LIV Golf 2022, PGA Tour, dates, prize money, players, pitch, how it works, draft, schedule, schedule: Saudi league explained


After months of controversy and an ongoing, bitter war of words with the PGA Tour and its loyalists, Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational series begins this week.

Following last week’s roster reveal and Tuesday’s (AEST) announcement that Phil Mickelson will also play, the season kicks off in London on Thursday with some eye-watering cash prizes.

So how does the show actually work, who’s playing – and exactly how much can they win?

Here’s everything you need to know about the LIV Golf Invitational Series.

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WHAT IS THE SIZE?

The format of each event borrows from motorsport categories by having players compete as individuals and as part of a team, simultaneously.

Each event lasts only 54 holes over three days, instead of the typical 72 over four seen on other circuits, when there is no cut.

There is also a shotgun start, which means everyone plays different holes at the same time instead of waiting in a queue to start on the first hole. This decision was made to reduce the length of each day to that of a round of golf, instead of an entire day.

The field consists of 48 players, who are drafted (more on that later) into 12 teams of four, and play to win the tournament in their own right, as well as their team.

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The individual category winner of each event will be the player with the lowest stroke total over 54 holes, ie. standard move play.

Scoring the team component of each event is slightly more complex.

Only the top two scores in stroke play will count for each team in the first two rounds, while the top three scores will count in the final round.

Whichever team has the lowest overall score after 54 holes wins the event.

In the individual category, there are seven regular season events. The individual champion will be the player with the most ranking points after the seven.

The eighth and final event on the calendar is called the “Team Championship”. According to the LIV Golf website, this is a “four-day, four-round, single-elimination, match-play final.”

HOW WILL THE TEAMS BE SELECTED?

Teams of four will be selected via a draft.

A named captain chooses the team via a snake draft format; that is, the team with choice 12 also has choice 13, and the team with choice 1 does not choose again until choice 24.

Where things get a little complicated is that the 48 players will not be exactly the same over the eight events.

This means that a draft takes place before each event with an appointed team captain – who also plays – responsible for choosing their other three positions.

Each team will have its own logos, colors and names.

Phil Mickelson has confirmed that he will be attending LIV Golf’s opening event.Source: AFP

WHAT IS PRIZE MONEY? (price in AUD)

As impressive as the format is, money is ultimately the biggest trump card that has seen the series take off with a handful of big names.

The numbers below are all in AUD.

Each regular season event has a prize purse of $34.8 million. The individual competition is worth $27.8 million and the team component the remaining $7 million.

The individual winner of each event takes home $5.6 million.

For context, Cameron Smith claimed $5 million in March for winning The Players Championship, which has the biggest cash prize on the PGA Tour.

Equally remarkable, however, is the fact that last place still comes home with $167,000.

This is a major point of difference with the PGA Tour in which those who miss halfway go home with nothing at the vast majority of events.

Meanwhile, the winning team from each event splits $4.2 million, second place $2.1 million and third place $695,000.

There are also huge prizes for individual and team championship winners.

The individual champion takes home $25 million, while second and third place take home $11.1 million and $5.6 million, respectively.

A player must participate in a minimum of four events to be eligible to win the Individual Championship.

Dustin Johnson is LIV Golf’s big fish.Source: AFP

Each team then receives a share of a massive $69.5 million Tag Team Championship purse.

The winning team shares 22.2 million dollars and the 12th team 1.4 million dollars.

A total of $354.5 million will be up for grabs over the seven regular season events and the team championship.

In the extremely unlikely scenario where a player wins all seven events and his team wins all eight, he would claim $52.1 million over the course of a season.

If a player and his team finish last at each event, they still pocket $1.5 million in prize money during the season.

WHO’S PLAYING?

The full list of 48 players for the first Centurion event is as follows, with notable players and Australians in bold:

Olivier Bekker, South Africa

Richard Bland, England

Itthipat Buranatanyarat, Thailand

Laurie Canter, England

Ratchanon Chantananuwat (amateur), Thailand

Hennie Du Plessis, South Africa

Oliver Fisher, England

Sergio Garcia, Spain

Talor Gooch, United States

Branden Grace, South Africa

Justin Harding, South Africa

Sam Horsfield, England

Dustin Johnson, United States

Matt Jones, Australia

Sadom Kaewkanjana, Thailand

Martin Kaymer, Germany

Phachara Khongwatmai, Thailand

Sihwan Kim, United States

Ryōsuke Kinoshita, Japan

Chase Koepka, United States

Jinichiro Kozuma, Japan

Pablo Larrazabal, Spain

Viraj Madappa, India

Graeme McDowell, Northern Ireland

Phil Mickelson, United States

Jediah Morgan, Australia

Kevin Na, United States

Shaun Norris, South Africa

Andy Ogletree, United States

Louis Oosthuizen, South Africa

Wade Ormsby, Australia

Adrian Otaegui, Spain

Turk Pettit, United States

James Piot (amateur), USA

Ian Poulter, England

David Puig (amateur), Spain

JC Ritchie, South Africa

Charl Schwartzel, South Africa

Travis Smith, Australia

Ian Snyman, South Africa

Hudson Swafford, United States

Hideto Tanihara, Japan

Peter Uihlein, United States

Scott Vincent, Zimbabwe

Lee Westwood, England

Bernd Wiesberger, Austria

Blake Windred, Australia

Kevin Yuan, Australia

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HOW LONG IS THE SEASON?

Listen to a handful of players and they’ll tell you it’s also a major factor that kept them away from the PGA Tour.

The season consists of just eight three-day events split between the London opener from June 9-11 and the Tag Team Championship in Miami from October 27-30.

As such, LIV Golf represents a much smaller commitment for players who can travel less, play less, and spend more time with family while earning similar amounts of money, if not more.

Full schedule:

London, Centurion Club: 9 – 11 June

Portland, Pumpkin Ridge: June 30 to July 22

Bedminster, Trump National: July 29-31

Boston, The Oaks: September 2-4

Chicago, Rich Harvest Farms: September 16-18

Bangkok, Stonehill: October 7-9

Jeddah, Royal Greens: October 14-16

Miami, Trump Doral: October 27-30

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