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2023 LIV Golf Mayakoba Preview, Picks & Analysis

By: | Mon 20 Feb 2023

AND here we go again. The new LIV Golf season kicks off this week at El Camaleón Golf Course at Mayakoba in Mexico with all the usual suspects once again competing for vast sums of money.

It is the start of an expanded season, with 14 tournaments being played in 2023

We were told to expect more high-profile defections and it looks like Thomas Pieters, Danny Lee and Brendan Steele are the latest to make the move. Pieters’ defection will be a serious blow for European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald.

Obviously, there is still going to be a strong field but it is interesting to get LIV’s take on their players. They describe Abraham Ancer and Carlos Ortiz as legends. Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tiger Woods might have something to say about that.

Thomas Pieters

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

And while the rest of the golf world focuses on the enthralling race for world number one between Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm, each and every one of these 14 tournaments will be all about who is going to collect a $4m cheque for winning a 54-hole tournament with no cut and a restricted field.

The big winner in 2022 was Dustin Johnson, although that may not have been the case had Cameron Smith made the move earlier in the year. Johnson picked up around $35m in 2022 - almost half of his entire career earnings on the PGA Tour. 

Smith won on his second LIV Golf start and then added the Australian PGA Championship, but finished well down the field at the Australian Open and missed the cut at the recent Saudi International - perhaps a lack of proper competitive action is starting to catch up with him.

There is every reason to believe that Johnson and Smith will be the dominant players once again in 2023, bu there have also been recent signs that Sergio Garcia is beginning to put his woes behind him and focus on his golf rather than of-the-course controversy. 

Who Exactly is Watching LIV Golf?

There is, of course, also a team element, with LIV’s 48 players split into 12 teams of four. Greg Norman, LIV’s chief executive, said: There is excitement for team golf and for the league’s innovations that are challenging the norm in the sport. Our diversity in teams that feature elite skillsets and unique personalities will help build new rivalries and fresh ways to watch professional golf as the sport enters a new era.”

Hmmm…there is certainly excitement for the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup and Solheim Cup, three long-established events that attract huge global audiences. But I do winder if anybody cares one iota about LIV’s team element. Speaking for myself, I simply don’t get it.

Form Guide

Cameron Smith has not made a great start to 2023 but he is a world-class golfer. However, the man they will all have to beat is surely going to be Dustin Johnson, who is enjoying some of the very best form of his life.

The Course

El Camaleón Golf Course, a 620-acre luxury resort nestled amid lagoons, jungle, and tranquil oceanfront of Mexico’s Riviera Maya. It was designed by Greg Norman and measures 7,035 yards. 

To Win:

Dustin Johnson. Hoping to carry on from last year

Each Way:

Cameron Smith. World-class golfer

Each Way:

Sergio Garcia. Playing some decent golf again

Five to Follow:

Dustin Johnson. Has no weaknesses

Cameron Smith. Wondrous short game

Sergio Garcia. Time to focus on what he does best - playing golf 

Ian Poulter. Showed some good form at the Dubai Desert Classic

Patrick Reed. Hard to ignore

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What do you think? post your thoughts and feedback on the Golfshake Forum: https://forum.golfshake.com/

Tags: LIV Golf

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