Skip to main content

Saudi-funded LIV Golf celebrates Brooks Koepka’s PGA win

The breakaway league, which is backed by the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, has been experiencing poor TV ratings, though its golfers are performing well at major tournaments.
Brooks Koepka of Smash GC hits a tee shot on the sixth hole during Day Three of the LIV Golf Invitational - Tulsa at Cedar Ridge Country Club in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, May 14, 2023.

American golfer Brooks Koepka, who plays in the Saudi-funded LIV Golf, won the PGA Championship on Sunday. The strong performances by Koepka and other LIV golfers at major championships this year could help the league grow in its second season despite its TV rating struggles and growing rivalry with the PGA Tour.

Koepka won the major golf tournament by finishing two strokes ahead of second-place American golfer Scottie Scheffler and Norway’s Viktor Hovland. Koepka became the first member of LIV Golf to win one of the four annual “major” golf tournaments with the victory.

Several LIV golfers performed well at the PGA Championship. Bryson DeChambeau tied for fourth, while Cameron Smith tied for ninth. Rory McIlroy, perhaps the most vocal critic of LIV Golf on the PGA Tour, also played well, finishing tied for seventh place.

LIV Golf celebrated Koepka’s win on its Twitter account.



DeChambeau also tweeted his congratulations to Koepka, and fans of LIV Golf celebrated the win on social media. The popular @LIVGolfNation tweeted, “The corrupt golf media HATES this,” in regards to Koepka’s win, a reference to the critics of LIV Golf in US golf media.

LIV Golf is majority owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. The league launched last year and is a competitor to the PGA Tour — the dominant golf competition in the United States that hosts the eponymous PGA Championship each year. The tournament and the other major golf tournaments all decided that LIV Golf athletes could qualify to play this year.

Why it matters: A LIV golfer winning a major golf championship is an important milestone for the league. LIV Golf has been criticized by commentators as being a less prestigious competition than the PGA. Many of the world’s top golfers, including McIlroy and Scheffler, remain loyal to the PGA.



Koepka winning the PGA Championship is symbolic since the PGA has opposed LIV Golf more than the other majors have. His victory has also reinvigorated the LIV-PGA rivalry. Following the PGA Championship, golf commentator and virulent LIV critic Brandel Chamblee said a “rivalry” is brewing between the two leagues.

“You can’t deny that it provides a rivalry, an undercurrent of tension,” said Chamblee on NBC on Sunday.

Koepka’s win at the PGA Championship followed his and fellow LIV golfer Phil Mickelson tying for second at The Masters golf championship in April. The Masters is another major golf tournament.

LIV Golf could use the good publicity from Koepka’s win due to its poor TV ratings. LIV Golf finally landed a TV deal when the US CW Television Network agreed to air its tournaments this year. In late March, the league reported a 24% decrease in viewership to 409,000 average viewers for its tournament in the US state of Arizona. By comparison, The Masters was watched by more than 12 million people on average.

The poor ratings prompted LIV to actually stop reporting its TV viewership stats, Golf Magazine reported last week.

LIV Golf also received a legal setback in April when a US judge ruled the Public Investment Fund and its governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, were subject to discovery and depositions in the suit against the PGA.

A group of LIV Golf athletes sued the PGA Tour last year for suspending them following their move to LIV. The PGA filed a countersuit in response, and both cases are still pending.

Know more: The Saudi Public Investment Fund is increasing its investments in a variety of sports-related endeavors in addition to LIV Golf. Last week, the sovereign wealth fund increased its stake in the American video game giant Electronic Arts.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Gulf Briefing Gulf Briefing

Gulf Briefing

Top GCC stories in your inbox each week

Trend Reports

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (4th R) attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (3rd L) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on February 22, 2019. (Photo by HOW HWEE YOUNG / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read HOW HWEE YOUNG/AFP via Getty Images)

From roads to routers: The future of China-Middle East connectivity

A general view shows the solar plant in Uyayna, north of Riyadh, on March 29, 2018. - On March 27, Saudi announced a deal with Japan's SoftBank to build the world's biggest solar plant. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

Regulations on Middle East renewable energy industry starting to take shape

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial