For young Australian pro Jed Morgan, there were a few reasons to tee up in the opening event of Greg Norman’s cashed-up LIV Golf Series.
LIV Golf, headed up by two-time Major winner Norman, kicks off the first of its seven regular series events which will boast $US25 million purses. Morgan is one of six Australians taking part in the opening event at Centurion Club outside London starting today.
The first reason was Morgan’s schedule was free. The 22-year-old won the Australian PGA Championship last year by 11 shots and that win came with a DP World Tour card (formerly named European Tour). However, his DP World status does not kick in until next season and so the Queenslander has gaps in the schedule during the middle part of 2022, outside the US Open and Open Championship. Morgan will play in both Majors courtesy of topping the PGA Tour of Australasia’s Order of Merit last season.
Morgan was invited to take part in the LIV Golf opener alongside fellow Australians Matt Jones, Travis Smyth, Kevin Yuan, Wade Ormsby and Blake Windred.
“I’m keen to play, it’s an amazing experience to compete when I didn’t have much in my schedule,” Morgan told Australian Golf Digest from London.
The second reason is there’s a lot of money on the line. LIV Golf has been subject to a wave of criticism given the operation is financed by the Saudi Arabian government, which has a record of human rights atrocities. Much of the controversy has been aimed already mega-rich golfers such as two-time Major winner Dustin Johnson, who has joined LIV Golf.
But for Morgan, the whopping sums are no doubt appealing given he only turned pro last year.
The winner of the individual component in London will receive $US4 million ($A5.6 million) from a $US20 million ($A28 million) individual purse. Second place gets $A2.9 and third picks up $A2.1 million. Even last place at the 54-hole, no-cut event guarantees a $A167,000. There’s also a $US5 million teams component led by 12 captains. The winning team will pocket $US3 million ($A4.2 million), split evenly among four team members, with $US1.5 million and $US500,000 on offer for second and third respectively.
It’s money a young professional can’t ignore.
And lastly, Morgan said the tournament would provide a chance to test himself against star players such as Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Johnson before making his Major debut at next week’s US Open at The Country Club at Brookline, near Boston.
“The field is nice and strong so it’s a cool format to see how I shape up,” Morgan said. “It’s been a real thrill so far and it’s only going to get better.”