Thomas Pieters Joins LIV Golf, Making Move from PGA Tour to Saudi-Backed League
On Monday, LIV Golf announced the addition of Thomas Pieters to their team lineup ahead of the 2023 season, making him the latest golfer to make the move from the PGA Tour to the new Saudi-funded breakaway. Pieters, the World Number 34, will join forces with two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, Talor Gooch, and Harold Varner III on the newly branded RangeGoats team.
The move to LIV Golf comes after Pieters was snubbed by PGA Tour for competing at the Genesis Invitational. This was despite being in the top 50 ranked golfers, and he even took to Twitter to vent his frustration at not being invited to take part in the tournament. However, 10 weeks later, Pieters is now set to join LIV Golf along with Brendan Steele and Danny Lee, who are also defecting to the Saudi-backed league.
Steele, who is the only player to win the Safeway Open (now called the Fortinet Championship) in back-to-back years, has been on the PGA Tour since 2011 and has three tournament wins. Lee, aged 32, is a New Zealander with a single win in the 2015 Greenbrier Classic. Pieters, a Belgian national, has been playing for the DP World Tour since 2009 before turning pro four years later. He has recorded 6 wins in the Tour and is currently ranked 34th in the world.
The move to LIV Golf is being seen as a way for the players to gain more security financially, as Steele himself said: “We play a sport where it is very fickle and you have no contracts as far as signing with the Dodgers for five years and if you get hurt, you get paid. We don’t have any of that stuff. So to have a little bit of security in going over there, I think you can kind of understand the narrative for each guy who went.”
Greg Norman, LIV Golf CEO and Commissioner, commented on the move: “In less than a year, LIV Golf has reinvigorated the professional game and laid the foundation for the sport’s future. In 2023, the LIV Golf League comes to life,” said Norman.
0. “Greg Norman brags LIV Golf will “come to life” in 2023 as European ace included in field” The Mirror, 21 Feb. 2023, https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/golf/liv-golf-greg-norman-field-29270535
1. “Days After Voicing Frustration Against the PGA Tour, LIV Golf Succeeds in Poaching Unsettled Star as Fans Predict ‘Early Retirement’” EssentiallySports, 18 Feb. 2023, https://www.essentiallysports.com/golf-news-days-after-voicing-frustration-against-the-pga-tour-liv-golf-succeeds-in-poaching-unsettled-star-as-fans-predict-early-retirement
2. “Thomas Pieters, Danny Lee and Brendan Steele join the LIV Tour” The Sporting Base, 21 Feb. 2023, https://thesportingbase.com/latest_news/thomas-pieters-danny-lee-and-brendan-steele-join-the-liv-tour/
3. “Reports: LIV Golf adds 3 more to growing roster” Sportsnaut, 18 Feb. 2023, https://sportsnaut.com/reports-liv-golf-adds-3-more-to-growing-roster
4. “LIV Golf adds another former European Ryder Cup star as Thomas Pieters joins Saudi-backed league” City A.M., 21 Feb. 2023, https://www.cityam.com/liv-golf-adds-another-former-european-ryder-cup-star-as-thomas-pieters-joins-saudi-backed-league/