By Ryan Bologna
The PGA Tour has a competitor and, with star players bolting for the LIV Golf Tour, the talk of the Saudi-backed tour has dominated the golf world. The topic has caused a lot of debate and friction between players and media members. A couple of weeks ago, our own Rhonda Bird outlined how the PGA is handling the situation and why the LIV Tour is so controversial. With the tour launching this week in London, here is everything you need to know about LIV Golf and the impact it has on the PGA and remaining major events.
What is the Format?
The format for the LIV Tour is a bit different. There will be 48 participants for three rounds of golf at each event. The events will feature the usual stroke play format, but with a shotgun start, meaning every player tees off at the same time throughout the 18 holes on the course. An individual winner will be crowned at each event, but there is also a team aspect to it.
The field of 48 is divided into 12 teams of four. Before each event, 12 league-appointed team captains will pick three players from the rest of the field. The two best scores from each team will be counted towards the team’s score for the first two days of the tournament. The best three scores from each team will count for the final round. The team with the lowest combined score wins the team portion of the event.
The first seven tournaments will have a $25 million prize pool. The individual winner gets $4 million with the rest of the field splitting $16 million. The teams split up the remaining $5 million with the winning team receiving $3 million, the second place team getting $1.5 million and the third place team getting the remaining $500,000. The eighth tournament will be a championship with a $50 million prize pool.
Click here for the full event schedule.
Who is playing and will they be able to play in PGA events and Majors?
Phil Mickelson is participating in the LIV Tour, and it is speculated that he is getting paid around $200 million to do so. He has not resigned from the PGA Tour. Dustin Johnson has, and he is reportedly making around $125 million to participate in the LIV Tour. Major winners Sergio Garcia, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed are also joining the tour. Greg Norman also said that the tour made a ‘mind-blowingly enourmous’ offer to Tiger Woods, but he declined.
The PGA has responded by suspending all current and future golfers participating in the LIV Tour from PGA events.
PGA Tour suspends current and future LIV players. pic.twitter.com/lKhxo27Ida
— Eamon Lynch (@eamonlynch) June 9, 2022
The twist to all of this is that the PGA does not run the major events such as the Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open and the Open Championship. So the decision as to whether those participating in the LIV Tour will be eligible for majors will be up to the governing bodies for each of those events. The United States Golf Association runs the U.S. Open and has already ruled that LIV golfers who have qualified for the event, like Mickelson and Johnson, will be able to participate in the tournament. The R&A, which runs the Open Championship, has yet to comment on the matter. The governing bodies for the Masters and the PGA Championship have until 2023 to decide what to do.
There will certainly be a ton of developments before then, but it will be something to keep an eye on. Will the majors allow these players to participate, or does the PGA have enough pull with these governing bodies to get them banned from those events as well? Only time will tell.
Photo Credit: Gary Yee