Louis Oosthuizen has reportedly signed up for the Saudi-backed league but what it is all about?
Sports Illustrated recently answered the most frequently asked questions …
What is the LIV Golf Invitational Series?
It is the name of the league or tour that has been commonly referred to as the Saudi Golf League, for which Greg Norman was named commissioner in October.
Who is playing?
Norman said in mid-April that pros will play on a per-event basis, with none committing to a full schedule as members for 2022. Top amateurs will also be invited. On 10 May, SI.com reported that 19 players in the top 100 of the Official World Golf Ranking and more than 170 overall had registered for the first event. The players include Oosthuizen, Robert Garrigus, Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Richard Bland, Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer.
Has the PGA Tour commented on the series?
The PGA Tour’s stance became more clear with the denial of releases to players on 10 May. “We have notified those who have applied that their request has been declined in according with the PGA Tour Tournament regulations,’’ said Tyler Dennis, PGA Tour senior vice-president, in a memo to players. “As such, Tour members are not authorized to participate in the Saudi Golf League’s London event under our Regulations. As a membership organization, we believe this decision is in the best interest of the PGA Tour and its players.’’
How many events are in the series?
There will be eight in 2022, with four in the United States, one in London, one in Thailand and another in Saudi Arabia. The season-ending team championship slated for 27-30 October will be held at Trump National Doral. Norman has said the plan is for 10 events next year and the league format to begin in 2024.
When is the first event?
9-11 June at the Centurion Club in London. That is the same week as the RBC Canadian Open on the PGA Tour and a week prior to the US Open.
How many players will compete?
The plan is to have 48 players competing for a $20-million purse. Those 48 players will also make up 12 teams, with those four-man teams playing for an additional $5m per week. The top-two scores for the first two rounds count toward the team competition with three of the four counting on the final day.
What is LIV Golf Investments?
It is the name of the company that was launched in October with the idea of supporting golf throughout the world. Norman is the CEO of the company, which has committed $300m to the Asian Tour for a series of 10 events per year meant to help the growth of the tour. That is separate from the $400m they say will be invested in the start-up of the LIV Golf Invitational.
Will there be Official World Golf Ranking points awarded for the series?
There is precedent for awarding Official World Golf Ranking points to 54-hole events. Whenever an event is shortened to 54 holes, points are awarded. And the Sunshine Tour has some scheduled 54-hole events that award points. But what about a Tour whose entire schedule is 54-hole events? LIV Golf needs to apply to the Official World Golf Ranking for status.
How does playing in these events impact the Ryder Cup?
Unless a European Tour player is able to earn world ranking points, it has no impact. Americans can only earn points by playing on the PGA Tour.
Who is the broadcast partner?
There is none at this time. Norman and his team said they will go back to work on that now that there is a schedule. Expect some sort of streaming service whether there is an over-the-air partner or not.
How is the league funded?
The league is part of LIV Golf Investments, which says its mission is to “make strategic investments in golf to enhance the global golf ecosystem and unlock the sport’s untapped worldwide potential”. The Public Investment Fund, an autonomous wealth fund administered by the government of Saudi Arabia, is the main shareholder.
What is the meaning behind LIV?
It is the Roman numeral for 54, which has two meanings: 54 is the lowest score you could shoot if you were to birdie every hole on a par-72 course, so there is an aspirational aspect to the thinking. It is also the number of holes to be played in each event.