Sports | September 6, 2022 11:13 am

Which LIV Golf Defector Has Won the Most Money Since Leaving PGA Tour?

It certainly isn't Phil Mickelson, who finished tied for 40th at the LIV Golf Invitational Boston over Labor Day weekend

Phil Mickelson lines up a putt at the LIV Golf Invitational Boston
Phil Mickelson has yet to finish below par since joining the LIV Golf Series.
Charles Laberge/LIV Golf via Getty

Speaking to the media after the second round of play at the LIV Golf Invitational Boston over Labor Day weekend, Phil Mickelson addressed the PGA Tour “magically” finding millions in prize money before announcing a new series of “elevated” events that will put golf’s top players on display more often in a way that is reminiscent of what the LIV Golf series is doing.

“I think the fans are getting a lot of benefit out of this, and all golfers, all professional golfers are getting a lot of benefit,” Mickelson said. “The guys on the Tour are playing for a lot more money. It’s great that they magically found a couple hundred million; that’s awesome. Everybody is I think in a better position now than they were a year ago.”

If Mickelson is in a better position financially, it certainly has nothing to do with how he was played on the golf course since defecting from the PGA Tour to join LIV. Reportedly paid an estimated $200 million to join the Saudi-financed series, Mickelson has not finished higher than 34th and has compiled scores of +10, +10, +6 and +2 while competing in LIV’s four events thus far. With his +2 finish over the weekend in Boston earning him a share of 40th place in the 48-player event, Mickelson banked $134,000 and has now amassed $559,000 in winnings since joining LIV, according to Golfweek. Averaging $144,309 in winnings on the PGA Tour, Mickelson is only bringing in an average of $139,750 through four LIV events.

Of course, given the $200 million Mickelson was given simply to play, not win, on the LIV series, jumping ship has certainly been a profitable move for the golfer…even if it has resulted in the 52-year-old, who was ranked at No. 33 in the world at the end of 2021, falling to No. 116 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Ranked No. 3 in the world to start this year, Dustin Johnson is now ranked 22nd in the world. He may not care all that much after earning nearly $5 million on Sunday by making an eagle putt on the first playoff hole to beat Anirban Lahiri and Joaquin Niemann and win the LIV Golf Invitational Boston. Since the tournament was a team event, Johnson netted $750,000 for being a member of the victorious 4 Aces squad as well as $4 million for the individual victory.

Through four LIV events, Johnson has taken home $7,712,500 in individual earnings. Factoring in his team winnings, Johnson has banked $9,962,500 through four events, per The Washington Post. To put that in perspective, only two players (Scottie Scheffler and Cameron Smith) earned more than $10 million in official money on the PGA Tour this past season.

Following Johnson on the individual winnings list are Branden Grace ($6,018,333), Charl Schwartzel ($4,513,000), Henrik Stenson ($4,000,000), Carlos Ortiz ($3,872,500), Matthew Wolff ($3,490,000), Talor Gooch ($3,050,000), Patrick Reed ($2,556,000), Louis Oosthuizen ($2,463,000) and Hennie Du Plessis ($2,415,000).

They all better hope they keep winning with LIV Golf as the PGA Tour is no longer an option, per a letter that was delivered to LIV players last week. “The Tour cannot enter into a membership agreement with a player when, as here, it reasonably anticipates the player will not perform the material obligations under that agreement,” the letter read. “Accordingly, your PGA Tour membership cannot and will not be renewed for the 2022-2023 PGA Tour season.”