A quick, dot-point guide to understanding the LIV Golf shake-up of professional golf

The professional golf world has been turned upside down – here is a quick guide to understanding it all.

If you follow the world of professional golf closely, then you’ll probably be across this whole Saudi-backed LIV Golf thing and the recent turmoil that’s ensued.

But if you only have a partial interest or no interest at all in pro golf, you may now be wondering just what the hell is going on.

In the interest of TL:DR, and a personal understanding of what it means to have a short attention span, here is a quick dot point summary.

Perhaps a short summary is really all this deserves.

  • Background – The US PGA Tour (and the European Tour – now known as DP World Tour) have slowly duopolised professional golf. A year-long season, largely consisting of a 72-hole strokeplay event week after week. Golfers only get paid if they make the cut.
  • Decades ago, Greg Norman attempted to get a world tour off the ground – the PGA Tour squashed this idea.
  • Several new tours have been proposed; the Premier Golf League and the more recent LIV Golf Tour, which hired Greg Norman (after Jack Nicklaus turned them down) to front the organisation.
  • The LIV Golf Tour is largely funded by the same Saudi Arabian regime that has an atrocious record of human rights abuses. Eamon Lynch and Brandel Chamblee in particular has been scathing of this association.
  • But this Saudi Arabian regime has lots of money to throw at golf. Something many believe is a form of sportswashing: the practice of an individual, group, corporation, or government using sport to improve their tarnished reputation, through hosting a sporting event, the purchase or sponsorship of sporting teams, or by participation in the sport itself.

  • A bunch of famous golfers have taken some big money to join the new league – Phil Mickelson has reportedly been paid $200m, Dustin Johnson, $125m. Tiger Woods reportedly turned down a sum closer to 10-figures.
  • The PGA Tour golfers who have signed up for this new tour won’t be granted permission to play and so they are in breach of their PGA Tour contract – players like Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Louis Oosthuizen will face sanctions.
  • Pre-empting the sanction some players have resigned from the PGA Tour.
  • It looks like they’ll still be able to play in the majors as they aren’t run by the PGA Tour – it remains to be seen if they can play in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup.
  • The first LIV Golf event in London has begun – it can be viewed on their website or YouTube.
  • It’s a small 48-man field. Shotgun start. Three rounds.
  • And they’ve also been drafted into four-man teams – daily rounds contribute to team scores.
  • Some of the team names include Cleeks, Majesticks, HI Flyers and 4 Aces.
  • It appears LIV Golf Greg Norman and Phil Mickelson have banned a reporter (who co-wrote a book with Mickelson) from asking questions.
  • As of Friday morning, the LIV Golf website has just added a leaderboard.
    Charl Schwartzel is leading. So are the Stingers.
  • There are more LIV Golf tournaments planned. One for Portland in the US in a few weeks. Bryson DeChambeau, Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson have been rumoured to be making the jump.

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