LIV Golf’s encore has new faces, TV deal, but same old bitter rivalry with PGA Tour

PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico — Dustin Johnson was among the many most distinguished gamers to signal with Saudi-funded LIV Golf and he made it repay by making $35.6 million in simply eight tournaments, together with an $18-million bonus for main the factors record and the workforce title.

Now comes the encore, and Johnson was requested if he felt strain to repeat.

“Yeah, I’m actually nervous,” he replied, seemingly sarcastically, maintaining with his status of not getting bothered by a lot in life and in golf.

The curiosity goes past Johnson and his 4Aces, a workforce that features Patrick Reed and Patrick Perez and now has Peter Uihlein, who completed third on the factors record.

The rival circuit begins its second season Friday with a tv associate — The CW Community in a revenue-sharing settlement — and some new faces.

It now’s billed as LIV Golf League, with an emphasis on the 12 four-man groups that may stay the same throughout a 14-tournament schedule that begins at Mayakoba, the Mexican golf resort that beforehand held a PGA Tour occasion.

“I like it as a result of we’re right here and the tour shouldn’t be — finish quote,” Perez stated.

The prize fund stays $20 million for medal play amongst 48 gamers, plus a $5 million purse paid out to the main three groups.

There was some minor shuffling. Uihlein went from Brooks Koepka’s workforce (Smash) to affix Johnson, whereas Koepka has added Matthew Wolff.

But LIV Golf hasn’t actually been ready so as to add extra top-ranked gamers in the course of the 4 months it was away. The largest addition was Thomas Pieters of Belgium at No. 35 on the planet. Pieters advised The Telegraph he solely determined to affix when Hudson Swafford grew to become sidelined for the yr with a hip damage.

Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson signed with LIV final yr whereas injured and makes his debut as captain of a workforce (RangeGoats) that features Pieters, Gooch and Harold Varner III.

Watson might be amongst seven gamers making their LIV debut on Friday when the 54-hole occasion begins on El Camaleon golf course.

5 gamers who competed in all seven particular person occasions final yr are not on the roster — Laurie Canter, former NCAA champion Turk Pettit, Shaun Norris, Wade Ormsby and Sadom Kaewkanjana.

A LIV official stated a number of gamers have been free brokers and didn’t have contracts, and so they have been changed. Ormsby was at Mayakoba as an alternate in case anybody grew to become injured.

LIV Golf didn’t have a tv associate for its inaugural season and signed an settlement in January with The CW. The opening spherical might be obtainable on the community’s app, with weekend protection on linear TV within the U.S.

It additionally has streaming on its web site for abroad viewers on an app (Liv Golf Plus) and an internet site ( LIV added its first company associate — an official advertising and marketing associate typical of different U.S. golf excursions — and a few groups have new logos.

For Johnson and Garcia, the attire might be barely totally different. Each gamers have ended longtime offers with Adidas Golf as it really works towards workforce uniforms.

“For me being the captain of the workforce, clearly with the ability to exit and discover a clothes sponsor is extra useful than ready one other yr,” Johnson stated Wednesday. “Hopefully, my garments get out of customs and I’ll have some stuff to put on by this weekend. But when not, I’ll be carrying some clean stuff.”

LIV Golf’s antitrust lawsuit in opposition to the PGA Tour continues to be within the discovery section, and a federal choose this week dominated that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund — which owns 93 per cent of LIV Golf — and the fund’s governor could be added as defendants within the PGA Tour’s countersuit. Any trial shouldn’t be anticipated till subsequent yr.

Mayakoba is the primary of three LIV occasions earlier than the Masters on April 6-9. LIV has 17 gamers who’re eligible for Augusta Nationwide.

Extra from Sportsnet

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LIV Golf will get one other setback in courtroom battle with PGA Tour

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