Saudi-backed golf league to offer $255m in prize money

Last month, Rory McIlroy was one of the game’s many biggest stars who have pledged allegiance to the PGA Tour flag and waved to play in a proposed golf league led by Greg Norman and supported by Saudi Arabia.

“It’s dead in the water, in my opinion,” McIlroy said.

Not so fast.

Norman, aka the great white shark, reappeared on Tuesday by sending a letter to the players stating that the league backed by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund was not on its last breath. On Wednesday, Norman, the CEO and commissioner of Saudi-backed LIV Golf Investments, announced that the league that would rival the PGA Tour had some serious teeth.

Starting in June, the LIV Golf Invitational Series will begin and will feature eight events and consist of individual and team games with prize money reaching $255 million. The first tournament will take place June 9-11 at the Centurion Golf Club in London; the first seven events will have $20 million in prize money with an additional $5 million split among the top three teams each week.

After the first seven events are played, the top three in the individual format will split $30 million. The final event, October 28-30 at a location yet to be determined, will be a tag team championship with $50 million in prize money.

In the United States, Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Portland, Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey, The International in Boston and Rich Harvest Farms north of Chicago will host events.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said any player joining the league would be banned from the PGA Tour. Norman responded in a letter that the PGA Tour could not ban players. Litigation seems likely in the future.

Continued: Premier Golf League’s plan to partner with PGA Tour includes massive paydays and ownership stakes for Tour members

LIV Golf Investments, which has already invested $300 million over 10 years in the Asian Tour, is providing more than $400 million to launch the series.

The events will feature 48 players and 12 four-man teams. It will be 54 holes without cutting and shotgun tee times.

“I want golf to grow, players to have more opportunities and fans to have more fun,” Norman said in a statement. “My mission is to help the game reach its full potential and we know that golf’s role as an entertainment product is critical to overall participation in the sport.

“In many ways, we are a start-up. We have a long-term vision and aim to grow. I think we have a very bright and exciting future.”

The calendar will not compete with the big four championships or heritage events. Each event will have teams made up of different players determined by a draft the week of the event.

“Our events really add to the world of golf,” said Norman. “We have done our best to create a schedule that allows players to play elsewhere, while attending our events. I think players will make more and more progress in obtaining their right to play wherever they want. We will help in any way we can and provide opportunities for golfers to reach their full potential.”

Joel Schuchmann, senior vice president of communications for the PGA Tour, said: “As we have repeatedly said over the past few weeks, the PGA Tour has evolved.”

2022 LIV Golf Invitational Schedule

Dated Location

June 9-11

Centurion Golf Club – London

July 1-3

Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club – Portland

July 29-31

Trump National Golf Club Bedminster – New Jersey

September 2-4

The International – Boston

September 16-18

Rich Harvest Farms – Chicago

October 7-9

Stone Hill – Bangkok

October 14-16

Royal Greens Golf Club – Jeddah

October 28-30

Tag Team Championship – TBD

another league also spins in the waters. The Fire Pit Collective was the first to report that the Premier Golf League disclosed plans to the PGA Tour and certain players, including McIlroy, for a series of events that would partner with various tours. The format consists of 18 events, with 12 teams of four players competing in team and individual championships that run simultaneously throughout the season. The purses are said to be worth $20 million, with an additional $1 million for winners of the team event. A win-win prize of $20 million is also up for grabs for the winner of a season-ending tag team event.

The PGL also plans to allocate 100 million shares to players on the PGA Tour, Korn Ferry Tour and DP World Tour in a tiered system.

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