LIV Golf is now more than halfway through its inaugural season after completion of play in Chicago. Making headlines both on and off the golf course, LIV Golf has taken its battle to the courtroom, social media and beyond. While the actual play in LIV Golf has been compelling at times, the overall structure, presence and future of the organization remains its most intriguing component in the context of men's professional golf.
Plenty of questions have been answered since its inaugural event in London from June 9-11, but still more remain without a response. What will the future of this rival tour look like? How will the team aspect of the competition clash with the individual side? Will LIV Golf be able to recruit some of the best players in the world with its Official World Golf Rankings status in the air? Is a court date with the PGA Tour inevitable?
At every step along the way, answers about this league have only produced more questions and clarification has only made the future more complicated.
The breakdown below is our attempt to share with you everything that's known to this point as we head into the whatever LIV Golf is going to look like in the future. Whether this turns out to be a fork or bump in the road of professional golf remains to be seen (only the future will retroactively determine that), but it does feel monumental in the moment.
LIV Golf, empowered by its unlimited war chest of resources to throw at the best players, is officially at odds with the PGA Tour. It's a period of time that has been promised for a long time, and is finally taking place. Let's take a look at what we know and what we can expect in the weeks, months and years ahead as LIV Golf wraps up its first season at the end of October.
What is LIV Golf?
LIV Golf is a rival golf league to the PGA Tour where the tournaments consist of 54 holes, the fields are limited to 48 golfers and the purses are an astronomical $25 million. Twelve, four-man teams will compete in each event, and the individual purses will be $20 million while the other $5 million will be divided up among the best teams each week.
Who leads LIV Golf?
LIV Golf Investments runs the league, and its CEO is two-time major champion Greg Norman. It is funded by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, which is effectively the financial arm of the Saudi Arabian government. These funds are seemingly limitless as the league has paid hundreds of millions of dollars to players just to guarantee their appearances at the LIV Golf Invitational Series events.
Who is playing for LIV Golf?
It began with Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson headlining the London event and has since grown into a respectable roster. Major champions Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed quickly followed the lead of their fellow Americans.
More recently, and more importantly, world No. 3 and Champion Golfer of the Year Cameron Smith made the leap after the completion of the 2022 Tour Championship. He was joined by young Chilean Joaquin Niemann as two international players who chose to forgo the Presidents Cup in lieu of playing in the LIV Golf event in Boston. While the initial demographics skewed towards older players like Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Mickelson, there has been an influx of younger talent with Abraham Ancer and Harold Varner III among others.
Here's a look at the 49 men who currently play for LIV Golf and their Official World Golf Rankings (Bubba Watson is a non-playing captain and is set to compete once fully recovered from injury).
Harold Varner III
Charles Howell III
What is going on legally between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour?
Originally, 11 LIV Golf players were a part of an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour. This suit also sought a temporary restraining order for Hudson Swafford, Matt Jones and Talor Gooch to participate in the 2021-22 FedEx Cup Playoffs -- which was ultimately denied and barred them from playing in the PGA Tour postseason.
Since then, slowly but surely, more and more of the original members have removed their names from the lawsuit. Previously, Ancer, Carlos Ortiz, Jason Kokrak and Pat Perez left the suit. More recently, Talor Gooch, Mickelson, Poulter and Swafford followed in their footsteps.
This leaves only three players seeking punitive damages in a legal battle with the PGA Tour: Bryson DeChambeau, Peter Uihlein and Jones. The trial is set to begin in January 2024.
The Tour has over and over again pointed back to its rules and regulations in this matter and remains set on keeping those who have played on LIV Golf off the PGA Tour. Commissioner Jay Monahan was asked at the Tour Championship if there was any chance LIV Golf members would be welcomed back onto the PGA Tour to which he blatantly answered, "no."
How has the PGA Tour reacted to LIV Golf?
After a players-only meeting at the BMW Championship led by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy,and the treatment of its star players. Here are the spark notes of this new-look PGA Tour starting this season.
- Top players will commit to at least 20 PGA Tour events: These tournaments will include the eight elevated events as previously designated, four additional elevated events with purses of at least $20 million (to be announced), The Players Championship, the four major championships and three other FedEx Cup events of players' choosing.
- The PIP will be expanded: The PIP has been increased from the top 10 players to the top 20 for 2022 and 2023. Not only has the player pool expanded, so has the prize pool, which will now total $100 million, double the $50 million previously announced. It is from these top 20 lists that "top players" will be defined.
- Modifications made for Lifetime Membership: No longer will 15 seasons of membership be necessary. Once a player reaches 20 wins, he will be eligible. With this change, McIlroy has secured his lifetime membership with Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth only being a handful of wins away.
Will LIV Golf receive Official World Golf Rankings points?
LIV Golf is still awaiting the status of its OWGR application despite its best attempts to expedite the process. All 49 players recently sent a letter to the OWGR chairman requesting that world ranking points be retroactively applied to its events. Comparing the OWGR without LIV to college football without the SEC or FIFA without Belgium, it is unlikely this holds any merit.
Meanwhile, players have begun to tee it up on the DP World Tour with some consistency on weeks in which there is no LIV Golf event. The top 50 players in the OWGR at the end of the calendar year will be invited to the 2023 Masters making it a mad dash for players to accumulate as many points as possible before then.
Will the majors allow golfers to play?
That's an even better question that has at least some clarity.. The major organizations -- PGA of America, USGA, R&A and Augusta National -- likely won't announce suspensions or bans of players who participate. There is a potential that qualifying criterias are modified in the future, however as of now if a LIV player gains entry through previous exemptions or the adequate OWGR (points which LIV has yet to secure) he should be able to compete.
What is the LIV Golf schedule?
Five events have already taken place in 2022, with three remaining. Here's a look at what's left on the schedule for the inaugural season.
- Bangkok, Thailand: Oct. 7-9
- Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: Oct. 14-16
- Miami, Florida: Oct. 27-30
LIV Golf has released a tentative schedule for 2023 with 14 stops around the globe spanning Washington D.C., Spain and Australia. This is unofficial as details have yet to be confirmed.
- February: Florida (course TBD)
- February: California (course TBD)
- March: Tucson (Dove Mountain or the Gallery)
- April: Australia (Sydney or Queensland)
- April: Singapore (Sentosa)
- May: Washington D.C. (CBS Sports can confirm Trump National DC the week after PGA Championship)
- June: Philadelphia (course TBD)
- July: London (Centurion)
- July: Spain (Valderrama the week before The Open)
- August: New Jersey (Trump National Bedminster)
- August: West Virginia (The Greenbrier)
- September: Chicago (course TBD)
- September: Toronto or Mexico (course TBD)
- September: Florida (Trump National Doral)
What does LIV Golf's season finale look like?
It will not look like the Tour Championship, that is for certain. Taking place from Oct. 28-30, the top four teams in LIV will receive a bye on the first day while teams 5-12 will compete in match-play competitions with the higher-ranked teams selecting their opponents. For each matchup, three matches consisting of two singles matches and one alternate-shot match will take place.
The same format will be used for Day 2 of competition with the four victors from Day 1 and the four teams which received a bye all playing. From there, the four winners from Day 2 will advance to the final stage which will be different.
The four winning teams will compete in stroke play on the final day of competition. All 16 players will compete and all four scores will count towards the team's score. The lowest team score will be crowned the LIV Golf Invitational Series Team Champion.