Rookie pro reveals LIV Golf’s recruitment tactics

Pearson Cody was an all-American three times at the University of Texas.

Getty Images

Pearson Cody, grandson gentlemen Champion Charles Cody, prepare for his third Korn Ferry start as a pro this week in the same way he prepared for his first two: by spending 8 to 10 hours a day playing and practicing at the host location, in this case Falmouth (Maine) country club; chairs in a budget hotel; And eat at humble local establishments. (His culinary highlight in Falmouth: the lobster roll, which he devoured as he looked out over the harbor.)

Call it a little no-frills tour, with one important subplot: Coody recently had a golden opportunity to leave it all behind.

About a month ago, Cody, who was finishing his final year at the University of Texas, rejected what he and his father Kyle described as a “million dollar offer” from LIV Golf Series Funded by Saudi Arabia. The deal would have made Persison, who earned $31,125 in his first two matches in KFT, an instant millionaire, with a chance to be even richer in unintended mega LIV events.

But Cody, 22, earned his Korn Ferry membership by taking first place in 2022 PGA University Seriessaid that while signing with LIV would have given him financial security, it would have taken something away: his lifelong dream of playing on the PGA Tour.

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

Dustin Johnson

LIV Golf: Here are the players who have joined the Challenger Series


Shawn Zack

He added, “I’ve had people ask me in college if you called me through the LIV tour and said, ‘No, no, no.'” When it really happened, it was easier to say no than I had imagined.”

LIV’s Recruitment of Coody Confirms How Strong the Rookie League Is – Which Happened This Week Announced her latest signatureand Brooks Koepka and Abe Ancer – flirt with players of all ages and abilities. LIV has a stalwart like Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, but it has also retained less established talents, such as 23-year-old US amateur champion James Peyt.

Cody said he never spoke directly with LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman or any of the other LIV officials during the negotiations; All communications were handled by Mike Chissum, the Cody Brothers, Texas-based Plano agent, who passed the LIV offer on 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 working to identify the talent of the next generation.”

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

Cody said LIV’s proposal included a multimillion-dollar signing bonus for a two-year commitment. Cody also said that all travel expenses for this year and next year’s tournaments are included, as well as guaranteed prize money regardless of where he finished in any event.

Cody said he was given 12 days to make a decision on the show.

Norman also requested Coody’s cell phone number so he could view Coody in person.

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

Kyle said LIV officials later tried to sweeten the pot. Kyle said that if Pertison agrees to sign with the league, LIV will also make an offer, for a different amount, to Parker, Pertison’s twin brother, who was also a University of Texas superstar and now plays on the PGA Tour in Canada.

Persison, left, and Parker celebrate victory in 2019.

Getty Images

“Coming in early May while they were preparing for the NCAA Regionals and trying to graduate, I thought it was a huge distraction,” Kyle said of LIV’s progress. “I told Persison if I played golf well, the money would take care of itself.

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

Persison said he and his dad jotted down the pros and cons of the lucrative show while making a final decision ahead of the NCAA Championship, in late May, which ended up winning the Texans.

“Seeing that kind of money was an amazing moment for me,” Persison said. “It was a crazy amount of money, but I love the American Tour. I never saw myself as a Leaf golfer, but I am a PGA Tour golfer.”

Persison said he took comfort from his close friends and role models in North Texas, Will ZlatorisAnd the Scotty Scheffler And the Jordan Spiethand all of them remained committed to the PGA Tour.

“I know all these guys and if they believe in the PGA Tour and believe in what you stand for and what they do, then I think I made the right decision,” he said.

public profile picture