LIV Golf offseason update: LIV Golf Draft, new team rumored for Jon Rahm and six open spots remain

LIV Golf made arguably its biggest signing to date last week with world No. 3 and two-time major champion Jon Rahm and then held its first-ever promotions event.

So, now what?

Of the 12 established teams in the league, six spots remain available and four teams have openings. Bubba Watson’s RangeGoats GC finished runner-up at the 2023 LIV Golf Team Championship, and then the two-time Masters champion blew up his squad with two of the three trades that have been made so far this offseason.

With less than two months until the first event of the 2024 season at LIV Golf Mayakoba (Feb. 2-4), here’s a look at what’s still to come during LIV’s offseason period.

LIV Golf Draft

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)

Now that the promotions event has passed – Kalle Samooja, Kieran Vincent and Jinichiro Kozuma earned spots for the 2024 season – the league will host the LIV Golf Draft, where Andy Ogletree, the winner of the Asian Tour’s International Series, and the three promoted players will be available for selection. Additional details on timing and format have yet to be released.

New teams?

2023 Northern Trust
Jon Rahm and Tony Finau on the 18th hole during the third round of the 2023 Northern Trust at Liberty National. (Photo: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)

During a Zoom call with reporters ahead of the announcement, I asked Jon Rahm if he would be taking over an already-established LIV team or if he would be starting a new squad.

“We’re just gonna have to wait and see,” said Rahm with a coy smile.

LIV loves its threesomes shotgun start format, meaning the league can only add three more teams at most. After Rahm signed, reports broke that Tony Finau and Tyrrell Hatton were in talks to join the Spaniard’s side.

Finau was asked about the reports at the Grant Thornton Invitational and said, “I have nothing to say right now. I haven’t heard anything.”

When asked if he had any response to his name floating around he said, “No, not yet. I haven’t let anything marinate other than just playing right now.”

4Aces GC

2023 LIV Golf Chicago
Pat Perez of 4Aces GC and Patrick Reed of 4Aces GC speak at a press conference during the practice round ahead of LIV Golf Chicago at the Rich Harvest Farms on Septe. 20, 2023 in Sugar Grove, Illinois. (Photo: Jon Ferrey/LIV Golf via AP)

Let’s start with the full teams. Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Pat Perez all return for the 2022 team champions, who added Harold Varner III in the offseason via a trade with RangeGoats GC for Peter Uihlein.

Crushers GC

2023 LIV Golf Team Championship
Charles Howell III of Crushers GC, Captain Bryson DeChambeau of Crushers GC, Anirban Lahiri of Crushers GC and Paul Casey of Crushers GC celebrate after winning the team championship on Day Three of the LIV Golf Invitational – Miami at Trump National Doral Miami on October 22, 2023 in Doral, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

Captain Bryson DeChambeau will return his full slate of players after the Crushers claimed the 2023 team championship. Anirban Lahiri was the squad’s only player with an expiring contract but accepted an extension earlier this offseason. Both Charles Howell III and Paul Casey remain under contract.

Fireballs GC

World Wide Technology Championship

Sergio Garcia’s squad had an open spot after Carlos Ortiz declined a contract extension, but the Mexican was traded to Torque GC, where he’ll join a team full of Latin American talent. In return, the Fireballs picked up David Puig who joins Eugenio Chacarra and Abraham Ancer.

Majesticks GC

2023 LIV Golf Team Championship
Co-captains Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood of Majesticks GC look on from the eighth fairway during Day One of the LIV Golf Invitational – Miami at Trump National Doral Miami on October 20, 2023 in Doral, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

Another full team returns, but should they? The trio of captains Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood are all back, same with Sam Horsfield. The Majesticks finished 11th out of 12 last season, just ahead of the last-place Iron Heads. Talk about a team in need of refreshment.

RangeGoats GC

LIV Golf
Bubba Watson of RangeGoats GC reacts to a missed putt on the 7th hole during Day Three of the LIV Golf Invitational – Tulsa at Cedar Ridge Country Club on May 14, 2023 in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)

What is Bubba Watson doing to his team? The RangeGoats finished runner-up at the team championship then blew up its roster in a matter of minutes. The top two players, Talor Gooch and Harold Varner III, were traded for Matthew Wolff and Peter Uihlein, who are both downgrades from Gooch and Varner. Thomas Pieters is still under contract and completes the foursome, and will need to step up in 2024.

Smash GC

Brooks Koepka
Captain Brooks Koepka of Smash GC looks on during Day One of the LIV Golf Invitational – Miami at Trump National Doral Miami on October 20, 2023 in Doral, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

Brooks Koepka smashed the upgrade button in trading Wolff for Gooch, the 2023 individual champion, but for some reason signed a struggling Graeme McDowell, who was flirting with relegation all year, to replace his brother, Chase, who actually was relegated. Jason Kokrak returns to complete the lineup.

Stinger GC

2023 LIV Golf Singapore
Louis Oosthuizen of Stinger GC in action during day one of the LIV Golf Invitational – Singapore at Sentosa Golf Club on April 28, 2023 in Singapore. (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

Captain Louis Oosthuizen returns all four players as Branden Grace, Dean Burmester and Charl Schwartzel all remain under contract for 2024.

Torque GC

2023 LIV Golf Andalucia
Torque GC celebrates after winning the team portion of the 2023 LIV Golf Andalucia at Real Club Valderrama in Cadiz, Spain. (Photo: Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

As noted above, the trading of David Puig for Carlos Ortiz completed Torque’s foursome as captain Joaquin Niemann’s side returns Mito Pereira and Sebastian Munoz for next season.

Cleeks GC

2023 LIV Golf Team Championship
Captain Martin Kaymer of Cleeks GC reacts on the ninth green during Day One of the LIV Golf Invitational – Miami at Trump National Doral Miami on October 20, 2023 in Doral, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

Now for the teams with openings. Martin Kaymer finished in a relegation spot but remained exempt as a captain for 2024. Richard Bland re-signed with the team, meaning the Cleeks need two new players (as well as a new name).

HyFlyers GC

2023 LIV Golf Bedminster
Phil Mickelson looks down the fairway from the first tee during the final round of the LIV Golf Bedminster at Trump National Bedminster. (Photo: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

Phil Mickelson talked about the open position on his team at the final event of the season after James Piot finished in the relegation zone but has yet to fill the spot. Lefty will have a look at the Asian Tour’s International Series winner, Andy Ogletree, as well as the three players who advance from this week’s LIV Golf Promotions event. Both Cameron Tringale and Brendan Steele will return.

Iron Heads GC

Kevin Na
Kevin Na of Ironheads GC reacts after missing a putt on the second hole during Day One of the LIV Golf Invitational – Tulsa at Cedar Ridge Country Club on May 12, 2023 in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)

Sihwan Kim finished in a relegation spot leaving captain Kevin Na with a free spot on his team that has yet to be filled. Scott Vincent accepted an extension, and Danny Lee remains under contract for next season.

Ripper GC

Cameron Smith’s all-Aussie side still has two openings to fill after Jediah Morgan was relegated and Matt Jones went to free agency. Smith and Marc Leishman are the only two confirmed players for 2024, and rumors swirled about Jason Day joining before the report was shot down.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek