£336 million – that’s how much will be up for grabs on the breakaway LIV Golf Tour during their recently announced 2023 campaign.
It would be difficult to work out the hourly rate that the 48 players will earn, but the itinerary will feature just 14 tournaments – playing less golf, and making more, was at the top of the agenda for all the rebels that have left the PGA and DP World Tours behind.
LIV chief Greg Norman has confirmed that the schedule won’t conflict with any of the sport’s four majors or the Ryder Cup in Rome, although it remains to be seen if his players will be allowed to participate in the latter anyway after Team Europe captain Henrik Stenson was unceremoniously dumped from the role after switching to the Saudi-funded tour.
It is thought, however, that the LIV rebels will be allowed to compete in at least three of next year’s majors – the Masters, Open Championship and US Open, as they are governed by a body separate from the PGA, who have been firm in their stance on banning those who have gone off to seek the Saudi dollar. It’s possible, therefore, that none of the LIV Tour players will be welcomed to the PGA Championship.
Norman was looking forward to bringing ‘new energy and excitement’ for golf fans, and hoped they would ‘connect’ with the team-based format. The Aussie also said:
“LIV Golf’s expanding global platform will add a new dimension to the golf ecosystem as we know it, one that provides an opportunity for players and fans around the world to help maximise our beloved sport’s true potential.”
LIV-ing the Dream
The latest sign-ups to the expanded LIV Tour are Jason Kokrak, Charles Howell III and Paul Casey, the Brit who once refused to play in the Saudi International tournament because it went against his moral ideals.
That trio will be part of LIV’s 2023 edition, the money-spinning campaign that will include tournaments in Europe, North America, Asia, the Middle East and Australia – although no official dates have been revealed as yet.
Organisers are persisting with the team-based format, and so 12 teams of four will compete for personal and group riches in 54 hole events that will have no cut and take place over three days – as opposed to the 72 hole, four day format traditionally used at the top-end of golf.
At the end of the season, the best teams will qualify for the Team World Championship, where a mind-boggling $50 million (£41 million) will be awarded to the winning side – the richest prize in golf, by some margin.
The inaugural LIV Tour campaign is now well underway, and this week the third tournament of the season will be played at the Donald Trump owned Bedminster Course in New Jersey.
The former U.S. president, who had a notoriously chummy relationship with the Saudi royal family while in the White House, is inextricably linked to LIV golf – another of his venues, Trump Doral in Miami, will host the tour’s swansong in October.