LIV Golf League makes several key changes to format, prize money for 2024 season

PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico — Changes are afoot for LIV Golf.

Now in its second year (third unofficially if you include the eight-event invitational series), the 14-event global league led by Greg Norman and financially supported by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund will still feature 54 holes, shotgun starts and hundreds of millions of dollars in prize money in 2024. But this year, there’s a twist.

A 13th team – Legion XIII – captained by world No. 3 Jon Rahm with new players like Tyrrell Hatton and 19-year-old Caleb Surratt will debut this week at the season opener at Mayakoba’s El Camaleon Golf Course in Mexico, and so will various new elements to the league’s format.

“The competition updates for 2024 reflect a natural evolution of the LIV Golf League format and illustrate our commitment to further enhancing an exciting product for the players and the fans,” said LIV Golf SVP of Competition Management David Benne. “League leadership will continue to work with our world-class players and teams to strengthen LIV Golf competition as we move the sport into the future.”

From an increased field size to tweaks in the final round scoring and prize money distribution, check out all the changes in store for LIV Golf in 2024.

Counting scores

Bubba Watson plays his shot from the eighth tee during the final round of the LIV Golf Miami golf tournament at Trump National Doral. (Photo: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports)
Bubba Watson plays his shot from the eighth tee during the final round of the LIV Golf Miami golf tournament at Trump National Doral. (Photo: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports)

This is the big one: no players will be able to hide on Sunday. Just like the last two years, each team’s top three scores will count for the first two rounds, and the worst score will be dropped. However, come the final round, all four player scores will count for each team in the final round of each event. It’s a simple tweak that will surely make the final round all the more interesting with increased pressure to perform.

Team championship field

Kevin Na
Captain Kevin Na of Iron Heads GC hits his shot from the fifth tee during day one of the LIV Golf Invitational – Bedminster at Trump National Golf Club on August 11, 2023 in Bedminster, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Speaking of pressure, not every team will advance to the lucrative season-ending team championship. The top 12 teams following the final regular season event of the year will be seeded based on their point total for the year, but the team that finishes in 13th place will not compete (but will still attend).

Field size

The inclusion of the 13th team put LIV in a bind with its threesome tee times. This year, the league will debut two wild card players at each event to increase the field size to 54 players, up from 48 the last two years. Laurie Canter will play as an individual for the first two events in Mayakoba and Las Vegas, while Hudson Swafford will be a full-season individual participant as he returns from a season-ending surgery that kept him on the sidelines for 2023.

LIV is still working out whether Canter will be a full-time individual or other players will take the spot or rotate in for the season. It’s been rumored online that Anthony Kim may join the fray at the third event in Saudi Arabia, March 1-3, but LIV officials said there is no update on that front as of this week.

Season-long individual standings

2023 LIV Golf Promotions
Qualifiers Jinichiro Kozuma of Japan, Kalle Samooja of Finland and Kieran Vincent of Zimbabwe pose with their medals after the final round of the 2023 LIV Golf Promotions at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club. (Photo: Montana Pritchard/LIV Golf)

Similar to last year, players who finish 1-24 (Lock Zone) in the season-long points standings will be guaranteed a spot on a team for the 2025 season. The Open Zone (Nos. 25-48) and Drop Zone (49 and lower) have been tweaked due to the increased field size. In case you’re unfamiliar, players in the Open Zone will either need to be re-signed by their current team or be picked up or traded to another team. Those in the Drop Zone will be relegated from the league and will head to the 2024 LIV Golf Promotions tournament to try to play their way back into a spot.

It’s important to note that captains or players with years remaining on their contract are exempt from relegation. For example, Lee Westwood, one of three captains on the Majesticks, and Martin Kaymer, the Cleeks captain, finished in last year’s Drop Zone, but due to their captaincies they have both returned for 2024.

Individual points and prize money

2023 LIV Golf Andalucia
Talor Gooch celebrates after winning the 2023 LIV Golf Andalucia at Real Club Valderrama in Cadiz, Spain. (Photo: Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

The top 24 finishers at each event will still earn individual points. The change, however, will come with ties. Points from players finishing with the same score will be added up and distributed evenly, similar to how prize money is distributed with ties on the PGA Tour. Tiebreakers were used in the first two years, but will only be in effect to determine podium positions for the top-three positions.

Prize money payouts were slightly adjusted to account for the additional six players in the field, but whomever finishes last will still take home $120,000.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek