2023 LIV Golf Tucson Preview, Picks & Analysis
The 2023 LIV Golf League continues with its second stop of the year at The Gallery Golf Club near Tucson, Arizona. It's an immaculately presented venue that is home to a pair of highly regarded modern courses; the North and the South; with the latter being the stage for this weekend's event coming more than 15 years after Henrik Stenson and Tiger Woods won the WGC Match Play on this fine layout.
Indeed, the Swede, a former Champion Golfer of the Year, will be returning to familiar territory as part of the assembled field.
Charles Howell III secured the individual title last month at Mayakoba, with Peter Uihlein and Branden Grace finishing in second and third place, giving themselves (and their teams) a strong platform to build on throughout the remainder of the schedule.
Naturally, with the Masters approaching, eyes will be on reigning Open champion Cameron Smith to see whether he can show glimpses of the stunning form that made him a standout force in 2022, while past winner at Augusta National, Dustin Johnson will also be considered among the favourites at the year's first major.
Both had a quiet start to the campaign in Mexico, but certainly possess the ability to compete with the likes of Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy once the game briefly unites down Magnolia Lane in April.
Returning to the present, it was Crushers GC (led by the brilliant victory of Howell III) who sit at the summit of the team leaderboard ahead of the all-American Four Aces GC.
The 12 teams and 48 individuals (see the complete group) are battling for their share of a prize fund over the season that is a whopping total of $405m.
(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)
The Gallery Golf Club's South Course measures 7,469 yards on the card, making it a stout challenge for the players and was designed by John Fought.
When it comes to the routing of the course, it's somewhat one-dimensional as the opening seven holes effectively run in a straight line - offering a consistency in wind direction - with the next three holes also following the same path as each other before there is some rotation on the back-nine ahead of the finish at the 18th.
Each of these tournaments present a massive opportunity for any of the players gathered, but it's surely time for Cameron Smith to ignite again following his absence from TPC Sawgrass when he didn't have the opportunity to defend his title. With the Masters nearing, it will be fascinating to see whether LIV's true major threats (Smith, Johnson, etc) can display their best form.
Experienced Englishman Paul Casey is comfortable in this part of the United States and will expect to contend, while collectively from a team perspective, the Joaquin Niemann captained Torque GC (featuring Sebastian Munoz, Mito Pereira and David Puig are ones to watch in Tucson.
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