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Pro Rookie Reveals LIV Golf Recruiting Tactics

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Pierceson Coody was a three-time All-American at the University of Texas.

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Pierceson Coody, the grandson of Masters champion Charles Coody, prepared for his third Korn Ferry appearance as a pro this week the same way he had prepared for his first two: spending 8 to 10 hours a day playing and practicing on the host site, in this case Falmouth (Maine) Country Club; sleep in a cheap hotel; and dine at humble local establishments. (Her culinary highlight of his in Falmouth: a lobster roll, which he devoured while looking out over the harbour.)

Call it no-frills mini-tour life, with a significant subplot: Coody recently passed up a golden opportunity to leave it all behind.

About a month ago, Coody, then finishing his senior year at the University of Texas, turned down what he and his father Kyle described as a “multi-million dollar” offer from the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Series. The deal would have made Pierceson, who earned $31,125 in his first two starts at KFT, an instant millionaire, with the chance to get even richer in LIV’s no-cut events.

But Coody, 22, who earned his Korn Ferry membership by finishing first in the 2022 PGA College Series, said that while signing with LIV would have given him financial security, it would also have taken something away from him: his lifelong dream. the life of playing on the PGA. Route.

“I could be sitting on my couch with millions in my bank account watching my friends play on the PGA Tour, and that would have been devastating,” Coody said.

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“People asked me in college if the LIV tour had contacted me and I said, ‘No, no, no,'” he added. “When it actually happened, it was easier to say no than I would have imagined.”

LIV’s recruitment of Coody underscores how aggressively the new league, which this week announced its latest signings Brooks Koepka and Abe Ancer, is courting players of all ages and abilities. LIV has stalwarts like Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, but has also locked in less-proven talent like reigning 23-year-old US Amateur Champion James Piot.

Coody said he never spoke directly with LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman or any other LIV official during the negotiations; all communication was handled by Mike Chisum, the Coody brothers’ agent based in Plano, Texas, who passed on LIV’s offer to Kyle.

Chisum declined to be interviewed for this story. A LIV spokesperson also declined to comment other than to say: “We have been actively identifying next-generation talent.”

Coody said LIV’s first call to Chisum came in early May as Coody and his college teammates were preparing to play at the NCAA Regionals after finishing third in the Big 12 tournament.

LIV’s proposal included a multimillion-dollar signing bonus in exchange for a two-year commitment, Coody said. Also included, Coody said, were all travel expenses to tournaments this year and next, plus guaranteed prize money no matter where he finished in any event.

Coody said he was given 12 days to decide on the offer.

Norman also requested Coody’s cell phone number so he could speak to Coody personally.

“I closed that down quickly,” said Kyle, who also played golf for the University of Texas before testing his game in the professional ranks.

Kyle said LIV officials then tried to sugarcoat the situation. If Pierceson agrees to sign with the league, Kyle said, LIV would also extend an offer, for a different amount, to Pierceson’s twin brother, Parker, who also excelled at the University of Texas and now plays on PGA Tour Canada.

Pierceson, left, and Parker celebrating a victory in 2019.

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“Coming in early May as they were preparing for NCAA Regionals and trying to graduate, I thought that was a huge distraction,” Kyle said of LIV’s progress. “I told Pierceson that if you play golf well, the money will take care of itself.

“It may sound strange to say, but turning down millions of dollars was the best thing he could do for his career.”

Pierceson said he and his father jotted down the pros and cons of the lucrative offer as they made a final decision before the NCAA Championship in late May, which Texas ended up winning.

“Seeing that kind of money was an amazing moment for me,” Pierceson said. “It was an incredible amount of money, but I love the American tour. I never saw myself as an LIV golfer, but as a PGA Tour golfer.”

Pierceson said he took comfort in his close friends and role models from North Texas, Will Zalatoris, Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth, who have remained committed to the PGA Tour.

“I know all those guys and if they believe in the PGA Tour and believe in what it stands for and what they’re doing, then I think I made the right decision,” he said.

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