LIV Golf is a professional golf tour financed by the Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia. The name LIV is a reference to the Roman numeral for 54, the score if every hole on a par-72 course were birdied, and the number of holes to be played at LIV events. The first LIV Golf Invitational Series event started on 9 June 2022, at the Centurion Club, near London, England.
LIV Golf has managed to lure players like Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Louis Oosthuizen and Kevin Na over from the PGA Tour to join its ranks. While the PGA Tour is still powerful, LIV Golf is looking to prove that it is more than just a blip on the radar.
The LIV Golf Tour is the name of the start-up tour that is attempting to compete with the PGA Tour. It was commonly referred to as the “Saudi Golf League” during its early days, given that Saudi Arabia financially backs it.
It will host eight events during its inaugural season. Pros won’t have to commit to playing a full schedule and will instead be paid to play on a per-event basis. The purses for the eight events will total $225 million; $ 20 million will be awarded at the first event in London, while the most golfers competing in the tour have gotten nine-figure paychecks to defect from the PGA Tour.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan had warned players that they would face stiff penalties for competing in the rival circuit. And in fact, the tour suspended the players who played in the first LIV event in London.
While stars such as Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay have said they’ll remain loyal to the PGA Tour, they admit they’re interested to see what goes down over the next several weeks.
“I’m as curious as you are to see how the tournaments will go and what the presentation will be like, if it will be similar to golf tournaments that we’re used to seeing on TV, or if it will be something totally different, and only time will tell,” Cantlay said last week. “I’m interested to see what that product will be compared to what the product is right now that we are all used to.”
Another major champion, Brooks Koepka, is defecting from the PGA Tour to the new LIV Golf Invitational Series. Also, Abraham Ancer, the 20th-ranked player in the world, will be leaving the PGA Tour and joining LIV Golf.