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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

PGA Championship Drama Nearly Delivers a Major Boost to LIV Golf

  • American Xander Schauffele won his first major title at Valhalla Golf Club.
  • Scottie Scheffler finished tied for eighth after being arrested Friday.
Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

A wild and chaotic PGA Championship—both on and off the course—concluded with a dramatic finish Sunday evening as American standout and PGA Tour loyalist Xander Schauffele birdied the final hole to defeat LIV Golf star Bryson DeChambeau by one stroke to win his first major championship.

Schauffele takes home $3.3 million for his victory at Valhalla Golf Club, bringing his total earnings so far in 2024 to just under $11 million. That puts him in second place on the PGA Tour this year, behind only Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, who has made more than $19 million on the course. 

Scheffler finished tied for eighth at the PGA Championship—a solid result considering he nearly missed his second round tee time Friday morning after being arrested following an incident just outside the golf course. Four charges were levied against Scheffler, including second-degree assault of a police officer, which is a felony. However, those charges are reportedly set to be dropped, according to at least one report.

The drama surrounding Scheffler’s arrest could mean big viewership numbers for ESPN, which had complete coverage of the early rounds. And lingering interest in the Scheffler story, along with a tight leaderboard including players from the PGA Tour and LIV on Sunday may end up giving CBS a good number for the final round.

What’s Next for LIV, PGA Tour?

With two majors in the books this year, the scoreboard now stands at PGA Tour 2, LIV Golf 0.

Players from the rival tours will meet two more times this year, next up in the U.S. Open during the second week of June. Before then, LIV will have one tournament in Houston the week prior, while the PGA Tour has three tournaments scheduled over the next three weeks, including a $20 million signature event at the Memorial Tournament.

It would be a surprise if any significant progress was made on the negotiation front between the Tour and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. But with all the twists and turns that have come off the course recently, perhaps nothing should be off the table until a deal to unify the professional game is actually reached.

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