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Fred Couples: Will Zalatoris turned down $130 million from LIV

Will Zalatoris tees off on the11th tee on the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West during the first-round of The American Express in La Quinta, Calif., on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023.

Am Ex Golf Zalatoris And Young Group4768a
Credit: Taya Gray/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY NETWORK

While the staggering sums of cash being tossed around by LIV Golf the past couple of years have drawn some of the biggest names on the PGA Tour to make the leap, veteran golfer Fred Couples said this week that it couldn’t turn the head of rising star Will Zalatoris.

Couples told the Orange County Register that Zalatoris, now 26, turned down a $130 million offer to join the controversial rival to the PGA Tour.

“Money is zero object (for LIV Golf),” said Couples, who shares the same agent as Zalatoris. “I give Will a lot of credit; he wants (to stay) with the PGA Tour.”

Like Couples, Zalatoris has been an outspoken critic of the new 54-hole league. In the fall, he said on “In Depth with Graham Bensinger” that “I’ve never done this for money. If the U.S. Open had a $100,000 purse, I’d still show up to the U.S. Open … I’m in this to win a major. That’s my career goal.”

LIV Golf began its second season last month with 12 teams of four players apiece, featuring Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Bubba Watson and Spaniard Sergio Garcia among its biggest names.

A former All-American at Wake Forest, Zalatoris is closing in on first career major — he was runner-up to Hideki Matsuyama at the 2021 Masters, then lost in a playoff to Justin Thomas at the 2022 PGA Championship and tied for second behind Matt Fitzpatrick at the 2022 US Open.

In just his third full season on the PGA Tour, Zalatoris has $14.3 million in career earnings after winning his first event last August at the FedEx St. Jude Championship.

–Field Level Media

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