Current Golf News: LIV Golf Invitational Series
The LIV Golf Tour kicked off its inaugural event on 9 June 2022 at the revered and testing links of Centurion Club Hertfordshire, near London, yielding several rounds in the sixties each day but stymying several world-class players.
The LIV golf invitational series had a successful if not controversial start, producing world-class players engaged in high-intensity golf with a $25 Million purse. In response – or retaliation – PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said the PGA was upping the Players Championship purse to $25 million while another six events would boost their purses to $20 million.
In addition, the PGA will strengthen the field by limiting Tour cards to only the top 70 players and narrowing the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The year’s top 50 players will be eligible for the new Fall Series of limited-field, no-cut tournaments.
What is the LIV Golf Tour?
LIV Golf is a new league started by Golf Saudi and backed by Public Investment Fund in Saudi Arabia, valued at over $600 billion. LIV Golf Investments then chose Greg “The Shark” Norman as CEO. LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman and the rest of LIV Golf have changed the United States professional world of golf as we know it.
LIV in Roman numerals is 54. 54 would also be the score for a golfer on a par-72 round if they birdied their way to victory, and it happens to be the same amount of prize money added to the PGA’s tournament changes as announced by Jay Monahan.
So, What’s the Controversy?
There are plenty of controversies, starting with Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations. Most notably, the death and dismemberment of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi, an often-outspoken critic of the Saudi government, which the United Nations High Commissioner blamed for his demise.
And the PGA has enjoyed significant control of professional golf for decades, and, for PGA tour members, this new competition is personal and scary. The PGA has announced LIV Golf competitors will have their PGA Tour membership denounced and will not be allowed to participate in the PGA Championship.
On the athlete’s stage, there’s the loss of prestigious players and competition, plus the fear of losing prize money and endorsement deals. Nobody likes to be the last player chosen. You don't get to play if you don’t get invited to LIV.
PGA Tour vs.LIV Golf: What's the Difference?
As alluded to above, the LIV Golf series is an invitation-only tour headed by CEO Greg Norman. Norman won 20 PGA Tour events and two majors and was the world’s number one-ranked golfer for 331 weeks during the 1980s and 1990s.
PGA Tour Notes
The PGA Tour co-sanctions golf tournaments and is overseen by Commissioner Jay Monahan and offers a prestige no other tour can through its main events: PGA Tour, PGA Tour Champions, and the Korn Ferry Tour. To qualify for tournaments, players must hold a PGA Tour card for membership or must qualify for said card through the Korn Ferry Tour and qualifying school.
Regular tournament income is not guaranteed on the PGA Tour. Players must reach a lofty-enough final score, in any event, to put money in their pocket.
LIV Tour Notes
The LIV Tour is cherry-picking the best and most marketable golfers from around the world to join their invitational series. Reigning world golf champion and icon Tiger Woods was reportedly offered more than $750 million to join the series. He declined.
Next up was beloved major champion Phil Mickelson, who wavered briefly before accepting what is believed to be a $200 million guaranteed contract. Each of the eight events offers massive individual and team prizes – but inaugural players are being offered crazy money to be a big part of the party.
In Mickelson’s case, feelings of loss from fans have bubbled over to infer on social media that the world is suddenly against Lefty. In response, the PGA Tour has taken disciplinary action against members giving the LIV Tour a shot – including indefinite suspension.
Golf fans will still be able to enjoy play from Mickelson and Dustin Johnson (who joined for a reported $150 million) at the 2022 US Open since the USGA organizes it. In addition, the R&A is allowing suspended players to compete in the Open Championship at St. Andrews.
Seventeen PGA tour players were suspended before playing at the first LIV tournament. Brooks Koepka joined the series days after the tournament, likely cashing into a figure below what Dustin Johnson had received. Bryson Dechambeau has also joined the LIV, agreeing on a reported $100 million.
Top European Tour players like Sergio García, Louis Oosthuizen, and Martin Kaymer learned this week that they would be assessed a £100,000 ($123,000) fine and are suspended from playing in the upcoming Scottish Open, Barbasol Championship, and the Barracuda Championship.
Unlike the PGA Tour, the LIV Series is a 48-player, no-cut field. Every player cashes. And players are chosen to 12 four-man teams selected in a draft by a team captain. It’s not the Ryder Cup; it’s a stroke-play format, and each tournament runs 54 holes, but there are other surprises.
The Shotgun Start
The LIV Series has adopted a shotgun start. Because the field is smaller than most PGA and DP World Tour events, this means fast rounds.
Having twelve teams of four and each starting on a different hole simultaneously adds plenty of excitement. Each group hits the course’s 18th hole at a different time, but it isn’t always their final hole of the day. Weather changes impact all players similarly.
Individual player prize money totals $20 million, the lowest stroke-play score to win the tournament. An additional $5 million is allotted to team payoffs. And to spice things up, during the first two rounds, only the two best scores count for each team.
The three best scores count during the third and final round, highlighting the need for a solid overall team. The lowest 54-hole total team score wins the team portion of the event.
Change is Revolutionary
You can’t have growth without change, and the LIV Series is undoubtedly adopting the best of professional golf while adding exciting changes. The first tournament sported a beautiful, highly challenging course with harsh undulating fairway edges and little room for error.
But the open walks and fairways were nothing that one of Cart Tek’s exemplary electric golf carts couldn’t have conquered. They would have stayed upright on the hills and saved time and effort from the loopers. Wouldn’t it be fun if professional golf integrated remote carts?
FirstLIV Golf Invitational Series Event: London, England
A dozen teams, four strong, joined the LIV Series first event, with the Stinger group combining for a first-round 6-stroke lead at nine-under 131. The lowest individual score of the bottom six team's players was a 70 by Hideto Tanihara.
Phachara Khongwatmai made several great chips and led most of the first day until finishing with a bogey at 3-under. Dustin Johnson and Phil Michelson finished at 1-under, but minutes behind, Charl Schwartzel eagled the 18th to go 5-under. He never looked back.
London Prize Money
Charl Schwartzel won with 65, 66, 72, and 7-under 203 for a massive $4 million
Hennie Du Plessis took second with 68, 68, 70, and 6-under for $2.125 million
Branden Grace and Peter Uihlein tied for third and $1.275 million
Team Stinger took first place for $3 million - $750,000 each
Team Crusher took second place worth $1.5 million - $375,000 each
Team Majesticks took third place for $500,000 - $125,000 each
LIV Golf Invitational Series Event: Portland, Oregon
Over this past weekend, June 30th to July 2nd, the second LIV Golf Event took place in Portland, Oregon. The top three winning teams were as follows: the 4 Aces, the Stingers, and the Fireballs.
Portland Prize Money
Branden Grace was first with a total of -13 for a prize of $4 million
In second, Carlos Ortiz received $2.125 million with a -11 score
Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson tied for third, both winning $1.275 million
So, What’s Next?
The LIV Golf Invitational Series kicked off with their June event outside London and their July event in Portland, but upcoming event releases include seven more stops, including Bedminster, Boston, Chicago, Bangkok, Jeddah, and Miami.
Season Ending Prize Money
$18 million to the individual top point earner after seven events
$8 million for second place
$4 million for third place
$50 million for the season-ending Team Championship
$16 million for first place down to $1 for 12th place – every player gets a share
We don’t see the end of golf. We see innovation. Professional baseball used to be played against single-league teams all year. Now there’s interleague play. NBA basketball didn’t introduce the three-point shot until 1979. There was no Super Bowl until 1967.
Things change. Often for good. Professional golf tours will continue to evolve, perhaps even merge. We’ll see.
In the meantime, enjoy your best golf on tour, or live at your favorite course using a Cart Tek golf cart to make your current round your best round!