As more players continue to defect to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series, the PGA Tour is at a crossroads.
On the one hand, a memorable US Open Championship showed just how enticing major championships can be. But with a massive budget, LIV Golf is attracting a roster of golfers that could affect how professional golf is run for years to come. The LIV Golf Invitational Series will also continue with its first stop in the United States in late June, an event that could very well be a litmus test for national interest in the startup.
Still, due to allegations of human rights violations carried out by the Saudi regime, players who joined the LIV Golf tour continue to face ethical and moral questions about their participation.
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Here you will find everything you need to know about the latest in the LIV Golf Invitational series.
What is the LIV Golf Invitational Series?
LIV Golf is a Saudi Arabian-backed golf league that competes with the PGA Tour. Greg Norman was named executive director of the league. On June 19, Norman said that LIV Golf was applying to the Official World Golf Rankings to try to get their event counted for points, which would make it easier for players to qualify for major championships in the future.
Why is LIV Golf so controversial?
The Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth investment fund and one of the largest in the world, has backed and is financing LIV Golf Investments, the parent company of LIV Golf. As the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman is the head of the PIF. According to a declassified US intelligence report released in February 2021, Salman approved an operation “to capture or kill” Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi inside a Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018.
The Saudi government is accused of other human rights violations and has invested in Western sports opportunities in an apparent attempt to improve its image, a practice known as “sports laundering.”
Who are the latest players to join LIV Golf?
According to multiple reports, four-time major winner Brooks Koepka is the latest player to defect from the PGA Tour. Koepka is currently ranked 19th in the Official World Golf Ranking.
He joins the likes of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and others. According to other reports, Abraham Ancer, the 20th ranked golfer in the world, will also be joining LIV Golf.
Collin Morikawa, the world number 4 player, was a player who was rumored to be leaving the PGA Tour as well. On Tuesday, he ended speculation that he would join LIV Golf and reaffirmed his commitment to the PGA.
As the final round of the first LIV Golf Invitational was being played in early June, reports emerged that Bryson DeChambeau (30) and Patrick Reed (38) would also be joining LIV Golf, possibly as early as the second event in Portland, Oregon.
What has been the reaction to players leaving the PGA Tour to join LIV Golf?
Almost universally, players who have defected to LIV Golf have faced harsh criticism. Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and the most prominent players have been the focus of criticism.
Because the US Open was held June 16-19, which was the weekend after the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational, the USGA released a statement on June 7 saying it would not penalize any players invited to the US Open. who has played at the LIV Golf Invitational in London.
The PGA Tour, however, has threatened serious penalties for PGA Tour members who participate in LIV Golf Series events. The PGA Tour announced indefinite suspensions for at least 17 players who participated in the LIV Golf event, with more potentially to come. Some players, like Dustin Johnson, have given up their PGA Tour membership to join LIV. Others, like Phil Mickelson, have said they intend to play in major tournaments.
Hatice Cengiz, Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancée at the time of his murder, told USA TODAY Sports’ Josh Peter that players participating in the LIV Golf Invitational Series should be banned from competing in majors.
“If they continue and play as if everything is normal, then they should be banned from playing in major tournaments around the world,” Cengiz told USA TODAY Sports via email. “This will show that there are consequences to supporting killers, and it will show killers that they are not escaping justice.”
How did LIV Golf’s standout players fare at the recent US Open?
These are the final scores at the US Open in Brookline, Massachusetts of some of the big names who have agreed to join LIV Golf, reportedly either agreed to join or played at the LIV Golf Invitational in London.
Dustin Johnson: +4; tied for 24th
patrick cane: +10; tied for 49th
Brooks Koepka: +12; 55
Bryson De Cambeau: +13; tied for 56th
They missed the cut: Sergio García (+4); Gooch Talor (+5); Kevin Na (+5); Luis Oosthuizen (+6); Phil Mickelson (+11)
What happened at the first LIV Golf Invitational?
The first LIV Golf event was held June 9-11 at the Centurion Club in Hemel Hempstead, UK, which is about 25 miles north-west of London. Charl Schwartzel pulled off a one-shot victory over his Stingers teammate Hennie du Plessis to take home the $4 million first prize. With the Stingers also taking first place in the team competition, Schwartzel chipped in an additional $750,000 to bring his net winnings for the event to $4.75 million, making the London event the richest golf tournament in the history of golf. history.
“Honestly, I’m relieved,” said Schwartzel, who hadn’t won an event on either the PGA Tour or the European Tour since 2016. “…I’m proud and it’s a great feeling.”
When is the next LIV Golf Invitational?
The second event on the schedule will be the first American stop on the schedule. It will take place June 30-July 2 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Oregon, which is about 20 miles northwest of Portland.
What will be the game format of the first season of LIV Golf?
There will be six more regular season events in different cities on three continents: Portland, Oregon, Bedminster, New Jersey, Boston, Chicago, Bangkok, Jeddah. The season will culminate with a team championship in Florida at the Trump National Doral Miami course.
The first regular season event in London was held from June 9-11.
Each event will be a 54-hole, three-round, no-cut competition. The league will incorporate shotgun starts to speed up the game. A field of 48 people has been announced and players will be divided into teams of four.
The team championship will be a four-day, four-round event in which teams will be seeded into a playoff elimination bracket.