What is the LIV Golf Series and how will it work? | Golf

How did it happen? Saudi Arabia’s growing involvement in the sport led it to target golf, initially through one-off tournaments on existing men’s and women’s circuits. It quickly evolved into a lucrative series, led by Greg Norman but strongly opposed by the PGA and DP World Tours. This event is one of eight scheduled across the world in 2022 under a severe disruption plan.

Who registered? Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio García, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Martin Kaymer are the biggest names. Bryson DeChambeau has announced that he will play the second event in the United States at the end of June. The 48-man peloton now includes amateurs and 27 of the world’s top 150.

Who is not registered? Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are the most prominent opponents of Plan LIV. None of the world’s top 10 apparently care.

Phil Mickelson drives on the fourth hole of the pro-am at the Centurion Club on Wednesday. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Why is it called LIV Golf? It’s about Roman numerals. Fifty-four is the score under par if every hole in a LIV tournament is a birdie. Each competition is held over three rounds, as opposed to the four that are standard on mainstream tours.

What is the game format? The overriding plan was to provide a shorter and more exciting model. Standard stroke play takes place over 54 holes, but within that comes a team element, presided over by a dozen captains. Players from these teams were selected at a draft night on Tuesday night. The top three teams will win prizes.

What is the prize money? The winner will receive $4m (£3.2m) in an individual $20m pot. The second wins $2.125 million and the third $1.5 million. The last place is worth $120,000. The winning team will pocket $3 million, split evenly among four, with $1.5 million and $500,000 offered for second and third respectively.

Why does he start at the Centurion Club in Hertfordshire? LIV faced the challenge of finding a UK venue capable of hosting a tournament with crowds but without links to the DP World Tour. Centurion once hosted the Aramco Team Series, a Ladies European Tour event with sponsor links to Saudi Arabia, but fell off the DP World Tour radar after the short-lived Golf Sixes competition.

A view of the 13th hole at the Centurion Club.
A view of the 13th hole at the Centurion Club. Photography: Joe Maher/LIV Golf/Getty Images

What is a player “resigns from a Tour” mean? Johnson and García have ended their relationship with the PGA Tour, so they will not be eligible to appear on this tour. Many believe this is a pre-emptive strike by players to avoid any punishment the PGA Tour may inflict for violating their rules through their involvement in the LIV series.

What is the effect of this on the majors and Ryder Cup? Major tournaments, including next week’s US Open, remain unchanged. In theory, Johnson is no longer eligible for the Ryder Cup because of his resignation. Golfers hope that those behind the biannual event will ultimately decide that it’s not worth negatively affecting their product – in terms of players and captains – by ostracizing LIV attendees.

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Why isn’t it shown on a recognized TV network in the UK? Sky has a close relationship with the PGA and DP World Tours and therefore would not touch it. Mainstream broadcasters in the UK have shown no recent interest in golf. Facebook and YouTube will offer streaming services instead.

What do traditional golf sponsors think? Some, like the Royal Bank of Canada and UPS, ended their relationships with golfers because of their participation in the LIV series. Equipment and apparel brands have stayed true to their men.

Will it be a success? No one really has a clue. The first signs are, if only because of the wealth available through the Saudi Public Investment Fund, that they will not go away quickly. Fascination surrounds whether players of a higher caliber can be coaxed towards the series. And if so, when. Without it, LIV would be considered a second-rate scene.