Thursday, June 30, 2022

MSU’s James Piot to compete in Saudi-backed LIV tour

June 2, 2022
<p>Portrait of James Piot at Lasch Family Golf Center on Sept. 21, 2021.</p>

Portrait of James Piot at Lasch Family Golf Center on Sept. 21, 2021.

Photo by Rahmya Trewern | The State News

Recent Michigan State grad and star golfer James Piot has added his name to the lucrative LIV golf tour. 

Financed from Saudi Arabia, the inaugural LIV tour is set to begin in London next week, yet carries controversy as much as it does opportunities. 

The field consists of 48 participants, 42 of which were announced Wednesday. Some additions are surprising, including shiny PGA Tour names such as Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Kevin Na, Louis Oosthuizen, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood. 

The $25 million purse is $10 million more than the 2022 Masters Tournament, providing competitors an easier way to earn significantly more money, especially for golfers looking to either jumpstart their professional careers, like Piot, or earn some extra finances on the back half of a career. $4 million will be awarded to the individual champion. 

According to a report from The Telegraph, Johnson received £100 million, around $125 million, for joining the league. There is no word whether Piot received compensation to any degree. 

Six spots still remain for next week’s tournament, one of which could possibly be filled by Phil Mickelson, whose support for LIV in February was received with extremely heavy scrutiny stemming from numerous accusations of Saudi human-rights atrocities. He has yet to play in a tournament since his comments. 

The PGA Tour has gone as far as threatening a ban on those that participate in the Saudi-backed league. The Tour released a statement Wednesday, doubling down on its stance. 

"As communicated to our membership on May 10, PGA Tour members have not been authorized to participate in the Saudi Golf League's London event, under PGA Tour regulations," the statement read. "Members who violate the tournament regulations are subject to disciplinary action."

Piot, the reigning U.S. Amateur Champion, missed the cut at his first-ever Masters appearance in April, finishing 11 strokes over par in two rounds. He is participating in the Memorial Tournament this weekend and has key outings ahead such as the U.S. Open Championship in two weeks. 

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