PGA Tour 2K23 Won’t Remove LIV Golf Players, Even If They’re PGA Banned

Professional golf is facing one of its most tumultuous times, with the PGA Tour and Saudi-backed upstart league LIV Golf clashing in a battle that could shape the future of the sport. A number of top and highly ranked PGA Tour players have jumped ship to join LIV Golf, but how will the off-course drama affect the upcoming PGA Tour 2K23 and EA Sports PGA Tour?

All of that remains to be seen, but 2K Sports has now released a statement on the drama. Hours after 2K released a list of playable pros to feature in PGA Tour 2K23, the company told GameSpot that in the event a golfer on the PGA Tour 2K23 roster leaves the PGA Tour for LIV Golf, that player Won’t do be removed from PGA Tour 2K23.

“As the title of the game suggests, this game is made in partnership with the PGA Tour. Over the course of the franchise, we have engaged directly with select PGA Tour players to participate in the game,” the spokesperson said. . “Given the changing landscape of professional golf and the game’s development timelines, there will be players who were once active on the PGA Tour who will remain in the game.”

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan is banning LIV Golf players from the PGA Tour, and even removing coveted parking spots.

The list of playable golfers for PGA Tour 2K23 includes 12 names so far, including Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Will Zalatoris, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele, as well as LPGA’s Lexi Thompson, Lydia Ko and Brooke Henderson. . LIV Golf only has male players, and none of the names announced for PGA Tour 2K23 so far have joined the rival league. Some of the women on the LPGA Tour, including Lexi Thompson, have played in Aramco events, which are funded by Saudi Arabia.

PGA Tour 2K23 Playable Pro List

  • Tiger Woods
  • Justin Thomas
  • Lexi Thompson
  • Lydia Ko
  • Brooke Henderson
  • Will Zalatoris
  • Collin Morikawa
  • Tony Finau
  • Jon Rahm
  • Ricky Fowler
  • Justin Rose
  • Xander Schauele

LIV Golf has come under scrutiny from its funding source, which is Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF). Observers also pointed to the kingdom’s human rights history.

In 2018, American journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was critical of the Saudi government, walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and never came out. The CIA later concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s death.

LIV Golf has attracted renowned, highly ranked and Major-winning golfers like Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and Brooks Koepka with significant signing bonuses and more lucrative tournament purses compared to the PGA Tour, as well as a leaner schedule and new tournament formats. In terms of payments, Mickelson would have been paid $200 million to join LIV. Defending Open champion Cameron Smith is among the latest additions to LIV Golf’s roster.

2K Sports said it will have additional playable pros to announce later for PGA Tour 2K23, and it’s possible the company is intentionally withholding some announcements to wait and see if those players leave the PGA Tour for LIV Golf. Another possibility is that the launch roster already includes some PGA Tour golfers turned LIV, and 2K isn’t announcing them yet to avoid a PR issue. This is all speculation, but we’ll find out soon enough as the October release date of PGA Tour 2K23 is right around the corner.

The initial PGA Tour 2K23 roster is made up of players who strongly criticized LIV Golf, such as Woods, who said he was disappointed with PGA Tour players joining the new league. LIV Golf Commissioner Greg Norman offered Woods $700-800 million to join LIV Golfbut he said no.

Although 2K issued a statement in response to LIV Golf, the same cannot be said for EA Sports ahead of the company’s release of EA Sports PGA Tour in 2023. In July, an EA spokesperson said said the company had no comment at the time, and the company reiterated that today when approached for comment.

The Saudi PIF has also invested in companies like Disney, Meta, Starbucks, Tesla, Uber, IBM, Boeing, Marriott, etc. More recently, PIF bought 5% of Nintendo and invested $1 billion in Embracer, the company that owns Borderlands Gearbox studio and now rights to The Lord of the Rings. The PIF also has pieces from EA, Activision Blizzard, Take-Two, Capcom, and SNK.

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Michael C. Ford