Greg Norman’s Saudi Arabia-backed golf operation has announced a new series of big money tournaments that will begin at the Centurion Club in England with a $25m event this June.
The series will include eight 54-hole events across Europe, America and Asia. They will comprise a team element with the series worth a total of $255m from an overall investment of $400m.
No players have been announced for the LIV Golf International Series, but it is being regarded as the first incarnation of the proposed breakaway Super League.
“In year one, there will be a max of 48 players on 12 four-man teams and a truly global field with golfers invited from all tours around the world to beta test the new format,” said a statement from the organisers. “Each event will have teams comprised of different players determined by a draft the week of the event.”
Norman, chief executive of LIV Golf Investments, said: “Our events are truly additive to the world of golf. We have done our best to create a schedule that allows players to play elsewhere, while still participating in our events. I believe players will increasingly make progress in achieving their right to play where they want. We will help in any way possible and will provide golfers with opportunities to achieve their full potential.”
The opening event will be staged at Centurion Club in Hertfordshire from 9-11 June – the week before the US Open and carries a prize fund that tops, by $5m, the record $20m purse at last week’s Players Championship at Sawgrass.
Further events will be held at Pumpkin Ridge in Oregon, USA (July 1-3); Trump National Golf Club, New Jersey (July 29-31); The International, Boston (Sept 2-4); Rich Harvest Farms, Chicago (Sept 16-18); Stonehill Golf Club, Bangkok (Oct 7-9), Royal Greens GC in Saudi Arabia (Oct 14-16) and a Team Championship at a yet to be decided venue (Oct 28-30).
The statement added: “Total prize purse for the eight events will reach an unprecedented $255m. The first seven regular season events will carry a total purse of $25m comprised of $20m in individual prizes (all players in the field earn a share) and $5m for the top three teams. Following the first seven events, an individual champion will be crowned offering a total purse of $30m for the top three individuals of the season. The season-ending eighth event will be a team championship that will provide $50m in total prize funds.”
The tournaments have no cut and will have a shotgun start with all competitors starting their rounds simultaneously.
Both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour have previously threatened lifetime bans on players who play in a breakaway league, but neither has issued a statement about the LIV Golf International Series and it remains to be seen how they will react to their members taking part in this series.
There are currently no details about which players have committed to the series, although it is understood that invitations are being sent out to at least 250 across the global tours.
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