LIV Golf League
Golf, but louder. That is what LIV Golf League is telling us. Do we need to reimagine golf? Do we need louder golf? Golf began in the 15th century. Does it need a change? Like most things people love, some fans will continue to follow the PGA and others will be drawn to the LIV Golf League.
What is undeniable is that LIV Golf League has piqued the interest of many. Even though that interest is partly due to the recent controversy of several PGA Tour members playing in the inaugural LIV Golf League event. As a result, those players were sanctioned by the PGA Tour.
Whether it will become a true competitor of the PGA remains to be seen. Either way, LIV Golf League has created a rift in the world of golf, pitting tradition against a new, different way to play.
What is LIV Golf League?
Where did this other golf league come from? One-second LIV wasn’t there, and then suddenly *poof* LIV exists. That is a more accurate description of LIV and its origins. It really hasn’t been around all that long.
It all started when The Premier Golf League reached out to Saudi investors about investing in the Premier Golf League (the strategic alliance between PGA European Tour and the PGA Tour). The Saudi investors thought this was a great idea.
But instead of joining forces with the Premier Golf League, they went out on their own, forming a new entity, “Super Golf League,” in 2020. They formally launched LIV Golf Investments in 2021.
Fun Fact: What’s in a name? In the case of LIV, it’s everything. LIV is the Roman numeral for 54. And 54 is the lowest score you could shoot if you were to birdie every hole on a par-72 course.
A Brief Backstory
The CEO of LIV Golf is Greg Norman. A professional golfer turned entrepreneur, Greg Norman is intimately familiar with the PGA Tour. He won more than 90 tournaments worldwide and held the number one position in world rankings for 331 consecutive weeks.
In 1994 Greg Norman proposed a World Golf Tour that would be separate from the PGA Tour. Unfortunately, the world was not quite ready for that, and nothing came of it. Fast forward to 2019, when Saudi investors decided to create their own golf tours, they turned to Greg Norman to lead their fledgling league.
You will find some similarities between how LIV golf is structured and Greg Norman’s 1994 vision for a different way to play golf.
“We are doing things differently. With smaller fields, fewer rounds, a defined season, shorter playing windows, and shotgun starts, the format has been designed with fans as the #1 priority.”
LIV Golf – A Different Way to Play
Let’s dig deeper into LIV Golf League’s reimagining of the game of golf.
The league’s distinguishing characteristics are:
- Individual and team play
- 12 teams – with competitions lasting all seasons.
- 48 players – smaller fields equal to more massive action.
- 54 holes – just three rounds of tournament plays.
- 8 events – providing golf with a regular season
- No cuts – watch your favorite golfer’s competition with zero breaks.
The foundational difference between LIV Golf League and PGA Tour is a faster gameplay structure. With simultaneous individual and teams play events, LIV Golf has created shorter tournaments with smaller fields, three rounds in contrast to four, and just 48 competitors as opposed to the PGA Tour’s lineups, which may be three times larger.
Every round begins with a shotgun start, which means that competitors tee off from each hole on the course concurrently and then move around the course configuration from there because there is no cut midway via the competition to lop off the stragglers.
In many aspects, the LIV Golf individual tournament will resemble a standard golf competition with three rounds and the lowest score winning. However, in the team event, captains will select the participants into four-person squads competing in a different weekly tournament for prize money.
After reading about the differences between LIV and the PGA Tour, it seems similar to rugby versus American football. Rugby is a much faster-paced game with different rules than American football. Likewise, LIV is a faster-paced game with different rules than the PGA Tour. They are simply different.
Purses & Critics LIV Golf
LIV Golf League breaks with the traditional way of playing golf. That is true. It does. All one must do to understand how much is to read through the How It Works section on their website.
Other critics think that is an unseemly money grab.
How much money are we talking about? Well, quite a lot. Here is a breakdown of the purses:
- The overall purse for each regular-season event is $25 million, of which $20 million is set up for the individual event, and $5 million is divided among the teams.
- The winner receives $4 million at each round, and last place earns a guaranteed $120,000 prize.
- Additionally, there are the appearance costs and signing-on bonuses that each player has agreed to accept. For example, one of the highest-ranked golfers, Dustin Johnson, reportedly considered a $150 million offer, while Phil Mickelson allegedly received $200 million for participating.
- The top three teams will each receive a $5 million prize pool.
- Additionally, $50 million has been set aside for the Team Championship, with the Players Championship paying out $20 million.
- With $16 million going to the winning team and at least $1 million to the last-place team, that will be divided among the 12 four-person teams.
This purse structure makes the LIV Golf events the richest tournaments in golf history. That is true. How detrimental will that be for the PGA tour going forward? The support of the PGA Tour does not appear to wane, nor are the fans leaving in droves to attend LIV events.
Future of LIV Golf
The LIV Golf League is taking an unusual approach to golf and golf tournaments. LIV created the structure with smaller fields, fewer rounds, a distinct season, shorter playing periods, and shotgun starts. All of that to generate quicker play during events.
There is no doubt that LIV Golf League has the money to support this endeavor for several years. In 2023 they will increase their events to fourteen. Also, in 2023, the purse will increase by $150 million to $405 million.
It is perhaps safe to write that for this moment, and into the foreseeable future, LIV Golf League is here to stay. Only time will tell whether LIV Golf League has longevity. And if it lives up to what some are predicting, the future of golf.