Even for a player accustomed to eyebrow-raising comments, this, from Pat Perez, sounded extreme.
“Three for me,” he told reporters after the completion of his third-career LIV Golf start in Boston. “I’ve doubled my earnings on the Tour in 25 events compared to these three.”
Sure, maybe the first three events of Perez’s LIV career were profitable, but doubling his Tour earnings? Wouldn’t that take longer than three events to do, particularly for a player whose best finish on the upstart tour was Sunday’s T15 at The International, an effort that netted him some $240,000?
A deeper look at the numbers reveals that not only was the four-time PGA Tour winner speaking earnestly about the change in his financial situation, he was actually underselling it. Rather, Perez’s comments represent not an unintentional slip-up, but a glimpse into both his newly inflated bank account and the eye-popping economics of golf’s Saudi-funded new league.
In terms of sheer on-course earnings, Perez still has ground to make up to reach his PGA Tour total. In 19 starts in 2021-22, Perez made a shade over $1 million on the PGA Tour ($1,071,981, per the Tour website), including seven missed cuts. In a full season in 2020-21, Perez made 21 cuts and made $1.2 million. In three events on the LIV Tour, Perez has finished 29th, T31 and T15, netting him some $549,667 — an amount that falls well short of his total figure from either ’20-21 or ’21-22.
But on-course earnings only tell a piece of the LIV story. To understand the whole of Perez’s payday, it’s important to also consider his team earnings. In a stroke of good fortune, Perez — a member of the Aces — has found himself on the winning team of all three LIV events he’s started. As such, he’s collected a chunk of the Aces’ team prize for winning each event ($1 million for LIV Portland and Bedminster, $3 million for LIV Boston). Assuming the four members split each of the team purses evenly, that’s an additional $1.25 million in earnings for Perez, or stated more plainly, more money in team bonuses than he made competing on the PGA Tour in all of ’20-21 or ’21-22. In all, Perez’s LIV earnings in just three events — $1,799,667 — would represent the second-most profitable year of his PGA Tour career. In dose of added irony, Perez has collected all that money in team prizes without ever serving as the low scorer for his team in a 54-hole event.
Of course, all that money isn’t even counting his payday for simply signing on the dotted line. Perez reportedly accepted a $10 million signing bonus to join LIV, which, the league has said, is in addition to his tournament earnings.
So what does this tell us? For one thing, with no-cut events and team payouts leading the way, Pat Perez is doing really well under some of the competitive advantages provided by LIV. For another, this info tells us players like Perez stand to make more money in just eight events in 2022 than they’ve made in full seasons competing on the PGA Tour in recent years.
Now 46, Perez has made $28.8 million on the PGA Tour in his quarter-century since turning pro. Including his signing bonus and the huge, end-of-season purses given to LIV’s top-performing players and teams, Perez stands to make half that amount (or around $14 million) or more in just his first season on LIV.
Yes, there’s still the quagmire of competitive integrity (to say nothing of the moral and ethical quandaries that surround the league). These are questions without easy answers for LIV’s players. But with paydays this big, it also might not matter.
“Exhibition match don’t pay $4.75 million,” Perez said.
That’s true. But then again, who does?