Carlos Ortiz was among the first players to leave the PGA Tour for LIV Golf, joining the upstart league ahead of its second tournament in 2022. Now in the midst of his third season with LIV, Ortiz says there are still some things about the PGA Tour that he misses. Among them: playing courses like Torrey Pines, Riviera, Quail Hollow and Bay Hill.
But Ortiz also loves the team aspect and international schedule on LIV. It’s been a undoubtably lucrative move for him, too. Ortiz made $9.3 million in just two LIV two seasons, compared to $7.75 million in 161 tournaments on the PGA Tour.
On this week’s episode of Subpar, Ortiz went deep on his LIV Golf experience with hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz, covering topics like the pressure he faces and the league’s quest for world ranking points. He also explained how LIV golfers can change teams, as he did this year.
A little background: Ortiz started his LIV career with Sergio Garcia’s team, the Fireballs, in 2022. Ortiz was the team’s top performer in 2023, meaning he was guaranteed a contract extension. But he instead opted for free agency, and was picked up Torque captain Joaquin Niemann, joining teammates Sebastian Munoz and Mito Pereira.
“I traveled the last three, four years on the PGA Tour with [Niemann and Munoz] everywhere,” Ortiz said. “We rented houses, we shared pretty much everything. So we kind of were kind of like a team, you know, we were doing everything together, holidays and everything.
“And then Mito came up the last year on the PGA Tour and he started staying with us in the houses, traveling together. So I feel like it was just almost like the dream team. Obviously, when we went to LIV, we went at different times and it was hard to follow in the same team. So we kind of always had that in mind and we kind of tried to make it happen, Joaquin as a captain trying to find a way for me to come to his team, and I was trying to, I had a two-year — the half a year and then a full year — contract with Fireballs. And after that, I kind of was like a free agent.”
David Puig, who joined LIV in 2022 as an amateur, took Ortiz’s spot on the Fireballs.
“Everything somehow happened [so] that could happen, you know, but it was definitely a lot of moving pieces that were not on my side,” Ortiz said. “I had the decision that I could go, but there’s so many other things that had to happen for me to go and they happened. So I’m just happy. I mean, obviously playing for Sergio and with [Abraham Ancer] and [Eugenio Chacarra] was awesome.
“But, you know, these guys are my boys, and playing with these guys [is] awesome, and they also have a great team. They’re great players, and I just feel like it was a good move for me.”
For more insight from Ortiz on the inner-workings of playing on LIV, check out the full episode below.