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Sunday, April 21, 2024
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LIV Golf Playing for Relevance In Augusta at Masters

  • LIV Golf is desperate for a victory at this year's Masters.
  • The breakaway tour has struggled to capture fan interest this year.
Dustin Johnson hits a drive.
Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

There are no teams at the Masters — but this year, it may feel that way.

The 2023 tournament will be perhaps the highest-profile meeting to date of golfers who have joined the Saudi-backed LIV Golf and those who remained with the PGA Tour.

Seen as an existential threat to the PGA Tour not long ago, LIV finds itself struggling to remain relevant. The tour’s first event this season in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, drew fewer than 300,000 average viewers on The CW, while the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic, played on the same weekend, averaged nearly 2 million on NBC.

LIV Golf claimed the average figure was significantly higher — 537,000 — for its 2023 debut weekend.

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A win at the Masters by a LIV player could help elevate the Tour’s stature. 

The best bets to do so, per DraftKings, are Dustin Johnson (+2200) and Cameron Smith (+3500), but both are serious underdogs to Scottie Scheffler (+650), Rory McIlroy (+750), and Jon Rahm (+850). LIV Golf players such as Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson are barred from PGA-backed events, but still meet the criteria for the Masters.

The launch of LIV spurred the PGA Tour to make significant changes, including the creation of “designated events” with prize purses of at least $20 million and no cuts.

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