What Is LIV Golf? Understanding the New Wave of Golf

man playing golf in ArizonaFor more than 90 years, the PGA Tour has been where male pros in the U.S. and the rest of North America put their skills to the test. Now, there is a second option for professional golfers to compete in--the LIV Golf Tour. The launch of the tour has caused a major shakeup in the sport, but just what is it and why all the buzz? Read on for a thorough introduction to the LIV Golf league.

What Is LIV Golf?

LIV Golf is a professional golf league founded in 2021. Its inaugural season will begin this fall. The golf league gained notoriety when it began approaching some of golf's biggest names and offering them huge sums of money to join the league. Reportedly, Tiger Woods walked away from an offer of $700 to $800 million when he passed on the opportunity to join.

Who Founded LIV Golf?

The LIV Golf investments that established the league were made by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, an extension of the Saudi Arabian government, and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), and other members of the royal family are believed to direct its investment activities. Golfer Greg Norman was made the CEO of the league.

Why Is LIV Golf Controversial?

Those who criticize LIV Golf state that the tournament is a form of sportwashing, a term that describes making a country or entity more popular and seem more benign through its participation and sponsorship of sports. Critics state that through LIV Golf and other investments like F1 and Soccer, Saudi Arabia is seeking to improve its image to downplay and distract from serious human rights abuses that take place in the country.

liv golf course

Who Plays in the LIV Golf League?

One of the most well-known players to have signed onto LIV Golf is Phil Mickelson. He has long been a critic of the PGA Tour, and in April 2022, he formally requested a release from the PGA Tour to participate in LIV Golf's inaugural tournament. Numerous players who rank among the top 100 golfers in the world have made the move to LIV Golf, including:

  • Dustin Johnson, ranked 13th

  • Brooks Koepka, ranked 19th

  • Louis Oosthuizen, tied for 20th

  • Abraham Ancer, tied for 20th

  • Bryson DeChambeau, ranked 28th

  • Paul Casey, ranked 32nd

  • Kevin Na, ranked 33rd

  • Talor Gooch, ranked 35th

  • Patrick Reed, tied for 36th

  • Jason Kokrak, tied for 36th

What Is the LIV Golf Schedule?

The LIV Golf schedule for 2022 includes six events:

  • July 29 to 31 in Bedminster, New Jersey

  • September 2 to 4 in Boston, Massachusetts

  • September 16 to 18 in Chicago, Illinois

  • October 7 to 9 in Bangkok, Thailand

  • October 14 to 16 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

  • October 27 to 30 in Miami, Florida

How Are LIV Golf Rules Different Than the PGA Tour's?

There are some major differences between LIV and PGA rules, such as:

  • Total rounds: LIV Golf tournaments will only have three rounds, compared to the standard four rounds at PGA events. The setup means that most, if not all, of the players in LIV Golf tournaments will play in every round unless they quit.

  • Shotgun starts: Instead of having play start at the same one or two holes, LIV Golf uses a shotgun start system where golfers all begin at the same time on different tees.

  • Team system: In LIV Golf, players are grouped in teams. There are 12 captains, each of whom will draft three players to join their team weekly. The eighth week of the tournament will be a four-day, four-round match-play knockout event to determine the winning team.

  • Size of payouts: The payouts promised for LIV golfers are much higher than the PGA Tour, as all players who participate get a share of the purse. Those who are on the winning team will get a bonus of $16 million, split between the members.

Can You Play in PGA Tournament and LIV Golf?

Whether or not pros playing in the LIV Golf invitational series can also play in PGA Tour tournaments has been an area of disagreement among pro golfers. Players Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford argue that since they're not employees of the PGA Tour, they are legally independent contractors and free to play wherever and whenever they want to.

The trio filed for a temporary restraining order against the PGA that would allow them to participate in the PGA Tour postseason. Attorneys representing the PGA stated in court that players could promote the rival golf tour during official PGA events, potentially harming the league. U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman sided with this line of reasoning and declined to issue the order, saying that she didn't believe golfers faced irreparable harm because they were being paid such large sums of money by LIV Golf.

Based on this ruling, players who participate in the LIV Golf tour aren't permitted to play in PGA events. A group of 10 LIV Golf players has filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA in an effort to also gain access to tournament play. If they prove successful, there might come a day when players can participate in both, but at this time, it seems pros must choose one or the other.

Golf Clothes Are Evolving, Too

Although opinions vary about the LIV Golf League, one thing that everyone seems to agree on is that it marks a major change in the sport. As the game evolves, traditions are also beginning to shift. Devereux is part of golf's evolution, offering golf apparel in colors, styles and materials that function on the course and are in line with style trends off the course.

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