When PGA Tour 2K23 launches this October, the team at HB Studios may have difficult decisions to make about its roster. LIV Golf and the PGA Tour have been engaged in fierce off-the-course drama since LIV Golf’s debut in 2022. The conflict could spill over into video game golf and affect players, but PGA Tour 2K23 likely won’t be impacted at launch.
LIV Golf has financial backing from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, and has lured many prominent names away from the PGA Tour with huge signing bonuses and bigger tournament prize pools, along with a shorter schedule. Phil Mickelson was supposedly offered $200 million to join LIV Golf, for example, and his comments explaining the decision were controversial. PGA Tour Commissioner has responded to the new competition by banning LIV Golf professionals from PGA events, which leaves many questions about how the rosters of PGA Tour 2K23 and EA Sports PGA Tour will be affected.
How LIV Golf Could Affect the PGA Tour 2K23 Roster
HB Studios was able to avoid any hard decisions about the PGA Tour 2K23 roster at launch because none of the pros included in the initial roster have signed with LIV Golf. That doesn’t mean things will change, as there are more defections to LIV Golf on a seemingly monthly basis. Some have been big names, as the 2022 Players’ Championship winner Cameron Smith just signed with LIV Golf. The biggest question for PGA Tour 2K23 is whether it will remove anyone currently on their roster who signs with LIV Golf in the future. The most recognizable name in golf and PGA Tour 2K22 cover athlete, Tiger Woods, reportedly declined an offer between $700 and $800 million to join LIV Golf earlier this year. The current roster of PGA Tour 2K23 consists of:
- Tiger Woods
- Justin Thomas
- Xander Schauffle
- Tony Finau
- Lexi Thompson
- Lydia Ko
- Brooke Henderson
- Wall Zatoris
- Jon Rahm
- Collin Morikawa
- Rickie Fowler
- Justin Rose
Most have been fierce advocates for the PGA Tour since the controversy began. LIV Golf also does not currently include women’s competition, so professionals like Lexi Thompson and Lydia Ko may not leave anytime soon, which is good given both PGA Tour 2K23 and EA Sports PGA Tour added women’s golf in this latest installment. Still, HB Studios and EA need to have a plan if a professional featured in their game leaves the PGA Tour for a rival.
PGA 2K23’s Plan If a Golfer Joins LIV Golf
Earlier this month, a PGA Tour 2K23 spokesperson told GameSpot that there are no plans to remove professionals from the roster. “Given the changing landscape of professional golf and the timelines on our development of the game, there will be players who were once actively participating on the PGA Tour that remain in the game,” they said. The promise of stability in PGA Tour 2K23 is a positive for the franchise, which will be competing with some of the most anticipated sports games of the year.
Both HB Studios and EA have to decide what to do with any DLC golfers who might leave the PGA Tour, though. 2K Sports has indicated there will be expansions for PGA Tour 2K23, and while HB Studios has yet to share any details on what those expansions look like, it is possible they are waiting as long as possible to react to LIV Golf signers. The spring 2023 release date for EA Sports’ PGA Tour means they will not have to commit to anything in terms of a roster yet, but PGA Tour 2K23 will have decisions to make sooner if any talent leaves the organization.
PGA Tour 2K23 is scheduled to release on October 14 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.