The long-rumored super league unveiled an eight-event “invitational” schedule that will begin in June and culminate in October with a team championship.
According to a release from LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed investment fund behind the super league, the schedule will feature 54-hole, no-cut events with both an individual and team component. The 48-man fields will be split into four 12-man teams. The schedule will include $250 million in purses with $20 million earmarked for each event’s individual component. An additional $5 million will be awarded amongst the top 3 teams at each event.
The schedule’s first three events (June 9-11 in London, July 1-3 in Oregon and July 29-31 in New Jersey) will be played opposite three PGA Tour events (the Canadian Open, John Deere Classic and Rocket Mortgage Classic), while the remainder of the schedule will be played in the fall.
“The schedule will not compete with the majors, international team events or heritage events so players, who are independent contractors, will always be able to make their own choices about where to play,” the release read.
The use of the term “independent contractors” appears to be by design. One industry insider with knowledge of the league said the move is a calculated one to initiate a legal challenge that could, from LIV Golf’s perspective, move the process forward. Any Tour member who commits to playing the “invitational” schedule would be subject to discipline or a suspension from the Tour.
Although Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has been careful with his words in public, the implied threat to any member interested in playing the LIV Golf league has been an extended suspension or even a lifetime ban.
The Tour’s regulations for competing events require members to be granted a release. Players are allowed three releases per season based on a 15-event schedule and the regulations stipulate that competing-event releases will not be approved for events in North America.
When asked for a comment, Tour spokesman Joel Schuchmann echoed Monahan’s comments from last week, “the PGA Tour has moved on.”
The timing of the schedule is noteworthy, with just three of the eight events slotted to be played from June through the Tour Championship, and the remaining five events in the fall. Competing-event releases are based on the season, not the year, which would open the door to a scenario that would allow a member to play both circuits, although that seems unlikely.
Along with the $20 million individual purse for each event, the “LIV Golf Invitational” would include a $50 million team purse for the season finale. According to the release, LIV Golf is providing more than $400 million in “seed” money for the start-up league.
“In many ways, we are a start-up,” Norman said. “We have a long-term vision and aim to grow. I believe we have a very bright and exciting future.”