Golf’s divisive LIV sequence prepares to tee off

Phil Mickelson headlines a area of 48 golfers at this week’s LIV Golf Invitational London – the inaugural occasion in a breakaway sequence threatening to tear the game aside.

(L-R) Ron Cross, Chief Occasions Officer of LIV Golf, Atul Khosla Chief Working Officer of LIV Golf and former Australian golfer Greg Norman, Chief Govt of LIV Golf, maintain a press convention for the forthcoming LIV Golf occasion at The Centurion Membership in St Albans, north of London, on 11 Could 2022. Image: GLYN KIRK/AFP

ST ALBANS – Phil Mickelson headlines a area of 48 golfers at this week’s LIV Golf Invitational London – the inaugural occasion in a breakaway sequence threatening to tear the game aside.

Different big-name gamers who will tee off on the Centurion Membership on Thursday embrace Dustin Johnson, Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia.

AFP Sport takes a take a look at a few of the points across the Saudi-funded tour, which goals to “supercharge the sport {of professional} golf”.

FORMAT

There are eight occasions within the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Sequence.

Seven are regular-season occasions – in North America, Europe, Center East, and Asia – the place gamers will compete as people and in groups for factors and prize cash.

These competitions might be performed over 54 holes in a conventional strokeplay format, as a substitute of the standard 72, and there might be a “shotgun” begin for all teams of gamers, who will tee off from totally different holes on the similar time.

On the finish of the seven tournaments, a person champion might be topped primarily based on factors collected all through the season.

The eighth and remaining event might be a season-ending Group Championship matchplay occasion in Miami performed over 4 days.

Since every occasion might be made up of a unique area, groups might be determined by way of a draft every time.

PRIZE MONEY

The golfers within the LIV sequence might be enjoying for the largest prize pots in historical past – placing even the rewards on supply on the 4 majors within the shade.

Every common season occasion can have a prize purse of $25 million, with the winner taking house $4 million.

Following the primary seven occasions, a person champion might be topped, providing a complete purse of $30 million for the highest three people of the season.

The season-ending crew championship can have a prize fund of $50 million.

STAR POWER

The signing of six-time main winner Mickelson is a serious coup for LIV Golf chiefs.

Mickelson has not performed because the publication of feedback in February, during which he criticised the PGA Tour and LIV Golf’s Saudi backers.

Different marquee names embrace main winners Johnson, Kaymer, Garcia, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and Graeme McDowell.

European Ryder Cup stars Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood are additionally within the area at St Albans, on the outskirts of London.

SAUDI FUNDING

The LIV sequence is controversially bankrolled by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, the chairman of which is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia.

Amnesty Worldwide is adamant that the sequence is one other instance of the “sportswashing” of the Gulf state’s human rights document.

Human rights points have been raised throughout a press convention on Tuesday and are prone to preserve cropping up.

“I feel as golfers, if we tried to remedy geopolitical conditions in each nation on the planet that we play golf in, we would not play a variety of golf,” stated McDowell. “It is a actually exhausting query to reply.”

TOUR TROUBLES

The LIV sequence is fronted by former world primary Greg Norman, now chief govt of LIV Golf Investments, who has spoken of his imaginative and prescient for a “free and open market” in golf.

These opting to play have achieved so regardless of warnings of disciplinary motion from the US PGA Tour.

Two-time main winner Johnson introduced on Tuesday he had resigned his membership of the PGA Tour, following the instance of compatriot Kevin Na.

The transfer means they’ve successfully taken themselves out of the image in relation to potential punishment.

The DP World Tour, previously often called the European Tour, has stated it’s “evaluating every request on a case-by-case foundation”.

RANKING POINTS

World rating factors will not be at the moment on supply at LIV occasions, though officers have held talks on the problem.

One other space of uncertainty is the 4 main championships, that are individually ruled.

They’ve given totally different solutions on LIV defectors however america Golf Affiliation stated on Tuesday that the gamers may play in subsequent week’s US Open in Massachusetts.

The state of affairs over the Ryder Cup seems clearer and Johnson has successfully made himself ineligible to play within the crew competitors once more by quitting the PGA Tour.

McDowell, whose Ryder Cup eligibility is tied to membership of the DP World Tour, stated he had thought “lengthy and exhausting” in regards to the challenge, including he hoped his involvement within the LIV sequence wouldn’t forestall him from participating in future contests.

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