Korean-American golfer Kevin Na, a five-time PGA Tour winner, is among the most notable names on the international golfing circuit. He made headlines this year after becoming the first player to sign with the controversial LIV Golf series publicly.
Over the years, Kevin Na has amassed a fortune that has only increased since joining LIV Golf. He earned a whopping $37.9 million in career earnings with the PGA Tour.
The Saudi-backed LIV Golf series is known for splurging on its players. Golfers were offered exorbitant signing amounts to join the league. Tournament purses and prize money were equally hefty. In the eight events scheduled for the debut tour, the prize money was as high as $25 million for each occasion.
The team championship for the inaugural season recently concluded at Trump Doral, Miami. After all eight events, Kevin Na finished in 36th position in the individual rankings. Sources vary on the amount the golfer acquired after all outings. But his speculated earnings are roughly $1,914,286. It is a considerable amount and a massive monetary upgrade.
Why did Kevin Na defect from the PGA Tour?
Kevin Na at the 122nd U.S. Open Championship – Round Two (Image via Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
He grabbed headlines in June this year after becoming the first player to sign with the controversial LIV Golf series. He announced the move on social media before the debut season kicked off in London.
He shared a long text elaborating on his decision to leave the PGA Tour. The famed golfer captioned the text, writing that it was a tough decision for him and hoped his fans would continue to support him.
“This was a very difficult decision for me. I hope my fans will continue to support me wherever I choose to play. Thank you.”
While elaborating on why he chose to defect from the PGA Tour, he said he wanted to be free to choose.
“I would like the freedom to play where I want and exercising my right as a free agent gives me that opportunity. However to remain a PGA Tour player, I must give up my right to make these choices about my career. If I exercise my right to choose were and when I play golf, then I cannot remain a PGA Tour player without facing disciplinary proceedings and legal action from the PGA Tour.”
The PGA Tour requires its players to compete in 15 events annually. Historically, it grants releases for at least three overseas tournaments annually. However, it rejected granting permission to play in LIV Golf as it was going to hold eight tournaments a year, five of them in the U.S. It posed a threat to the traditional organizer of golf, the PGA Tour.
While talking about his experience of playing on the PGA Tour, Kevin Na showed gratitude. He said,
“For 19 years, I’ve played on the PGA Tour and I have loved every minute of it. I appreciate the platform the tour has provided me to play the game that I love and for the opportunities that have come with it,”
Although the PGA Tour has banned all players defected from participating in their tournaments, Kevin Na hopes that the policies change and that he will return to the PGA Tour again. However, he said,
“I am sad to share that I have chosen to resign from the PGA Tour. This has not been an easy decision and not one I take lightly. I hope the current policies change and I’ll be able to play on the PGA Tour again.”
This was a very difficult decision for me. I hope my fans will continue to support me wherever I choose to play. Thank you.
This was a very difficult decision for me. I hope my fans will continue to support me wherever I choose to play. Thank you. https://t.co/3Vp2e7cPfH
The second edition of the LIV Golf league is expected to start early in 2023, with more events lined up.