LIV Golf Invitational Series will include eight events and offer $255 million in prize money
The Saudi-funded independent golf league is not going away.
LIV Golf Investments announced an eight-event series on Wednesday that will begin in London in June and include four tournaments played in the United States. The LIV Golf Invitational Series will feature seven regular season events and a Team Championship Finals at an as yet unannounced venue October 28-30.
The total prize money for the eight events will be $255 million, according to LIV Golf Investments, and the seven regular season tournaments will have total purses of $25 million, which would be the richest in professional golf, with $20 million. dollars in individual prizes and $5. million for the top three teams. The top three individuals after the seven regular season events will also split a $30 million bonus.
The season-ending Tag Team Championship will provide an additional $50 million in prize money.
“I want golf to grow, players to have more opportunities and fans to have more fun,” Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf Investments, said in a statement. “My mission is to help the game reach its full potential and we know that the role of golf as an entertainment product is essential to the overall participation in the sport. In many ways, we are a start-up. We have a long term vision and aim to grow.I believe we have a very bright and exciting future.
The LIV Golf Invitational series will consist of 54-hole events, with no cuts and shotgun tee times “to ensure a faster and more exciting pace.” There will be a maximum of 48 players across 12 four-man teams at each event and rosters will be determined by a draft the week of the tournament.
“Fan research indicates that a significant number of new fans would be attracted to a faster, shorter variation and non-traditional game format,” the statement read. “With smaller fields, fewer rounds, shorter play windows and modified shotgun starts, these events were designed with fans as the top priority.”
The LIV Golf Invitational Series schedule will not compete with existing major championships, international team events or heritage tournaments, so “players, who are independent contractors, will still be able to make their own choices as to the place to play,” the statement read.
The series is set to begin at Centurion Golf Club in London from June 9-11. The first event in the United States is scheduled for July 1-3 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Portland, Oregon. Another event will take place at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey from July 29-31; The International in Boston from September 2-4; and Rich Harvest Farms in Chicago Sept. 16-18.
Tournaments will also be held in Bangkok and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in October.
“Our events really add to the world of golf,” said Norman. “We have done our best to create a schedule that allows players to play elsewhere, while attending our events. I think players will make more and more progress in obtaining their right to play wherever they want. We will help in any way we can and provide opportunities for golfers to reach their full potential.”
All but one of the four US events on the new circuit conflict with an existing PGA Tour tournament. The John Deere Classic will be played the same week as the event in Portland; the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit is scheduled for the same week as New Jersey; and the Fortinet Championship in Napa, Calif., takes place the same week as the event in Chicago.
The LIV Golf Invitational tournament in Boston will be played the week after the PGA Tour finale, the Tour Championship at East Lake from August 25-28.
At last week’s Players Championship, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan didn’t seem overly concerned about the threat from the separatist league, which is funded by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund.
“The PGA Tour is moving forward,” Monahan said. “We have too much momentum and too much to accomplish to be constantly distracted by rumors of other golf leagues and their attempts to prevent our players, our partners and especially our fans from enjoying the Tour and the game we we all love so much.”
Many of golf’s top players, including Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and others, have pledged their support for the PGA Tour.
But other players, including Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Lee Westwood, Jason Kokrak and Ian Poulter, have expressed interest in the new league for various reasons.
Mickelson, 51, caused an uproar last month with his comments about the PGA Tour and the new league’s Saudi financiers. Mickelson described the Saudis as “scary” but said he was looking beyond their controversial history of human rights abuses to gain leverage with the PGA Tour.
“I am grateful for the strong support our top players have shown recently and publicly, and I am extremely proud that we have turned the conversation around to focus on what we do best: hosting world-class golf tournaments with the best players for the best fans, while also having a positive impact on the communities we play in,” Monahan said. “We are and always will be focused on legacy, not leverage.”
Monahan told players that anyone joining the Saudi-funded league would be suspended and could potentially be banned for life from the PGA Tour. On Wednesday, two agents representing Tour players told ESPN that Monahan told Players Championship agents last week that the Tour would not release its players to compete in contentious events in the United States.
One of the agents was skeptical that many PGA Tour players would defect to the rival league, despite its exorbitant scholarships.
“He almost seems a little too hot to touch right now,” the agent said. “Maybe the guys will surprise me, but I don’t see any of them wanting to overthrow the system right now. The guys saw how Phil was crucified, and I’m sure it put the fear of God in some of them.”
Another agent said: “I suppose there is a chance that some will get releases for the events on foreign soil, but I don’t know. They should have learned by now that this mentality ‘build it and they will come “will not work .”