Details of LIV Golf’s big-money rebel contracts are ‘LEAKED’, with players required to help recruit others, wear LIV branding at majors and avoid giving interviews without approval
- LIV Golf’s draft contract includes a series of clauses geared towards promotion
- Players are required to recruit colleagues and wear LIV branding at other events
- Saudi-backed rebel tour say they are ‘proud’ to offer competitive contracts
A draft contract to play for Saudi-funded LIV Golf includes clauses that require players be available to recruit other players to the league and to get permission before granting exclusive interviews, it has been revealed.
A report in the Wall Street Journal said it reviewed a draft contract that LIV Golf has offered players, noting it was unclear if terms in the draft are in all contracts or can be negotiated.
The draft contract also includes clauses requiring players to wear LIV Golf branding at any golf tournament they ‘participate in anywhere in the world’ – and therefore showing off and promoting the rebel tour at the majors.
Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Phil Mickelson are among the field of players to have defected from the PGA Tour for big-money LIV contracts and have been suspended from the PGA Tour. Some have resigned.
Open champion Cameron Smith is expected to be the next player to sign with the Saudi rebel tour, with his deal reported to be worth over $100million. Last month, Greg Norman confirmed Tiger Woods had been offered a deal worth up to $800m.
Patrick Reed shows off his LIV Golf-branded apparel at The Open at St Andrews last month
Dustin Johnson celebrates with wife Paulina Gretzky after last month’s LIV Golf Invitational
The draft contract reviewed by the Journal did not include any signing bonuses, though the newspaper said one detail was a $1m bonus for winning a major championship.
Among other provisions in the draft contract was approval for most of the logos they wear and branded products they use at events.
Apparel requirements were said to be noted ‘multiple times’ in the draft contract and that players are to only wear appropriate ‘Team Apparel’ during any LIV activity or ‘any other covered golf activity.’
One component of LIV Golf Invitational events are 12 four-man teams that complete for $5m, in addition to the $20m prize fund for individual scores.
‘The Player agrees to wear LIV Golf branding (or other branding supplied by the League Operator) at each Tournament and each other golf tournament you participate in anywhere in the world,’ it states.
It cited another provision that required players to agree to refrain from ‘providing exclusive interviews or commentaries’ in relation to any event or league activity without approval.
The likes of Phil Mickelson would be required to avoid exclusive interviews in the draft contract
The draft contract also said players agree to ‘where requested, assist the League Operator in seeking to persuade players to enter into multiyear player participation agreements with the League Operator.’
The draft contract indicates players broadly sign away their media rights from LIV events, similar to PGA Tour regulations.
It also says LIV golfers can play anywhere in the world provided it isn’t the same week as a LIV Golf event. Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland missed the Irish Open this year because it was the same week as LIV Golf Invitational-Portland.
On the PGA Tour, players typically are granted three conflicting event releases provided they fulfill their obligations to play 15 times a season on the PGA Tour.
‘LIV Golf, as a start-up, is proud to offer our golfers competitive contracts,’ a LIV spokesman said in a statement. ‘Our future is bright and we continue to be excited by the player and fan response.’
Tiger Woods took the lead in the meeting of golf’s top players on Tuesday, as they addressed the PGA Tour’s plans to fight back against LIV’s threat to the established order of the sport.
Greg Norman wants LIV Golf events to be counted toward Official World Golf Ranking points
Woods flew to Wilmington, Delaware on his private jet for a private meeting of top players to discuss the threat of the Saudi-funded breakaway ahead of the BMW Championship.
And Rory McIlroy revealed Woods, 46, made himself heard with a hands-on approach to finding ‘actionable steps’ to secure the Tour’s future.
‘We’re all great players but we’re not Tiger Woods,’ McIlroy said on Wednesday. ‘He is the hero that we’ve all looked up to and his voice carries further than anyone else’s in the game of golf. His role is navigating us to a place where we all think we should be.
‘I think it’s pretty apparent that whenever we all get in the room there’s an alpha in there and it’s not me. He cares a lot.’
Meanwhile, LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman sent a letter to players and agents outlining why the league should get Official World Golf Ranking points.
‘This is not only in the best interests of LIV Golf, but importantly also necessary for the integrity, accuracy and fairness of the rankings to be upheld,’ Norman wrote.
Tiger Woods is pictured leaving the meeting of PGA Tour golfers on Tuesday evening
Noting the application was filed July 6, and that new tours have to show it has complied with OWGR guidelines for one year, he is urging the OWGR to ‘gain comfort’ with LIV Golf’s status. Norman said neither LIV Golf nor the Asian Tour has heard from the ranking officials.
Last week, a federal judge in California denied the request from three LIV Golf players who sought a temporary restraining order to complete in the tour’s lucrative postseason.
U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman had copies of the LIV contracts signed by Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones. Only outside attorneys and the judge – not PGA Tour attorneys – were allowed to see them, and the PGA Tour’s outside attorney had to be careful in his arguments not to reveal any financials.
But at one point in the hearing, when the topic was conflicting events and media rights releases, Freeman remarked about LIV Golf, ‘But from what I understand of these contracts, these are – these contracts lock up these players in ways that the PGA Tour never imagined. They are so restrictive.’
The attorney for LIV Golf replied, ‘I think that’s unfair, your honor.’
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