65% Of US Golf Fans Believe LIV’s Impact On Golf Is Positive

Written By Jason Schaumburg on April 3, 2023 - Last Updated on April 5, 2023

A new survey by TheLines.com shows golf fans agree about LIV Golf’s impact on the sport.

Of the 1000 people surveyed, 65% believe LIV has positively impacted golf, and only 14% view LIV golfers less favorably for choosing the Saudi-backed tour over the PGA Tour. It seems as if most golf fans don’t care, with 57% saying they are indifferent to whether someone plays for LIV or not.

LIV Golf versus the PGA Tour

LIV Golf is in its second year of existence and was formed as a rival to the PGA Tour. It’s made headlines for being backed by the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia and the players it’s lured away from the PGA Tour.

LIV events are only 54 holes compared to 72 on the PGA Tour. Golfers go out in threesomes, and competition begins with a shotgun start.

Many players who left the PGA Tour for LIV Golf have been criticized for taking “blood” money, but LIV’s wealth has forced the PGA Tour to reassess how it operates and how much money its players can win.

Making the jump to LIV

Phil Mickelson, a six-time major champion winner, is the biggest name to jump ship for LIV Golf. He also was identified among those surveyed as the biggest surprise to defect.

When asked which player surprised them the most by choosing to play for LIV, survey respondents said:

  • Phil Mickelson (44%)
  • Dustin Johnson (19%)
  • Cameron Smith (20%)
  • Brooks Koepka (13%)

LIV players at the Masters

Golfers who choose to play for LIV Golf are not allowed to play on the PGA Tour or in PGA Tour events, per tour rules. However, LIV golfers can play in professional golf’s four major championships, including this week in the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

Eighteen LIV golfers received invites to play in the 2023 Masters, including six former champions:

  • Phil Mickelson (2004, 2006, 2010) 
  • Charl Schwartzel (2011)
  • Bubba Watson (2012, 2014) 
  • Sergio Garcia (2017) 
  • Patrick Reed (2018) 
  • Dustin Johnson (2020)

At 58%, survey respondents overwhelmingly agreed with Augusta National’s decision to invite LIV golfers; 24% had no opinion, and 17% disagreed.

Stephen Andress, Managing Editor for TheLines.com, comments that while the public may approve of LIV golfers playing in The Masters, TV ratings for other LIV events leaves much to be desired.

“Regardless of whether people believe LIV Golf is good for the game or not, the league funded by the Saudi government has a long way to go to get American golf fans to actually care about it. According to Nielsen, 291,000 viewers tuned in for LIV’s first final round on the CW, ranking 51st among the weekend’s 58 national televised sporting events.”

Those surveyed also believe PGA Tour golfers will perform better at Augusta than LIV golfers. A significant 74% of respondents said PGA Tour players would perform better, citing more experience and commitment to the game.

Who’s next to leave the PGA Tour for LIV?

Many of the names you might see on the Masters leaderboard this week are among those that survey respondents think will be the next to bolt for LIV Golf.

Who do survey respondents think will be the next PGA player to join the LIV tour?

  • Adam Scott (32%)
  • Patrick Cantlay (16%)
  • Jon Rahm (15%)
  • Hideki Matsuyama (11%)
  • Viktor Hovland (9%)
  • Xander Schauffele (9%)


All data in this article comes from a survey commissioned by TheLines.com and conducted by Pollfish, an online survey platform. 

In total, 1,000 American adults 25 years old and older were surveyed, with a margin of error of  ~5%. 

To qualify for the survey, a screening question was used to determine whether each respondent watched golf.  The survey was conducted from March 27 to March 29, 2023, and included multiple-choice and open-ended questions.

All respondents were asked to answer questions honestly, with 51.2%  of respondents identifying as male, and 48.4% as female. The respondent age breakdown is as follows:

  • 18-24: 9.7%
  • 25-34: 27.0%
  • 35-44: 29.0%
  • 45-54: 17.1%
  • 55+: 17.2%
Jason Schaumburg Avatar
Written by
Jason Schaumburg

View all posts by Jason Schaumburg