The Rise of LIV Golf: How This Revolutionary New Tour is Changing the Game
Discover how LIV players in the PGA Championship are revolutionizing the sport. Join us as we explore the rise of this exciting new tour Championship and learn how it’s changing the game for players and fans alike.
The name “LIV” refers to the Roman numerals for 54; every cup score on a par-72 course was birdied, plus the number of cups or holes played at LIV events. If you believe in luck and chance, you might like to know that 54 is a unique number, as it has the contribution of individual digits five and four. 54 has a solid foundation in numerology or arithmancy, known as the “Master Builder.”
The significance of the number is all about manifestation, creation, and building something from scratch. So, the Saudis have that covered, but what is LIV, and why should we watch it? As with any new sporting organization, the journey hasn’t been straightforward – think court cases and irons at dawn crossed with the assassination of Julius Caesar (not literally), and you get the idea.
A Potted History of LIV Golf
LIV Golf began in late 2021 with backing from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund and Greg Norman, a PGA Tour player, as its commissioner. The billion-dollar investment included enough money to fatten the purse to lure away several well-known names, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, and Cameron Smith.
Players moving away did not go down well with the PGA, so those who joined LIV were forced to resign from playing any PGA tours. That’s where our comparison to the assassination of Caesar is drawn. No one was killed, but there was a lot of backstabbing. LIV sued the PGA tour, the PGA counter-sued, and so it played out in court, balls and all.
Finally, in June this year, the PGA Tour and the LIV announced a joint venture to change golf’s governance radically. There are pros and cons to this heated golf discussion, but the fact is, golf is going ahead no matter what. There’s still a lot to be settled, and there appears to be a separation between the profit and non-profit elements of the marriage (currently, the PGA is a non-profit organization), which is a massive factor in this deal.
What we know is the following are on the policy board: Rory McIlroy, Patrick Cantlay, Charley Hoffman, Peter Malnati, and Webb Simpson, while two out of five independent directors (Ed Herlihy and Jimmy Dunne) helped to negotiate the deal. So, who’s playing Caesar? We think Greg Norman might be the likely candidate. Will Norman look back in years to come and say this was a good move? Who knows, but for now, let’s watch some LIV golf.
LIV Golf: The Format
The first thing to notice is that LIV Golf tournaments are three rounds, not four. The most significant impact is other than the cuts. The PGA Tour championship has over 100 golfers at any one tournament, and the four-round system allows for a cut-off halfway through the tournament. Not with the LIV.
With only 48 golfers, less than half and three rounds, all golfers can compete from the beginning to the end of the third (unless they withdraw). It’s better for golfers, especially those who don’t usually make the cut.
Scoring is the same. It’s an easy play through 54 holes for LIV and 72 for the PGA. As usual, the golfer with the lowest score at the end is the winner.
LIV Golf: Start Times
The next significant difference between LIV and the PGA Tour is how the golfers start each round. The PGA tour field starts on the same hole or different holes at staggered tee times to avoid player overlap. While LIV rides shotgun, meaning the golfers start at the same time but on other tees.
The LIV format of shotgun means the round time is reduced, which works well on a minor course but may seem like a wind tunnel on a larger field. Shotgun starts for PGA Tours will require staggered start times to accommodate the number of golfers, whereas LIV groups of three can begin simultaneously.
A strange dance goes on for team play for the LIV players in the PGA Championship, but the most important aspect has to be the PGA Payouts…
LIV Golf: Payouts
There’s little doubt that the LIV purse is heavy, and a limited field means more money for LIV players in the PGA Championship. In the PGA Tour, players who don’t make the cut aren’t paid – harsh but true! While golfers are guaranteed a share of the purse just by entering the LIV.
The first LIV golf event was played at the Centurion Club, St Albans, UK (an odd choice but okay). This Greater London event had a $25 million purse. Of that, $20 million will be split among the 48 individual golfers. The top three teams divided what’s left ($5 million).
The winner received $4 million, while the last-placed player earned $120,000. The winning team, consisting of four golfers, split $3 million, with the second-place group receiving $1.5 million and the third-place team receiving $500,000. After the eighth event, the winning team gets $16 million. All teams taking part will receive a portion of the larger purse, with the last-place team earning $1 million – now that’s a lot of cash.
Autumn to Christmas LIV Golfing News
The LIV golfing year has panned out dramatically so far, and there’s still a lot to play for, with three major tournaments to watch before the holidays.
September 22-24: LIV Golf Chicago
Hosted by Rich Harvest Farms (RHF), situated 50 miles west of the Windy City, the course offers a challenge; situated within wetlands, urban forest, inhabited farmland, and Illinois prairie grass, RHF is home to the LIV Golf Invitational Series during the inaugural 2022/3 season.
The top three players include Australia’s Cameron Smith, India’s Anirban Lahiri, and Abraham Ancer from Mexico. The Ripper Golf Club is the one to beat. Like every other LIV breakaway series tournament, the Chicago play will have a $20 million prize purse for the individual winning player and $5 million for the team that tops the leaderboard.
The 12th event of the LIV series will feature only two players who are in the Official World Golf Rankings top 50. Cameron Smith, world no. 13, and Brooks Koepka, world no. 15. However, this tournament is all about giving the other golfers a chance, so look out for England’s Richard Bland – believe us when we stay, ole Dicky is anything other than boring.
October 20-22: LIV Golf Miami – Trump National Doral
Miami is always on our minds, especially when the tour is at the Trump National Doral. The Florida event will not be the season-ender for the second year of the LIV Golf Tournament; the finale will be in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The original schedule had LIV’s Miami event held at Doral as the team championship series’s penultimate event of the year. This has unsurprisingly been swapped for Royal Greens.
Watch Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and Cameron Smith play and lead their teams into battle. Expect an appearance from Trump, who may try to take over as an additional fundraiser. One thing is for sure: whatever happens, it will be fascinating.
November 3-5: LIV Golf Team Championship Finale
Head to Royal Greens Golf and Country Club for the finale of this season’s LIV Golf series. King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia, set the scene for the last challenge and what a finale it will be. Hold on to your clubs as the winners, losers, and those in between collect their rewards.
LIV vs. PGA Right Royal Conclusion
Some old-school PGA players and commentators will say it’s a ‘dumbing down’ of the sport, diluting the talent. However, you must be a top-ranking golf player to be a contender for the LIV or PGA Championship picks. You can’t rock up at the LIV in your Sunday Best and ask to play. Tournaments will still be tricky, and the charity work will continue, but you will see way more gold clubs on the turf. That’s not a bad thing, or is it?
Just a quick clarification: LIV also stands for Logistics Invoice Verification, Light Current Voltage, and Legislative Indexing Vocabulary, so LIV is not an acronym, pronounced LIVE golf, so when you’re watching it and recommending it to friends, you know what to say, so you too can sound like you know what the hell is going on!
Ensure you’re watching the last three games, especially the November 3-5: LIV players in the PGA Championship Finale, because believe us when we say the finale will be the best show on earth.
November 24, 2023