The brand new golf tour started in London on Thursday, with followers flocking to the Centurion Membership north of London to observe among the sport’s greatest names on the opening ceremony.

However what’s the LIV Golf Sequence, the brand new enterprise that threatens to shake the sport’s basis to its core?

It is a new tour organized by LIV Golf Investments comprising eight occasions all over the world, which started in London on Thursday.

Fronted by former world No. 1 Greg Norman, the team-based collection runs from June to October, it says, “to assist unlock the video games general to enhance the well being {of professional} golf globally” (sic. ) untapped potential.”

It’s backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Funding Fund (PIF) – a sovereign wealth fund headed by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the person who US intelligence experiences mentioned was accountable for approving the operation that led to 2018 Occurred. Journalist Jamal Khashoggi murdered. Bin Salman has denied involvement in Khashoggi’s homicide.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a meeting with the US Secretary of State in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on September 18, 2019.

PIF has pledged to award $250 million in complete prize cash. Every of the primary seven occasions could have a complete prize cash of $25 million, with $20 million cut up between particular person gamers and the remaining $5 million cut up between the highest three groups every weekend.

Earlier than the primary occasion in London, 12 groups had been introduced, in addition to their captains. On Tuesday, captains chosen the remainder of their groups in a draft format just like the NFL and NBA drafts.

In contrast to regular {golfing} occasions, the London occasion takes place over three days, not 4, beginning with a 48-man area shotgun – all on the similar time – in hopes of being a extra participating, action-packed fashion occasion.

Competing within the conventional stroke play format, the bottom rating would be the winner.

Whereas within the first two rounds, the perfect two scores for every crew can be calculated, within the ultimate spherical, the perfect three scores can be calculated, with the bottom general crew rating after 54 holes being declared the crew winner.

For the ultimate occasion – ​​a crew championship – the format modifications to a four-round, match-play knockout match.

Greg Norman smiling on the first tee on the first day of the LIV Golf Series at Centurion Club.

Which golfers have signed up?

The attention-watering cash on provide has attracted a mixture of golfers of all ages, backgrounds and golf programs to join the opening ceremony in London for achievement.

Six-time main winner Phil Mickelson and former world No. 1 Dustin Johnson are amongst these to headline the occasion, whereas different main winners Sergio Garcia, Martin Kemmer, Graeme McDowell, Louis Osthuizen and Charl Schwartzel additionally participated.

Ryder Cup legends Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood had been additionally a part of the primary group to enroll, and the sector contains 18 gamers on this planet’s prime 100.

However, it additionally supplied a platform for different golfers who take their first steps within the sport, together with 15-year-old Ratchanan Chantanuwat from Thailand.
2020 US Open winner Bryson DeChambeau was the following blockbuster identify to enroll, including his identify to the listing of gamers to be included on Friday.

And in accordance with a number of experiences, 2018 Masters Champion Patrick Reed would be the subsequent huge identify to join the breakaway tour.

Johnson attends a press conference ahead of the LIV Golf Series event at Centurion Club.

Why is that this so controversial?

The LIV Golf Sequence hasn’t come with out its query mark.

Saudi Arabia’s PIF, the supply of the cash, has led to questions and criticism aimed toward organizers and gamers about selecting to play for cash from the nation given its human rights file.

The nation has been criticized for years by human rights teams. In March, Saudi Arabia executed 81 males within the largest mass execution in many years. Rights teams have criticized the nation for hanging individuals who had been minors on the time of the crimes for which they had been convicted.

One other means of controversy surrounding the league is the character of its departure from established rounds of golf.

The PGA Tour and DP World Tour – previously the European Tour – have lengthy been the place gamers have traded their means into {the golfing} calendar exterior of the 4 majors.

However, with financial and life stability points offering as excuse, the choice of a bunch of gamers who cut up to play within the LIV golf collection has met with a combined response from their fellow Tour members.

HY Flyers GC team members (from left) TK Chantannuwat of Thailand, Justin Harding of South Africa, Mickelson and the U.S.  Chaz Koepka poses for photographs during a press conference ahead of the LIV Golf Series event at Centurion Club.

What are gamers saying?

On the eve of the collection, the world’s most profitable golf competitors, rivals had been grilled by reporters at an usually tense press convention in St Albans, England.

Mickelson was the principle focus of consideration, primarily as a result of he is without doubt one of the sport’s greatest stars, but additionally as a result of it is going to be his first aggressive occasion since his controversial feedback about Saudi Arabia-funded occasions had been rebutted by his biographer earlier this yr. was revealed at first.

The six-time main winner was quoted from a 2021 interview with creator Alan Shipnk for his upcoming ebook, “Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unofficial!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colourful Celebrity”, saying that He’ll take into account becoming a member of the proposed. The Tremendous League as a result of it’s a “one-time alternative to reshape how the PGA Tour operates.”

Shipunk quoted Mickelson as saying outrageous issues about Saudi Arabia’s human rights file and saying the dominion killed journalist Khashoggi.

In his preliminary reply at Wednesday’s press convention, when requested in regards to the human rights file of the nation that supplied the funding for the enterprise, Mickelson was remorseful.

“I do not condone human rights violations in any respect,” he mentioned repeatedly.

Mickelson attends a press conference ahead of the LIV Golf Series event at Centurion Club.

Johnson – the very best ranked participant within the competitors at 15 on this planet – resigned his PGA Tour membership and mentioned on Tuesday: “I do not need to play for the remainder of my life, it provides me the chance to take action. What do I do? has a thoughts.”

Europe’s Ryder Cup legend Graeme McDowell was additionally requested about Khashoggi’s homicide throughout the press convention.

“We are able to all agree it was reprehensible. Nobody will argue this reality however we’re golfers. We aren’t politicians.

“If Saudi Arabia needs to make use of the sport of golf as a means for them to get the place they need to be, we’re proud to assist them on that journey, utilizing the sport and skills of golf to assist us develop. To do the sport.”

What about those that will not be collaborating?

The primary LIV occasion is going down on the Centurion Membership. He and the PGA Tour’s Canadian Open are being held virtually concurrently and that is the primary face-to-face showdown between the 2 excursions.

Centurion’s $25 million purse is nearly thrice greater than the Canadian Open’s $8.7 million. Rory McIlroy, who will defend his title in Canada, would be the quantity 8 participant on this planet.

“Any choice you make in your life that’s purely for cash often does not go down the appropriate monitor,” McIlroy mentioned on Wednesday, as reported by Reuters.

“Clearly, cash is a deciding consider a number of issues on this world, but when it is purely for cash, it is not, it by no means goes the best way you need it to.”

By way of star energy, the Canadian Open will simply outpace the Centurion line-up. Among the many headliners in Toronto can be world No. 1 Scotty Schaffler and PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas.

Thomas mentioned, “Folks have the appropriate to decide on what they need.” “I do not dislike DJ anymore. I do not assume he is a nasty buddy. I am not going to deal with him any otherwise.

“He’s entitled to decide on as he pleases.

“Now, I am disenchanted and I want he and the others hadn’t completed it, but it surely’s his choice.”

What does this imply for the way forward for golf?

It is unclear what this can imply for the way forward for golf, and the place gamers will need to commerce sooner or later.

Most of the gamers affected by the ban – Mickelson, Westwood and Poulter – are within the late phases of their careers, maybe downplaying the severity of the suspension.

A couple of gamers, together with Johnson, Garcia and Kevin Na, resigned from PGA Tour positions forward of the beginning of play on Thursday in London.

However for six-time main winner Mickelson, who has already achieved lifetime standing on the PGA Tour, it calls into query his long-term dedication to the tour. He mentioned in his press convention Wednesday earlier than the inaugural LIV Golf Sequence occasion that he does not need to hand over his lifetime membership of the PGA Tour, including: “I’ve earned that, and I am not planning on simply giving.” “

Johnson and Mickelson exit the first tee after playing their shots during the first round of the inaugural LIV Golf Series event at Centurion Club.

And for younger skills within the sport, the suspension presents a conundrum.

The PGA Tour is the main golf tour on this planet in the meanwhile, and is due to this fact seen as the top. Nonetheless, the brand new, huge cash tour affords a major incomes alternative for gamers from all over the world, particularly up-and-coming expertise.

Whether or not younger gamers determine to decide to the LIV golf collection, thereby ruining their possibilities of taking part in on the PGA Tour, or stick with the ‘conventional’ route and play on the PGA Tour and doubtlessly their incomes skills scale back?

The DP World Tour – the game’s present second largest tour – has but to announce any attainable sanctions on gamers. When contacted by CNN, it mentioned it “has no remark” on the LIV golf collection.

So far as the 4 golf majors are involved, the presence of gamers within the LIV golf collection has additionally hampered their participation in these gamers.

Though subsequent week’s US Open has mentioned gamers are free to play in the event that they qualify, a public choice is but to be made on subsequent month’s Open Championship in St Andrews.

Shortly after the announcement, LIV Golf issued a strongly worded response, calling the suspension “retaliatory”.

“Right this moment’s announcement by the PGA Tour is counterproductive and deepens the divide between the Tour and its members,” it mentioned.

“It is troubling that the Tour, a company devoted to creating alternatives for golfers to play the sport, is a company stopping golfers from taking part in. This definitely is not the final phrase on the topic. The period of free company has begun. As a result of we’re proud to have an entire area of gamers becoming a member of us in London and past.”

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