Saudi Arabia-Supported LIV Golf League: Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood top list of top 100 golfers set to play in London

Professional golf is at a crossroads and not everyone is aware of it. Rival golf leagues like McDonald’s are popping up on every corner, golfers are rumored to be taking their talents to greener pastures – money-wise – and it’s difficult for the casual golf fan to keep track of exactly what’s going on.

The PGA Tour and DP World Tour (formerly known as the European Tour) still have the services of the best players in the world – all independent contractors – but now those players have options in the form of LIV Golf and, technically, Premier Golf League.

Since the Genesis Invitational, when Phil Mickelson’s controversial comments about the Saudi Arabian regime funding the league were released, the bond surrounding LIV Golf has been uncovered. The six-time major champion has been in hot water for almost three months over his integral role in the Saudi-backed golf series. In late April, Steve Loy, Mickelson’s agent, confirmed Lefty’s registration for LIV Golf’s first event.

Slowly but surely, other players are following in Mickelson’s footsteps. There have been official announcements from Robert Garrigus, Lee Westwood, and Richard Bland, as well as unofficial claims from the likes of Sergio Garcia, Jason Kokrak, and Adam Scott. Kevin Na, Bubba Watson, Louis Oosthuizen, Ian Poulter and former world No. 1 Martin Kaymer have all been linked to LIV Golf through various reports.

On Tuesday said Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf Sky Sports that 19 of the world’s top 100 players, six of whom are in the top 50, have committed to play next month’s inaugural tournament in London. While the names have yet to officially emerge, LIV Golf plans to reveal them to the public during the PGA Championship next week.

What is LIV Golf?

Currently directed by Norman, LIV Golf is putting together a series of eight tournaments starting this summer with some seriously outrageous prize money ($20 million in individual prizes plus a $5 million team payout). Those payouts are funded by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, which Norman said has just committed an additional $2 billion, and this eight-event series is seen as a precursor to a full-fledged year-long league. The goal is to expand to 10 tournaments in 2023 and 14 tournaments in the following two years. The whole thing is a bit chaotic, especially with Distribution not running smoothly and ticket prices absolutely skyrocket.

WHO could play and when?

A few names are mentioned above, but who else is eligible? The PGA Tour allows players to play up to three “releases” per season on different worldwide tours. The Saudi International in February is an example of an event that is given clearances as it was part of the Asia tour. Some sort of quid pro quo was arranged with the PGA Tour for those who chose to participate. Players who have decided to play had to agree to play in a future AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am on the PGA Tour since the event was taking place that same week.

There are eight LIV golf events in total in 2022, and the PGA Tour is unlikely to grant all releases (the DP World Tour might take a different stance). Additionally, the PGA Tour does not grant exceptions to tournaments in other leagues played on North American soil when they coincide with PGA Tour weeks, which could be the case for up to five of the eight LIV golf tournaments. This means that a battle between the leagues may not take place on the golf course, but rather in a courtroom.

In addition, Norman will invite several top amateurs to join the 48-player fields.

The deadline for players to submit their applications for the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series event in London was April 25, with the PGA Tour scheduled to make a decision on May 10. According to reports, there were a total of 170 registrations to play. There will be a lot of fuss over those cleared for the June 9-11 London event, but the PGA Tour is likely to give many players time off for this event.

The more important point of contention concerns the second LIV Golf event in Portland on July 1-3. The final three rounds of the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic are scheduled for the same dates, and those who don’t attend may have a bigger storyline than who is in the race.

LIV Golf participant list*


Events: 9th-11th June
Location: Centurion Club – London, England

Phil Mickelson

Lee Westwood

Martin Kaymer

Sergio Garcia

Robert Garrigus

Richard Bland Saudi Arabia-Supported LIV Golf League: Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood top list of top 100 golfers set to play in London

Justin Scacco

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