Golf is a sport that doesn’t always get featured a ton when it comes to sports news, but that hasn’t been the case over the last few months. Of course the PGA Tour events will always draw some attention, but another developing story has some on edge as well.
The LIV Golf Invitational Series is set to begin play in June, and some more information has been leaked over the last few weeks. Greg Norman is the man responsible for putting this event on, and he continues to get commitments from some of the best golfers in the world.
Lee Westwood is the latest golfer to confirm that he has requested to be released from both the PGA Tour and the DP Tour in order to play in the first LIV Golf Invitational event. The first event will take place from June 9-11 in London and it conflicts with a tournament date for the PGA Tour.
Westwood is a former number 1 golfer in the World, and is one of the biggest names expected to appear in this new event. The PGA Tour has the ability to deny a release and force Westwood to skip the new tournament.
Not only is Westwood looking for a release from the PGA Tour, but he could also be giving up a career in the Ryder Cup. The 2023 Ryder Cup is set to take place in Rome, and Westwood was reportedly going to be considered as the European team captain.
Westwood could still end up competing in the Ryder Cup, but that will be a decision that is made with the European team. The European team has consistently featured Westwood as he has appeared for that team 11 different times over his career.
Mickelson Comments Hurt the Event
This event looked like it was going to become a real rival to the PGA Tour before events from Phil Mickelson slowed down the progress. Excerpts from an upcoming book included comments from Mickelson about the Saudi Arabian government, which will be funding the LIV Golf Invitational Series.
The Saudi Arabian government has been criticized for its harsh and inhumane treatment of certain individuals, and Mickelson received plenty of backlash for those comments. “Lefty” was planning to become a key member of the LIV Golf Invitational Series, and he is still expected to play.
Norman acknowledged that he has received registration from over 200 different golfers, including several players in the top 100. Some players backed out after the comments from Mickelson, but more are expected to sign back up.
Robert Garrigus has also publicly announced that he will be playing in this event, and others are expected to announce in the coming weeks. Westwood discussed the role of Saudi Arabia backing the event, and highlighted the fact that other events have been held in that country with no issues.
This event was supposed to have a big announcement back in February, but Norman was forced to pivot and shift after receiving criticism from the Mickelson comments. The inaugural season will now be much shorter than expected, but it is still going to put a ton of pressure on the PGA Tour.
Details of LIV Golf Invitational Series
The first event set to take place in London will feature a 48-golfer field, and those golfers will be split up into four 12-man teams. Teams will play 54 holes over the weekend, and there won’t be a cut for any of the events.
This new format should add some more drama and excitement to the sport of golf, but there is a big reason that most of the top golfers have agreed to participate. There will be a $25 million purse at all of the LIV Invitational events and first $20 million will go to the top golfers.
The total prize pool that is guaranteed this season is $255 million, and a large chunk of that will go to the best individual golfers. There will also be $50 million available at the final event of the season, which will be a team competition at Trump National Doral Golf Course in Miami.