Does Including LIV Golfers Improve The 2023 Masters?

Written By Corey Sharp on April 5, 2023
The Masters begins on Thursday and will include LIV Golf players.

The LIV Golf tour has created a divide in the sport of golf over the last year. Now, PA gamblers can bet on the PGA Tour and LIV golfers in the upcoming Masters.

Some of the most well-known and accomplished players have left the PGA Tour to join the Saudi Arabian-backed league. Many have received scrutiny for the decision because of where LIV’s money comes from.

LIV golfers cannot participate on the PGA Tour, but are allowed to compete in golf’s four major tournaments:

  • The Masters
  • US Open
  • The Open Championship
  • PGA Championship

With the 86th running of the Masters beginning Thursday, does including LIV golfers make the tournament better?

Players to leave the PGA Tour for LIV Golf

Phil Mickelson, a three-time Masters champion, is one of the biggest names to leave the PGA for LIV Golf.

Other notable Masters champions to leave include:

  • Charl Schwartzel (2011)
  • Bubba Watson (2012, 2014)
  • Sergio Garcia (2017)
  • Patrick Reed (2018)
  • Dustin Johnson (2020)

A total of 18 LIV golfers are going to compete in the 2023 Masters.

What do people think of LIV Golf?

Among the notable names leaving the PGA Tour, Mickelson departing was the biggest surprise. He also received a lot of heat for attempting to grow the LIV brand.

Tiger Woods, along with several others, has stood up for the PGA Tour and has condemned golfers for heading to LIV Golf. conducted a survey asking 1,000 participants a series of questions about LIV Golf’s existence.

When asked which player surprised them the most by choosing to play for LIV, Mickelson overwhelmingly shocked participants, recording 44% of the vote.

The survey also concluded that 58% of participants agreed with having LIV golfers competing in The Masters. Also, 65% of people said that LIV Golf positively impacts the sport.

Bettors are not shying away from LIV golfers at PA sportsbooks

As of late Tuesday night, bettors on DraftKings PA Sportsbook do not seem to be shying away from LIV golfers.

DraftKings lists three LIV golfers in the top 20 in terms of highest percentage of handle and bets.

Cameron Smith, who defected for LIV, is sixth in handle and bets, receiving 4% of each. Another LIV golfer, Brooks Koepka, is receiving 4% of the handle and 3% of bets to win The Masters.

Dustin Johnson is the most recent LIV Golf player to win the Masters. He did so in 2020 as a member of the PGA Tour. Johnson is 17th on the list, garnering 2% of the handle and 2% of bets to win the tournament.

Out of the three LIV golfers, Johnson has the best odds to win the event at +2200.

The three LIV golfers are also in the top 20 in BetMGM PA Sportsbook’s betting splits:

  • Smith: 5th in handle at 5%
  • Koepka: 10th in handle at 3.6%
  • Johnson: 16th in handle at 2.2%

Defending Masters champion Scottie Scheffler has the shortest odds (+650) and is attracting the highest percentage of handle (15%) and bets (13%). Scheffler is still on the PGA Tour.

Top PA golfers to compete in The Masters

There is no real notable golfer from Pennsylvania that is competing in this year’s Masters.

However, Pennsylvania is lucky to have one of the best golfers of all time hail from the Keystone State. Arnold Palmer is one of the game’s best and put Latrobe, PA on the map.

Palmer won the Masters in 1958, 1960, 1962 and 1964. Palmer’s 1964 victory was the easiest of the four. He shot -12 and won the event by six strokes, beating David Marr and Jack Nicklaus.

The most memorable of Palmer’s Masters victories came in 1962, when he defeated Gary Player and Dow Finsterwald in a three-man playoff. Palmer won the 1958 and 1960 Masters each by a single stroke.

Palmer bought the Latrobe Country Club, where he and his family grew up steps away, in 1971. When Palmer died in 2016, his ashes were spread across the country club.

Jim Furyk is another notable golfer from PA. Furyk was born in West Chester and graduated high school from Manheim Central in Lancaster. He’s won one major, the US Open in 2003.

Furyk has finished fourth in the Masters twice, once in 1998 and the other in 2003.

Furyk is not competing in the 2023 Masters.

Photo by David J. Phillip / AP
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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp is the Lead Writer at PlayPennsylvania bringing you comprehensive coverage of sports betting and gambling in Pennsylvania. Corey is a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and previously worked as a writer and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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