LIV Tournament: Everything you need to know about the golf competition in Hemel Hempstead

The world’s most lucrative and possibly controversial golf tournament kicks off in Hemel Hempstead today.

Thursday, 9th June 2022, 5:04 pm
Two-time major winner and former world number one Greg Norman is fronting the tour.
Two-time major winner and former world number one Greg Norman is fronting the tour.

The 2022 LIV Golf Invitational starts today (June 9) and the competition has gained attention from its controversy.

What is LIV?

The 2022 LIV Golf Invitational is an eight-event series that starts in Hemel Hempstead and heads to the USA, South East Asia, Middle East and finishes in Miami.

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The Roman numerals (LIV) correspond to the three-day 54-hole format of the first seven of the eight events scheduled for this year.

The Saudi-backed start-up organisation is fronted by the two-time major winner and former world number one Greg Norman.

The 67-year-old Australian is also the chief executive of LIV Golf Investments.

The organisation’s first-ever tour is being held at the Centurion Club in Hemel Hempstead this week before going across the globe.

On each day of the tour, players will tee off on different holes at the same time in what is called a 'shotgun start'.

Who is competing?

The tour includes 12 teams, each with a star-studded group of golfers.

World Golf Hall of Famer, Phil Mickelson has joined the tour.

The American won his sixth major at the 2021 US PGA Championship and became the oldest major champion at the age of 50.

Current world number 15 and two-time major champion Dustin Johnson is said to be the highest-ranked player in the 48-man field.

The next highest is the word number 21 Louis Oosthuizen from South Africa.

Players from the European Ryder Cup team have also joined LIV with England's Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell and Spain's Sergio Garcia joining in with the tour.

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Why is it so controversial?

The tour is causing controversy for two different reasons.

The first is that the source of funding for LIV Golf Investments is coming from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the chairman of Saudi Arabia's PIF, who was said to be complicit in the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Last February, a declassified US intelligence report released these allegations which Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has denied.

The PIF is said to also provide money for sporting events like Formula 1, boxing and football.

The second reason why the tour is shrouded in controversy is the effect that it may have on the status quo of gold.

The PGA Tour has refused to allow its members waivers to let them play in the LIV tour. It had also threatened to ban players who do take part, but no official sanctions have been given out yet.

Players including Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and Kevin Na have cancelled their PGA Tour membership.

The DP World Tour, a Europe-based golf tournament, has not announced sanctions yet, but it is expected both tours are waiting for the players to tee off today before stating their decisions.

How much money is up for grabs?

Each of the seven tournaments in this series will also have a prize pool of $25 million, making each leg of the series more profitable than the wealthiest PGA Tour event.

The winner of each event will take home $4m, with the player in last place winning $120,000.

$5m will also be split between the top three in the team competition.