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Players who have left the PGA Tour to compete in the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf Series are listed below.

The highly contentious LIV Invitational Series, which is sponsored by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, is underway, with a slew of golf’s biggest names on the roster.

Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, and a slew of other high-profile golfers have already expressed interest in LIV Golf’s financial package, with more high-profile names expected to follow suit.

Mickelson is said to have been paid $200 million (£159 million) just to show up, while Johnson, the highest-ranked player to have joined so far, is said to have been paid $150 million (£119 million). Johnson announced his departure from the PGA Tour in order to focus entirely on the new tournament, which is being spearheaded by former World No. 1 Greg Norman, but the PGA has since suspended all players who have made the switch.

Aside from the astronomical signing-on fees, the prize pool is enormous. The prize pool for the eight-event series is $25 million (£19.9 million), with the winner taking home $4 million (£3.2 million) and the loser earning $120,000 (£95,000.)

In addition, the format differs significantly from traditional majors. For starters, instead of 72 holes, there are 54 holes – “LIV” is 54 in Roman numerals – a “shotgun” start, in which all players tee off at the same time, and golfers are divided into four-person teams. Johnson leads the “4 Aces,” Mickelson the “Hy Flyers,” and Poulter and Westwood the “Majesticks.”

The first tournament will take place in England, followed by tournaments in Portland, Bedminster, Boston, Chicago, Bangkok, Jeddah, and Miami.

Players have been asked about’sportswashing’ and whether Saudi Arabia is trying to divert attention away from its human rights record by heavily investing in the sport in the run-up to the tournament. Prior to this week, Mickelson had called the Saudis “scary m____f___ers.”

He stated, “I do not condone any human rights violations.” “I’m well aware of what happened to Jamal Khashoggi, and I believe it to be a terrible situation.” I’ve also witnessed the positive impact that golf has had throughout history, and I believe LIV Golf will have a similar impact.”

PGA Tour suspend LIV Golf participants

Those who have participated in or plan to participate in the LIV Golf Series will no longer be eligible to compete in PGA Tour events.

Members of the PGA Tour who compete on the breakaway tour have been suspended, with Johnson, Garcia, and Westwood among those who have already given up their membership, according to a statement released on June 9th.

“These players have made their choice for their own financial-based reasons,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said of those yet to resign.

“However, they aren’t entitled to the same PGA Tour membership benefits, considerations, opportunities, or platform as you.” The expectation is a disservice to you, our fans, and our business partners.”

The PGA Tour’s move, according to LIV Golf, is “vindictive” and “deepens the divide between the Tour and its members.”

“It’s troubling that the Tour, which exists to provide opportunities for golfers to play the game, is the entity that is preventing golfers from doing so,” LIV Golf added.

“This is by no means the end of the discussion.” We are excited to welcome a full field of players to join us in London and beyond as the era of free agency begins.”

In response to questions about the country’s human rights record, Graeme McDowell said, “We’re not politicians, we’re professional golfers,” while Talor Gooch said, “I’m a golfer, I’m not that smart.” When asked if they would have played in a tournament organized by Vladimir Putin or in South Africa during Apartheid, both Poulter and Westwood said they would not answer “hypothetical questions.”

Bryson DeChambeau, the former US Open winner, is the latest big name to join the breakaway competition, and will compete in the second event in Portland. According to reports, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, and Bubba Watson may be the next to sign.

Here are all the players to have signed up so far:

The LIV Invitational is morally bankrupt and will do nothing to resurrect golf.

By Matt Butler

LIV is an ingenious name. The players in this new incarnation of golf, which will begin in the exotic locale of Hemel Hempstead, will play 54 holes in Roman numerals. Isn’t it interesting?

Of course, a new sporting franchise backed by inexhaustible petrodollars is expected to be innovative in its branding.

However, the arrival of a newcomer signals that golf is in desperate need of attention. Whether that love comes from a despotic regime with a poor human rights record is something Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Lee Westwood, and, err, James Piot will ponder as they chase a ball around a course for a 20 million dollar prize pool.

Even if the reason why players joined appears to be all about the money, the concept of a quickfire bunch of tournaments with a set season and eight-figure sums of money riding on each one sounds intriguing – even if the Saudi regime behind Jamal Khashoggi’s killers providing the lipstick and mascara to the game seems icky. Money as a motivator is nothing new, especially in golf.

Everyone tees off at the same time, according to the rules. Given the paymasters, it’s referred to as a shotgun start, which sounds a little violent, but I suppose a bonesaw start would be too much. Individual members compete in a strokeplay competition as well as twelve teams of four competing in a match-play format. There isn’t a single cut that should be overlooked. So far, the experience has been mildly entertaining.

However, toe-curlingly twee “Camden Market-style” stalls, a Craig David and Jessie J concert, and Sporty Spice on the decks after the match do not appear to be much of a response to the organisers’ promise to “supercharge” golf.

Read the full article here

Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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