The LIV Tour, a competitor to the PGA Tour, just kicked off the Golf Invitational Series at the Centurion Club in London. LIV is backed with Saudi Arabian funds. One of the participants is PGA legend Phil Mickelson, who ended a four-month sabbatical to join the tour. Mickelson inked a profitable deal believed to be in the $200 million range to play, according to Sports Handle.
Mickelson’s involvement has led several sportsbooks to accept wagers for the breakaway tour—both DraftKings and PointsBet, for instance. Each is an official partner with the PGA Tour. DraftKings is taking bets in a handful of jurisdictions, including Arizona, Ontario, Connecticut, and Wyoming. As of Wednesday morning, a decision on whether to allow bets on LIV Golf had yet to be made public by the Colorado Division of Gaming.
FanDuel is not participating. BetMGM, another PGA Tour partner, did not take bets for LIV but offered live odds on the Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed, a DP World Tour event in Sweden. BetRivers accepted wagers on the LIV golf event in Connecticut and Ontario only.
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan is not taking the situation lightly. In a recent statement, he laid out the parameters: LIV or PGA, but not both.
The financial support comes from the Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia. It’s a well-heeled source of money in the $600 billion range.
Greg Norman acts as CEO of LIV Golf Investments, which is providing more than $400 million in seed money from the Saudis. Some believe that global corporations should stay clear of LIV Golf over Saudi’s record on human rights.
A pair of U.S. sportsbook operators told Sports Handle they did not receive any advice from the PGA regarding the Centurion Club. The LIV series has brought on its share of former champions, but no one in the 20-something range like Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, or Jordan Spieth.
Ahead of the Centurion event, the LIV series has yet to name an official betting partner. LIV Golf could also generate millions by outsourcing its in-game data feed to a third-party provider, as the PGA Tour has done with IMG Arena.
After the London opener, there are seven other events on the 2022 schedule, including five in the U.S. Each of the first seven events has a purse of $25 million, with the season finale in Miami doubling the amount to $50 million.
The USGA allowed qualified players who were participating in the London event to remain in the U.S. Open field.