LIV Golf Announces Huge Expansion For 2023
GREG NORMAN told us that LIV Golf had a huge war chest. And he was not exaggerating.
The Australian has announced that his rebel league will feature 14 tournaments in 2023 boasting a mind-boggling total prize fund of £335m. And he insists that there will be no clashes with the Majors and the Ryder Cup.
The full schedule will be revealed at a later date but the Saudi-backed organisation’s footprint will expand to incorporate Europe, North America, the Middle East, Latin America and Australia.
There will, however, be no crossover with golf’s majors or what LIV deem ‘heritage’ tournaments such as the Players Championship and the Tour Championship.
Norman said: “LIV Golf is committed to making sustainable investments that grow the game now and for the future, and we are proud to turn these dreams into a reality.”
The 48 players will continue to be split into 12 teams of four for the 54-hole three-day tournaments which feature shotgun starts and no cut. Each team captain is tasked with gaining "the greatest fan following and sponsor interest" in a franchise model used by other sports.
"Each season will culminate in a Team World Championship match play grand finale," said Greg Norman, chief executive and commissioner of LIV Golf. This year's series finishes at Trump Doral in Miami in October with a $50m event - the richest prize fund for a single tournament.
Norman also said next year's events would not be staged on the weekends of the men's majors - The Open, US Open, Masters and US PGA Championship - or international team events, referring to the Ryder Cup which is next scheduled to be played in 2023, from Friday 29, September to Sunday, 1 October in Italy.
However, US players in the LIV Golf start-up will not be eligible to play in the Ryder Cup as things currently stand because the PGA Tour has suspended its members who have joined the fledgling series. US layers earn Ryder Cup qualifying points through PGA Tour events.
LIV, which is bankrolled by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, has lured American players such as Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka - who all played in last year's record win over Europe - with deals reportedly worth more than $100m each.
It is unclear what will happen to European golfers, although Henrik Stenson has been stripped of the captaincy after signing up to play LIV events. The DP World Tour has so far punished but not indefinitely banned LIV golfers.
Sergio Garcia says he is "going to hold off on" giving up his membership of the European-based DP World Tour to see if he could still play in the Ryder Cup. The 42-year-old is part of the breakaway LIV Golf series.
He recently said he planned to quit the DP World Tour but European players need to be a member of it to be eligible for the Ryder Cup.
"I want to at least see what's happening when Ryder Cup qualification starts,” Garcia told ESPN.
"See what kind of rules and eligibilities they have in there.
"If I agree with what they [are], I'll definitely keep playing whatever I can on the tour and try to qualify for that Ryder Cup team. And if not, then we'll move on. But it is definitely something that is in my mind."
"I told Keith Pelley [chief executive of the DP World Tour]: 'I want to keep being a member of the DP World Tour. I want to play my minimum, still support the tour, still have my eligibilities to make Ryder Cup teams,'" said Garcia.
"He said: 'That's great, but we got to do what's best for us. We'll see what that is.'"
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