With Monday being the last day PGA Tour players can request a release to play in the first LIV Golf International Series event outside of London in June, the upstart organization led by Greg Norman has more than 70 players registered for the original tournament.
Of those players, 15 are ranked in the top 100 in the world, a LIV Golf spokesperson told SI.com/Morning Read. Due to player confidentiality agreements, the names of the players are withheld, but Phil Mickelson’s agent Steve Loy released a statement on Monday afternoon saying the six-time winner had requested a release.
While it’s not the transport of top players that Norman and his organization LIV Golf Investments originally envisioned when trying to create a league that would have a 14-tournament schedule, it appears to be better than expected after the organization pivoted in the wake. of controversial comments attributed to Mickelson in February.
LIV Golf announced its eight-tournament schedule on March 16 and has been accepting tournament applications over the past month.
Mickelson, who won the PGA Championship last year for his sixth major title, has not played since early February and has come under heavy criticism for his association with the league and his harsh comments on the PGA Tour. Several players who were supposedly close to signing deals with LIV Golf have backed off.
Norman was appointed CEO of LIV Golf Investments and commissioner of the new league in October, which was forced to alter its plans, with the concept of a league shelved for two years and simply a series of events to be organized at which players are free. to participate. as often or as little as they wish.
This year’s program begins June 9-11 at the Centurion Club outside London, the week before the US Open and the same week as the PGA Tour’s RBC Canadian Open. PGA Tour players are required to request a release – essentially a clearance – to participate in any conflicting event. Players on the DP World (formerly European) Tour must also request releases and players must get responses 30 days before the start of the event.
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Since the event is taking place overseas and the tournament is not at this stage part of a new tour, players can expect to receive the releases they want from the PGA Tour. It is highly likely that there will be former great champions among the competing group, as well as several former PGA Tour winners. LIV Golf expects to have to refuse applications, as its fields are limited to 48 players.
What’s unclear is what will happen in July when LIV Golf plays its first national event outside of Portland. The PGA Tour, per policy, does not grant releases for domestic tournaments. This event is played in front of the John Deere Classic.
The big lure, of course, is the prize money offered. 54-hole events have no cut and will use a shotgun tee for the first two rounds. The first seven events will have prize money of $25 million, including $20 million for the individual portion: $4 million will go to the winner and approximately $120,000 will be paid for finishing last. Top teams play for an extra $5 million. Some players should also receive spawn fees.
LIV Golf was scheduled to announce Monday that its season-ending event will be played at Trump National Doral in Miami, October 28-30. This event has a $50 million purse and will strictly have a team format, team details will be determined and a format is yet to be released. But there will be 12 four-man teams, with the winning team splitting $16 million and $1 million going to the last-place team.
The LIV Golf Invitational Series will have multiple exemption criteria to determine the field, which includes players from the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, Asian Tour, Australasian Tour, Sunshine Tour and Japan Tour. There is an exemption category for the top three players from the Asian Tour International Series and the top two from the International Series London event. From there, the top 22 available players from the Official World Golf Rankings along with invites will fill the field.
The LIV Golf Invitational series is part of LIV Golf Investments, which states that its mission is “to make strategic investments in golf to enhance the global golf ecosystem and unlock the sport’s untapped global potential”. The Public Investment Fund, an autonomous wealth fund administered by the government of Saudi Arabia, is the main shareholder.
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