The cash package offered by LIV Golf has already wooed Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, and many others, and more well-known athletes are expected to follow suit.
A number of the most well-known golfers have signed up to compete in the hotly contested LIV Invitational Series, which is sponsored by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
In addition, the format departs significantly from conventional majors. The first difference is that there are 54 holes instead of 72 – “LIV” is 54 in Roman numerals – that players tee off at the same time, and golfers are divided into teams of four. The “4 Aces” are captained by Johnson, the “Hy Flyers” are coached by Mickelson, and the “Majesticks” are comprised of Poulter and Westwood.
The initial tournament was conducted in England, and subsequent competitions were held in Portland, Maine, and Bedminster, New Jersey. Competitions are also scheduled to take place in Boston, Chicago, Bangkok, Jeddah, and Miami.
Players had to deal with concerns about “sportswashing” and whether Saudi Arabia was trying to divert attention from its human rights record by spending so much money on the sport during the build-up. Prior to retracting, Mickelson had referred to the Saudis as “scary motherf**kers.”
He proclaimed, “I in no way support infringement of human rights. ” I’m aware of what happened to Jamal Khashoggi, and I think it’s incredibly awful. I have also witnessed the positive effects that the game of golf has had throughout history, and I am confident that LIV Golf will have a significant positive impact on the sport.
LIV Golf players
Former PGA Tour players other than Mickelson, Johnson, DeChambeau, and Koepka have also joined LIV Golf.
|Name (Country)||OWGR ranking|
|Dustin Johnson (USA)||22|
|Abraham Ancer (ESP)||24|
|Brooks Koepka (USA)||26|
|Louis Oosthuizen (RSA)||31|
|Bryson DeChambeau (USA)||37|
|Kevin Na (USA)||34|
|Jason Kokrak (USA)||38|
|Talor Gooch (USA)||45|
|Harold Varner III||46|
|Patrick Reed (USA)||50|
|Cameron Tringale (USA)||55|
|Marc Leishman (AUS)||62|
|Sergio Garcia (ESP)||74|
|Pablo Larrazabal (ESP)||70|
|Anirban Lahiri (IND)||92|
|Matthew Wolff (USA)||100|
|Matt Jones (AUS)||82|
|Richard Bland (ENG)||79|
|Bubba Watson (USA)||99|
|Shaun Norris (RSA)||93|
|Sam Horsfield (ENG)||95|
|Lee Westwood (ENG)||102|
|Phil Mickelson (USA)||109|
|Scott Vincent (ZIM)||81|
|Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA)||91|
|Oliver Bekker (RSA)||104|
|Ryosuke Kinoshita (JPN)||119|
|Ian Poulter (ENG)||111|
|Hudson Swafford (USA)||115|
|Bernd Wiesberger (AUT)||110|
|Jinichiro Kozuma (JPN)||134|
|Justin Harding (RSA)||131|
|Charl Schwartzel (RSA)||126|
|Carlos Ortiz (ESP)||146|
|Branden Grace (RSA)||145|
|Laurie Canter (ENG)||139|
|Hennie Du Plessis (RSA)||165|
|Phachara Khongwatmai (THA)||142|
|Sihwan Kim (USA)||157|
|Henrik Stenson (SWE)||179|
|Charles Howell III (USA)||179|
|Adrian Otaegui (ESP)||159|
|JC Ritchie (RSA)||200|
|Pat Perez (USA)||196|
|Hideto Tanihara (JPN)||236|
|Martin Kaymer (GER)||338|
|Jediah Morgan (AUS)||296|
|Ratchanon “TK” Chantananuwat* (THA)||321|
|Blake Windred (AUS)||366|
|Wade Ormsby (AUS)||362|
|Peter Uihlein (USA)||361|
|Graeme McDowell (NIR)||399|
|Ian Snyman (RSA)||430|
|Travis Smyth (AUS)||440|
|Viraj Madappa (IND)||561|
|Itthipat Buranatanyarat (THA)||486|
|Turk Pettit (USA)||650|
|Kevin Yuan (AUS)||1,051|
|Oliver Fisher (ENG)||1,241|
|Andy Ogletree (USA)||1,510|
|Chase Koepka (USA)||1,615|
|James Piot* (USA)||2,326|
|David Puig* (ESP)||2,326|
|Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra (ESP)||2,326|
In a word, cash. In a few more words: money, dough, green, and shekels.
The controversy surrounding players leaving LIV Golf stems from the fact that it is supported and funded by the Public Investment Fund of the Saudi Arabian government. Over the years, the country has come under fire for its treatment of human rights, including the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Some refer to it as “blood money,” while others charge that by supporting LIV Golf, the Saudi government is “sportswashing” its image.
In sharp contrast to the PGA Tour’s reputation for being merit-based, LIV provides something that the latter does not by awarding contracts to its players.
According to reports, Phil Mickelson received a $200 million offer to join the LIV Golf Tour as the first and most well-known player. According to Spotrac, Mickelson has made $94 million while playing golf on the PGA Tour.
Another LIV Golf defector, former No. 1 golfer Dustin Johnson, made $74,276,710 over the course of his career. With LIV Golf, Johnson has a four-year contract worth an estimated $125 million.
In addition to receiving substantial payouts, former PGA players also enjoy a less demanding schedule and increased payouts for winning some tournaments. For instance, Charl Schwartzel received a $4 million payout for winning the first LIV Golf event in London, which is more than any major tournament winner has ever received.
Why Phil Mickelson joined LIV Golf tour
Considering the new league to be “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to redefine how the PGA Tour functions,” Mickelson had expressed his support for it in February. (To Mickelson’s credit, some of what he said was accurate.)
With regard to the PGA Tour, Mickelson told Alan Shipnuck in February that “they’ve been able to get by with manipulative, coercive, strong-arm techniques because we, the players, had no redress.” “Even though [PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan] comes across as a lovely guy, he won’t take the correct action unless you have leverage. And we now have that leverage thanks to the Saudi money. We can move forward with the [PGA] Tour even if I’m not sure I even want [LIV Golf] to be successful.”
The rumoured $200 million contract signed by Mickelson with the new tour.
LIV Golf rumored player targets
Prior to the LIV Golf competition in Boston, Massachusetts, there are a number of fresh stars who might join the tour:
- Mito Pereira
Rickie Fowler hasn’t officially joined the golf league despite recent rumors to the contrary.
Analysis :LIV Invitational is ethically bankrupt and won’t revitalise golf.
LIV is a very clever name. The number of holes in this new version of golf, which is beginning in the far-off land of Hemel Hempstead, is 54 in Roman numerals. Cool, huh?
Of course, you could argue that a new sports team supported by countless petrodollars ought to be expected to use inventive branding.
But the arrival of the newcomer is evidence that golf needs support more than ever. As they chase a ball around a course for a share of $20 million in a tournament, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Lee Westwood, and, er, James Piot should consider whether that love originates from a dictatorial state with a terrible track record on human rights.
And even though it seems like the only reason players signed up was for the money, the idea of a quick succession of tournaments with a set season and eight-figure sums of money riding on each one sounds intriguing if you can get past the disgusting fact that the Saudi regime behind Jamal Khashoggi’s killers provided the lipstick and mascara to the game. That money can motivate people is nothing new, especially in the world of golf.
To start, everyone must tee off simultaneously. Given the paymasters, the start is referred to as a shotgun start, which sounds a touch violent, but I suppose a bonesaw start would have been excessive. A match-play structure is used with twelve teams of four players, and there is also a strokeplay competition for the individuals. No cut exists to miss. Mildly diverting so far.
Sporty Spice spinning records after the match, a Craig David and Jessie J concert, and toe-curlingly twee “Camden Market-style” stalls don’t sound like much of a response to the organizer’s vow to “supercharge” golf, either.