The LIV Golf series is preparing for its fifth event this week with the LIV Golf Invitational Chicago.
After creating waves with the signing of Open champion Cameron Smith, lured over from the PGA Tour alongside Joaquin Niemann, Harold Varner III, Cameron Tringale, Marc Leishman and Anirban Lahiri, LIV Golf continues its march towards its season finale in Miami next month.
Many LIV Golf players featured in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth last week, which acts as the DP World Tour’s flagship event, although Europe’s strongest contingent of players yet to sign up with the Saudi breakaway tour fought it out for the championship, with Shane Lowry prevailing over Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm.
Dustin Johnson won last time out in what could be described as the most compelling golf yet from LIV Golf, with the likes of Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia all back and aiming to hit the jackpot with $4m for the winner.
Here’s everything we need to know about this week’s LIV Golf event:
Here’s everything you need to know about golf’s newest tour.
What is LIV Golf?
Reports of a new breakaway league first emerged in 2019 but gathered pace last year as two-time Open champion Greg Norman became the face of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series as its chief executive.
With Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund financing the series, there is a clear link to the Saudi Arabia government, whose record on human rights has been criticised by groups such as Amnesty International.
But what for a long time was considered to be a bargaining threat to the traditional PGA and DP World Tours and nothing more, took shape as the LIV Golf Series, which also features new competition rules and what tournament organisers say is an “exciting” new format.
What are the rules?
LIV Golf Series events will be played over three days and 54 holes, rather than the traditional four-day events with 72 holes. There won’t be a cut, either, so the 48 players who start the week will play all three rounds.
There will also be individual and team competitions within the same event. The individual competition will be won by the player who shoots the lowest score over 54 holes, as normal.
The team competition, however, will be made up of 12 teams of four players, with team captains selecting the teams using a ‘snake draft’ ahead of each event. Teams will also have their own unique names and logos.
In terms of scoring, the best two individual scores will count towards the team’s overall total across the opening two rounds, with the best three scores combining on the third and final round. The team with the lowest overall score at the end of the third round will be the winner.
How will the season work and where is the next event?
Chicago will be the fifth of seven ‘regular’ events this year with the team championship forming the final event of the season at Doral in Miami in October.
The team championship will see all 12 teams seeded and a four-day knockout tournament will be played using match play scoring to determine the winner, with a championship match taking place on the final day.
An individual champion will also be crowned using points accumulated over the seven ‘regular season’ events.
LIV Golf Boston, Greater Boston - September 2-4
LIV Golf Chicago, Rich Harvest Farms - September 16-18
LIV Golf Bangkok, Stonehill - October 7-9
LIV Golf Jeddah, Royal Greens - October 14-16
LIV Golf Miami, Trump National Doral - October 27-30
When is the Chicago event?
The 54-hole tournament will begin on Friday 16 September and run through to Sunday 18 September. The first round starts at 1pm ET (6pm BST) at Rich Harvest Farms, Sugar Grove, Illinois.
Who is playing?
The biggest names initially included Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, Sergio Garcia, Charl Schwartzel and Kevin Na. However, after its first event, LIV Golf added major champions Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed to its ranks, before tempting 2016 Open champion Henrik Stenson across ahead of Bedminster - at which point the Swede was stripped of the Ryder Cup captaincy. Cameron Smith and Joaquin Niemann were the headline names from the final round of recruitment for this season and make their second appearances in Chicago.
Full player list for Chicago event
Who is in the field?
Charles Howell III
Harold Varner III
Is it on TV?
LIV Golf has yet to be picked up by a major broadcaster in the UK.
However, the action is live streamed for free on the LIV Golf YouTube channel and Facebook page.
How much is the prize money?
Each regular season event will have a prize fund of $25m - every player in the field receives a cut, with a guaranteed $4m for first and $120,000 for last place. Of the $25m, $5m will be split between the top three teams.
The top three players in the overall individual championship will receive a split of $30m, with the overall champion taking $18m, the runner-up receiving $8m and third place getting $4m.
The season-ending team championship has a prize fund of $50m, with the winning team splitting $16m and the team who finishes last receiving $1m. Each player receives a 25 per cent cut.
By comparison, the winner of the PGA Championship, one of golf’s four majors, receives $3m out of a total prize fund of $15m.