How Did LIV Golfers Do At The Masters?

How Did LIV Golfers Do At The Masters?

The 2023 Masters was won by Jon Rahm. How did the LIV golfers do?

One did surprisingly well. A couple did well to the surprise of no neutral observer. A few did surprisingly poorly.

The big surprise was Phil Mickelson going low on Sunday with a 65 to finish in a tie for second. He had three good rounds at Augusta; the outlier was the third round in which he shot a 75.

Brooks Koepka playing well at a Major also should come as no surprise. Koepka has made a career of stepping up on the biggest stages and underperforming at regular events, which he seemingly treats with disdain. Koepka has four majors and four other PGA TOUR wins. For comparison’s sake, Ernie Els has four majors and 19 PGA TOUR wins; Rory McIlroy has four majors and 23 PGA TOUR wins.

Brooks was leading through three rounds. He lost a two shot lead, and finished four shots behind in the final round.

Patrick Reed tying for fourth also shouldn’t really be a surprise. Augusta rewards experience in a way that other majors do not: Witness Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer making the cut at age 63 (Langer did it in 2020).

The surprisingly poor results came from Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia and Charl Schwartzel, all of whom are Masters champions. Garcia and Watson missed the cut. Johnson was t48 and 16 shots off the lead; Schwartzel was t50 and 17 shots off the lead. They should have done much better considering the advantage of familiarity with Augusta National.

Cam Smith, LIV golf’s latest highly paid acquisition finished t34 and 12 shots off the lead.

In all, LIV had three players in the top ten; four in the top 20; five in the top 30. Twelve made the cut; that’s 22% of the field. LIV’s 18 players accounted for 20 percent of the field. Statistically, that’s about what would be expected.

However, I submit that LIV golfers underperformed given the social media hype about LIV having “all the best players” (that’s an actual quote from one of the LIV centric accounts) and the PGA TOUR being the “Junior varsity” (another actual quote).

One measure of this is the average shots to par. LIV players who made the cut were an average of 1.66 shots over par. Non-LIV players who made the cut were an average of 0.34 shots over par. By that measure non-LIV players were 4.88 times better than LIV players.

On to the PGA Championship, where LIV players surely hope to perform better as a group.

The list of each LIV player and their final standings follows.

PlayerFinishScoreTo ParCurrent LIV
Standing
Out of 48
Phil Mickelson*t2280-842
Brooks Koepkat2280-85
Patrick Reed*t4281-712
Joaquin Niemannt16286-226
Harold Varner IIIt29289+136
Talor Goocht34292+421
Cameron Smitht34292+418
Abraham Ancert39293+434
Mito Pereirat43294+610
Thomas Pieterst48296+835
Dustin Johnson*t48296+813
Charl Schwartzel*t50297+939
Bryson DechambeauMissed Cut33
Sergio Garcia*Missed Cut22
Jason Kokrak*Missed Cut24
Bubba WatsonMissed Cut41
Kevin NaWD17
Louis OosthuizenWD15
* = previous Masters Champion

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