After much deliberation and repeated delays, the LIV Golf Invitational has finally launched, and there are some surprises: Dustin Johnson is here. Sergio Garcia is here. And now, 40 more.
A roster of 42 players was announced on Tuesday – notably six shy of the 48 players promised for the event – just nine days before the first round of the event, which will take place at the Centurion Club outside London. It is the first of eight LIV events scheduled for 2022, five in the United States and three internationally, that will compete directly and indirectly with the PGA Tour.
Johnson’s inclusion was somewhat surprising because three months ago he pledged allegiance to the PGA Tour in the current situation. “Over the past several months, there has been a great deal of speculation about an alternative tour,” the statement read. “A lot of it seems to have involved me and my future in professional golf. I feel it is time to put an end to this speculation. I am fully committed to the PGA Tour.” His stance hasn’t changed at all in the previous months, although he presented a slightly different idea during the PGA Championship two weeks ago:
“I mean, I think golf is in a good place, and I guess what [LIV Golf is] Done – can be useful for golf. “I’m excited to see what happens here in a few weeks,” Johnson said.
“Meaning excited?” A reporter asked.
“I’ll be watching,” Johnson said.
Garcia’s inclusion was less surprising. Just a few weeks ago, he was caught on camera berating the PGA Tour rules official, saying “I can’t wait to leave this tour.” Other notable personalities include Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Louis Oosthuizen, Kevin Na and Taylor Gotsch.
Absent, for now at least, is Phil Mickelson, who has long been rumored to be in the league, but Who has taken leave in recent months. Comments Mickelson made about the PGA Tour in a recently published book drew widespread backlash, and even disdain from fellow Tour players. Mickelson skipped the Masters and even the PGA Championship, where he was defending the champ. When he plans to play, whether at LIV Golf events or on the PGA Tour, it remains to be seen.
The event will go ahead from Tuesday next week, with 12 captains selected for players in a python-style draft. Wednesday will see a professional show, with the first of the three rounds kicking off with a shotgun on Thursday afternoon, the first day open to the public. The event will present a $25 million purse, of which $20 million will be awarded to individual performances, and the rest will be disqualified from among the top three teams. The last place holder will earn $120,000.
Mega Payments – the largest single event portfolio in golf history – was the calling card of both the event and the LIV Golf Series, both funded by significant funds for the Public Investment Fund of the Government of Saudi Arabia. It is this connection, combined with Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, that has made The series is controversial.
To a large extent, the world’s best players have eschewed the league, and pledged allegiance to the PGA Tour. But, as always, loyalty seems fluid. At one point, prior to Mickelson’s comments, LIV Golf seemed ready to announce a course featuring the top 10 players. But Mickelson’s reaction was so intense that many players hesitated, according to reports. Now, the full list is right there.
Up to this point, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has not entertained the idea that tour members can compete in LIV Golf events. And the PGA Tour events, which will overlap at various points the rest of the calendar year. For example, the London event will be held at the same time as the PGA Tour’s Canadian Open. Tour players wishing to play in London were required, under the Tour’s organization, to apply for a version to play at an event held at the same time as a Tour competition. Although historically these versions have been approved, This time they were not.
“We have notified those who applied that their application was denied in accordance with the PGA Tour Championship regulations,” Tyler Dennis, Tour Vice President, said in a note. As such, Tour members are not authorized to participate in the London Saudi Golf League event under our regulations.
“As a membership organization, we believe this decision is in the best interests of the Tour and its players.”
It’s clear how the PGA Tour feels about LIV, and it’s now clear how many players do too.
Check out the full list of committed players below:
Ratchanon ‘TK’ Chantananuwat (amateur)
Henny de Plessis
James Plaut (amateur)