Golf

LIV Golf Invitational Series – Mockery to golf or gamechanger?

The LIV Invitational Series is a controversial topic on every golf fan’s mind and it’s fair to say that it divides opinions. Headed by former world No.1 Greg Norman, the Saudi-backed league is set to transform the sport with its motto ‘golf as you’ve never seen it’.

The DP World Tour and the PGA Tour have threatened the golfers with sanctions and fines if they commit to this rival series but that hasn’t prevented some of the world’s best players from signing up. With 19 of the top 100 players in the world competing in this week’s opening event at The Centurion Club for a whopping $25million, this is going to be a fascinating event if you’re a fan of the divisive Saudi league or not.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new golf tour and what our conclusion is on the debatable topic.

LIV Golf Invitational Series

There are eight events on the LIV Golf Series this season but that’s expected to increase every season with 10 events next year and 14 in 2024. Each tournament is a shotgun start and is a 54-hole, three-day event which is unprecedented in professional golf. If you didn’t know, it is called ‘LIV’ because that means 54 in Roman Numerals. There have been complaints about slow play in golf for years but that will all hopefully stop with the introduction of shotgun starts to make tournaments more fun and fast-paced.

Each tournament will involve a Draft Day leading up to the event where each player will be assigned to different teams and there will be a $5m cash prize split between the top three teams.

There are also going to be no cuts so even if you finish in the last position out of the 48 players and shoot 100-over par, you’ll still walk away with $120,000.

Why are the DP World Tour and PGA Tour upset?

The DP World Tour and PGA Tour have a strong allegiance these days and are doing everything in their power to prevent the players from joining the breakaway tour. They have threatened the golfers with lifetime bans, and fines and will thwart them from playing or captaining their Ryder Cup teams. However, this hasn’t prevented many of the top players, who are in the later years of their careers, from signing up for the LIV Series where they have the opportunity to earn obscene amounts of money against a weaker and smaller field.

Furthermore, the DP World Tour and PGA Tour believe they gave the players the chance to compete during the Covid-19 pandemic and still earn a living so the players should be more loyal and appreciate the Tours that have helped them get to where they are today. Both the Tours have significantly increased their prize funds this season but that still doesn’t seem to be enough to prevent players from making the switch to the LIV Golf Series.

Tweet about suspending the players

Why are the players joining the LIV Golf Series?

The LIV Golf Series is an extraordinary opportunity to make a quick buck. 49-year-old Lee Westwood insisted he would have to be ‘stupid’ not to pursue a pay increase at his age which makes perfect sense for the older players who struggle to compete against the younger and longer guys on Tour. In addition, with the events occurring once a month and mainly in the States, the players won’t have to be away from their family on the road as much and can feel fresher for each tournament.

There is also the exciting element of the LIV tournaments being unique compared to typical events. There will be shotgun starts and the chance to compete as a team which, as you can tell from the Presidents Cup and the Ryder Cup, the players adore. Some of the golfers that have committed to the field for the opening event at The Centurion Club in London are relatively unknown so it’s an amazing opportunity for them to land a big payday and launch themselves into the limelight. They don’t really have anything to lose.

Dustin Johnson and Kevin Na have resigned from the PGA Tour but DJ will still get an exemption to play in Major events until 2025, as will Phil Mickelson, due to them winning Majors in recent years. Other DP World Tour stalwarts such as Westwood and Ian Poulter are hoping they can still compete on both the DP World Tour and the LIV Golf Series. They don’t see it as being any different to playing on the PGA Tour when you were DP World Tour members. All of this will be worked out in the weeks to come but it will be intriguing to see how their LIV decision pans out.

Poulter and Westwood defending the decision to play LIV

Why is the LIV Golf Series so controversial?

The LIV Golf Series is funded by the Public Investment Fund which is the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia so it faces accusations of sports washing. Many of the public believe the players are just playing because of the money and aren’t considering all the awful things that Saudi have been associated with such as the assassination of US journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

So finally, is the LIV Golf Invitational Series a mockery of golf or is it a gamechanger?

The LIV Golf Invitational Series if you’re a fan or not, will attract millions of spectators when it’s streamed for free on YouTube this weekend. It’s quick, fun and different. Golf is the sport that has benefited most since Covid-19 times as you could play safely during the pandemic so it has enticed many new young fans who will probably find this new format more appealing. It will be best for the sport if the LIV Golf Series, PGA Tour and DP World Tour can work together to offer a complete package that appeals to the traditionalist and the new wave of fans. Whether than can happen or not, only time will tell. We can’t wait to see how it unfolds this weekend anyway.

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