LIV Golf poaches 2 more players from PGA Tour before new season
The defections have begun again.
On Wednesday afternoon, LIV Golf announced the signings of two PGA Tour pros — Mito Pereira and Sebastian Munoz — according to an announcement from the two players’ new team, Torque GC. The signings mark the first additions to the rival league since Cameron Smith joined six other Tour pros in leaving for the rival league just days after the conclusion of the FedEx Cup Playoffs in September. Contract specifics were not released.
The announcement comes at critical time for LIV, which is seeking to entrench itself in the golf world in the new year after an up-and-down “beta” season in 2022. The league’s long-term success would seem to be tied to its ability to continue attracting Tour-caliber talent to the new league, though it remains to be seen whether it can continue offering the eye-popping sums that helped convince a contingent of notable names last spring. Pereira and Munoz, ranked 46th and 96th in the world respectively, mark a pair of solid, if unspectacular additions.
The two golfers join team captain Joaquin Niemann and youngster David Puig on Torque. Their departures were long-rumored in PGA Tour circles, particularly considering the pair’s close friendship with Niemann, who is a frequent playing partner (and roommate) during tournament weeks. Niemann, who is still just 24 years old, was Torque’s highest-ranked competitor at the time of his departure for the new league. At 18th in the world, the Chilean departed for LIV alongside Smith in September. Like Smith, he is believed to have received a $100 million signing bonus.
It is unclear if more defections are expected from LIV, which rolled out the first three of 12 team rosters for the 2023 season on Wednesday. After a sizzling 2022, the rumor mill has proven surprisingly tame for the upstart league in 2023. A lengthy media rights process resulted in a deal of still-murky financials with the CW, while a subsequent media blitz has provided plenty of meme fodder but little of substantial buzz.
Pereria and Munoz’s additions come just days before the start of the 2023 LIV season, which is scheduled for February 23-25 in Mexico. Coincidentally, the two former PGA Tour pros will tee it up for the first time for LIV Golf at a longtime PGA Tour venue, Mayakoba, which itself transitioned to the upstart league for the 2023 season.