How to watch on TV, program details and players involved
Rory McIlroy says the PGA Tour and DP World Tour should talk to the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series as growing tension between the tours is “splitting the game”.
Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson are among the top players to join the breakaway series, which has resulted in suspensions and fines from the US and European tours.
McIlroy, a four-time major winner, was one of the most vocal critics on the breakaway circuit but said now was the time to find common ground.
“It has to happen,” McIlroy said when asked if peace talks should take place. “I wish it hadn’t been so messy…Looking back, there were probably some missed steps that wouldn’t have made things so messy.
“Everyone has to pivot and change and try to be better and hopefully get to that point, but… not the whole narrative is good. It divides the game instead of everyone coming together.”
Which players have signed up?
Brooks Koepka became one of the most prominent recruits in the Saudi rebel circuit and he participated in the first event of the LIV series on American soil.
The four-time Major winner joined his brother Chase on Greg Norman’s breakaway tour and made his LIV debut in Portland, Oregon. Koepka’s change is another blow to the USA Ryder Cup squad, which will face five members of the 2018 squad and three from 2021 who were deemed ineligible for next year’s match in Rome.
Dustin Johnson, another former world number 1, has signed for an upfront fee of £120m ($150m) and Koepka will also have ordered a seven-figure fee. He takes his place alongside not only Johnson, but also Phil Mickelson, Sergio García, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Abraham Ancer, who was unveiled as a catch.
Where are the eight LIV Golf events?
The breakaway circuit began at the Centurion Club in Hertfordshire, with the second event held in Portland, Oregon. There are now two more stops in the United States, before events in Bangkok and Saudi Arabia, then the tour concludes at Trump Doral in Miami at the end of October.
What is the format?
The 48-man field will play on 12 four-man teams, which was determined by a draft.
The first seven events of the regular season will consist of three 54-hole events, with no cut starts or shotguns, while the final event will be a four-day match play knockout.
LIV then plans 10 events in 2023 followed by “a full season” of 14 tournaments in 2024 and 2025.
Centurion, like the other seven events in 2022, are classified by general manager Greg Norman as “baiting tournaments”, aimed at attracting the big names who have so far resisted circuit openings.
What is the prize money?
LIV Golf says the total prize pool for its eight events will “reach an unprecedented $255m” (£204m).
The first seven regular season events will have a prize pool of $25m (£20m), with the individual winner receiving $4m (£3.2m), with the final runner-up taking home $120,000 ( £96,000) and a team event giving away $5. m (£4 million).
In the eighth season-ending event, the teams will compete for a share of $50m (£40m) in prize money.
How to watch
Coverage is being streamed on the organization’s website as well as YouTube and Facebook, with Arlo White anchoring a three-person broadcast booth.
Why is this controversial?
The Saudi-backed tour is on a collision course with the two major tours – the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour – which have refused to allow players to participate in rebel events.
Ian Poulter has successfully challenged the DP Tour ban, meaning he has been controversially reinstated at the Scottish Open, but further legal proceedings are expected to come.
LIV chief executive Norman has also come under fire for leading the dissident circuit, with its Saudi investors accused of “sportswashing” the country’s poor human rights record.
However, Norman said LIV Golf was “independent” and that the Saudis were “not my bosses”. The Australian told Sky Sports: “We [LIV Golf] are independent. I do not respond to Saudi Arabia. I can tell you categorically that is not the case. I’m not responding to MBS.”
What are the latest news ?
Tiger Woods reiterated his opposition to the Saudi-backed breakaway and wondered if his young recruits could ever compete in the majors.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the 150th Open Championship, Woods said he supported the R&A’s decision not to invite two-time winner Norman to the Champions Dinner at St Andrews because of his role as CEO by LIV Golf.
And the 15-time major winner said he doesn’t understand why Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka “turned their backs” on the PGA Tour to join LIV Golf’s 48-player, 54-hole event series.
“Greg has done things that I don’t think are in the best interest of our game, and we’re probably going back to the most historic and traditional place in our sport. I think that’s the right thing.” , Woods said.
Asked to explain what he meant, Woods added: “I know what the PGA Tour stands for and what we’ve done and what the Tour has given us, the ability to pursue our careers and earn what we we get and the trophies we got to play and the story that went into this game.
“I know Greg tried to do it in the early 90s. It didn’t work then, and he’s trying to make it work now. I disagree. I think what what they did was they turned their back on what allowed them to get to this position.”
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