The long-rumored super league has announced an eight-event “invitational” calendar that will start in June and end in October with a team championship.
The schedule will include 54-hole, no-cut tournaments with both an individual and team component, according to a release from LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed investment fund behind the super league. Four 12-man teams will compete on the 48-man fields. The purses for the events will total $250 million, with $20 million set aside for each event’s particular component. A total of $5 million will be distributed to the top three teams at each event.
The first three events on the schedule (June 9-11 in London, July 1-3 in Oregon, and July 29-31 in New Jersey) will be held in conjunction with three PGA Tour events (the Canadian Open, John Deere Classic, and Rocket Mortgage Classic), with the remaining events taking place in the fall.
“Because the calendar will not compete with majors, international team tournaments, or heritage events,” the statement stated, “players, who are independent contractors, will always be allowed to make their own decisions about where to play.”
The word “independent contractors” appears to be used on purpose. According to one industry expert familiar with the league, the action is timed in order to launch a court battle that could help LIV Golf take the process forward. Any Tour member who agrees to play the “invitational” schedule will face penalty or even suspension from the organization.
The implied threat to any member interested in joining the LIV Golf league has been a prolonged suspension or perhaps a lifetime ban, despite Tour commissioner Jay Monahan’s careful wording in public.
Members must obtain a release from the Tour in order to compete in events. Players are allowed three releases every season, based on a 15-event calendar, and competing-event releases are not permitted at events in North America, according to the rules.
“The PGA Tour has moved on,” Tour spokesperson Joel Schuchmann said when asked for comment, echoing Monahan’s remarks from last week.
Only three of the eight events are scheduled to take place between June and the Tour Championship, with the remaining five events taking place in the fall. Because competing-event releases are based on the season rather than the year, it’s possible that a member might play both circuits, though this seems improbable.
The “LIV Golf Invitational” would have a $50 million team purse for the season finale, in addition to the $20 million individual purses for each event. LIV Golf is giving more than $400 million in “seed” money for the new league, according to the press release.
“We are a start-up in many aspects,” Norman explained. “We have a long-term strategy and want to expand.” We have a really bright and exciting future, in my opinion.”