming in.

“Do I think that? No. I know that’s going to happen. When players look at LIV, they are wanting to be a part of it. Everybody here is happy and enjoying what we are doing and enjoying the team aspect of it and the camaraderie and all the benefits that come with playing this tour.

“The reality is, I’ve been fielding calls, as we all have, from players who are free agents to PGA Tour players who want to come over. The question is, you know, how many spots are available? There are a lot more players that want to come than there are spots."

Poulter was equally positive without adding any detail.

“I am not going to give any names, but we’ve been contacted about players wanting to join,” Poulter added. “And that’s no surprise. Think about it, they’ll probably get fined, but if a player takes that chance, pays say $50,000 or whatever, then he makes it into the top three then he will earn minimum $1.75 million in 14 events in 2024. That’s minimum. Even if they shoot level 80s every week.

“It’s $20 million purses and then the prizes from the team events on top and you’re playing against the likes of Brooks [Koepka], DJ [Dustin Johnson], Cam [Smith], Talor [Gooch] every week? If you’re on the DP World Tour then you’d be mad not to back yourself and have a go. It’s a different level.”

In this bizarre world where level 80s can add up to such a huge return it's completely predictable that players will want to chase the Saudi cash but analyst Brandel Chamblee, who has been a consistent adversary of LIV throughout, had a different take on things.

He says other stars will join," Chamblee wrote on X. "But what he means is, he HOPES other stars will, just like all those do who find themselves catastrophically on the wrong side of an issue, hoping that others will come along and help them ameliorate the embarrassment of their actions.

"It’s inevitable others will join, as I don’t think the money/temptation will go away. But there are very few stars that truly make a difference; such as Tiger and Rory and even Rahm…Rahm worries me a bit as he seems open to the idea, but I sense that his deep knowledge of the history of the game and his obvious future place in it will keep him from selling out. I hope that’s the case."