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How does LIV Golf work?

LIV Golf has a very different format than most golf tournaments.

Standard procedure on the PGA and DP World Tours is 72 holes (four rounds) with a field of 156 players, all teeing off from one (and sometimes two) tees.

In contrast, LIV Golf has a field of only 48 players, only 54 holes (three rounds) and it uses a shotgun tee.

Did you make the link? “LIV” is a Roman numeral for 54 – the number of holes they play.

You might also be wondering what a shotgun start is: it’s when everyone on the course is on the course at the same time, starting from different starts, so the action is over in about four to five hours. instead of lasting all day.

There is another distinction in LIV Golf – the teams.

In this first year of LIV, there has been some confusion, both on the part of the organizers and the spectators.

The ultimate goal is 12 teams based on the franchise model in American sports (NFL, NBA), Formula 1 and IPL cricket.

When this begins, there should be some consistency between team captains and rosters throughout the year.

In the first year, as organizers made changes, teams were randomized, with changes taking place before each event.

The 12 teams are: 4 Aces GC, Cleeks GC, Crushers GC, Fireballs GC, Hy Flyers GC, Iron Heads GC, Majesticks GC, Niblicks GC, Punch GC, Smash GC, Stinger GC and Torque GC.

Each team has a captain and three players join it following a repechage. For the first two rounds, the top two scores in stroke play count, in the final round all three count.

In the final event of the season, the Tag Team Championship, there is a four-round match play. Teams are seeded before the action, with the top four teams getting a bye to the final eight.

The first seven tournaments have an individual prize pool of $20 million ($4 million for the winner) with an additional $5 million available in the team event.

At the end of the first seven events, an additional $30 million is split among the top three performers of the season (a minimum of four starts).

In the Tag Team Championship, there’s still $50 million up for grabs ($16 million for first place).

It’s probably worth adding that LIV Golf could change – the situation is fluid and uncertain.

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History of Golf LIV

In the 1990s, Australian golfing legend Greg Norman wanted to embark on a world tour, but his plans didn’t go well with the traditional PGA Tour.

Along with the other major golf tours, the PGA Tour has created the Golf World Championship, a series of events designed to take elite golfers around the world.

It was widely seen as contrary to Norman’s ideas, and Norman himself was unhappy that his notion had been taken, undersold, and the status quo changed little.

Fast forward and, since around 2018, there have been rumors of impending change at the top of the game, with at least two companies looking to create league or team style competition.

In late 2021 and early 2022, LIV Golf emerged as the first real competitor, backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) which was also behind the takeover of Newcastle United Football Club in the English Premier League.

In March 2021, LIV Golf announced an eight-event $250 million invitational series with General Manager Norman adding that an additional $1.6 billion would be invested to make it a 12-event league starting of 2024.

In May 2022, at the Centurion Club near London, before the first event at the same venue, Norman held a press conference.

Among those present was Sean Bratches, commercial director of LIV and highly respected after his stint transforming the fortunes of ESPN and F1.

Asked about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whom the FBI has linked to the Saudi government, Norman said:

Listen, we all make mistakes.

The comment went viral and soon after Bratches quit LIV Golf.

Already controversial, LIV Golf was about to be even more so.

LIV Golf Controversy

It is not just the source of the money (Saudi Arabia) that is in dispute.

Golfers who join are also likely to look exceptionally stingy with such large sums of money.

But there is also a threat to the status quo. Those on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour see LIV as contenders rather than a tour that can race alongside them. Norman says otherwise.

On the one hand, those who lead the traditional circuits want to keep what they have; they also seek to protect the sport from being taken over by private enterprise. There are fears that the PIF is answerable only to itself and that if it decides to go elsewhere after bringing about huge changes, it will threaten the future of the sport.

Prior to the first event, the PGA Tour had warned that any participating member would be banned and that is what happened. Big names have nevertheless made the switch: Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson from America, and Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood from Europe.

Most of these golfers are in the later stages of their careers, but Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed have also joined the Rebels. The same goes for youngsters like Carlos Ortiz, Matthew Wolff, Talor Gooch and Laurie Canter.

Mickelson is perhaps the most shocking inclusion as it was revealed in early 2022 that he told US journalist Alan Shipnuck that the Saudis were “scary motherfuckers” to deal with. Long story short, his involvement in LIV was cut short, but he returned to the fold.

Another big name was Swede Henrik Stenson, who lost the 2023 Ryder Cup Europe captaincy as a result. He then won the third LIV event.

At the 150th Open, shortly after winning the Claret Jug, Cameron Smith was asked if he was joining LIV and gave a dry answer without refuting the idea – it revealed just how strange the sport was.

The third event took place at Donald Trump’s Bedminster course and the final event will take place at his Trump National Doral – adding further potential for disputes and headlines.

Throughout all the issues, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods have been candid in their reviews of LIV Golf.

McIlroy had doubts about investors and got into feuds with Norman. Thomas and Woods have insisted that only traditional golf – and 72-hole golf – can allow a career to be deemed worthwhile.

Ahead of the 2021/22 Tour Championship, Woods and McIlroy hosted a players’ meeting, then the PGA Tour announced a series of events focused on elite players, a clear and rather obvious counter to the threat LIV Golf.

Meanwhile, the various bodies on either side of the argument have hired numerous law firms and the sport is set to be embroiled in an ugly contentious fight for the foreseeable future.

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Where is LIV Golf played?

In the first season, events took place in London (Centurion Club), Portland (Pumpkin Ridge), Bedminster (Trump Bedminster), Boston (The International), Chicago (Rich Harvest Farms), Bangkok (Stonehill), Jeddah (Royal Greens) and Miami (Trump National Doral).

During each of these weeks it is helpful to take careful note of the conditions.

The key to gaining an advantage is identifying the type of grass (both on the fairways and in the rough, as well as on the greens), course designer, type of course, elevation, layout course and other considerations.

Contrary to initial expectations, the courses may not have been designed as easy birdie parties.

But there was a sense that the team ethos helped some golfers – the first two winners were Charl Schwartzel and Branden Grace, both South Africans who enjoyed the camaraderie of being on an all-Springbok team.

How do players qualify for LIV Golf?

Most organized golf events have a field made up mostly of members who have qualified through qualifying school, on feed tours, or with wins. Major leagues, on the other hand, have a field of players who have earned the right to play through similar means to those above, as well as performances elsewhere, in the world rankings and in qualifying events.

LIV Golf courses are mostly invitational and the situation is constantly changing as their membership is increasing.

How to bet on LIV Golf?

The obvious starting point is the outcome of the tournament: you can back a player to win, to place (top five, top ten, etc.) or both ways (half the bet on the win, the other half on the square).

Beyond that, there are a number of other alternatives.

First Round Leader is a very popular market, as are group options: Top American or Top European, for example.

You can also bet one player on another in 54 hole and 18 hole match betting which are mythical contests in the sense that the players do not know they have been pitted against each other.

In each round there will also be two or three ball contests linked to the official tee time groups.

Currently, team betting has not been a feature, but that may change as team rosters stabilize.

DraftKings and FanDuel have offered odds but, as with the new venture, it’s a very fluid and ever-changing situation. Because the circuit does not have an official referee, this caused problems for the books. Some state regulators and commissions do not yet allow betting on LIV Golf.

LIV Golf can be viewed for free on the LIV Golf website and also on YouTube.

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