As we tiptoe further into 2023, we are being drip-fed more details about what LIV Golf looks like, and what it could look like in the future.
The second season, which began in Mexico in February, has 14 events and the schedule will draw the curtain with the Team Championship in Saudi Arabia in November.
There are a number of new faces such as Thomas Pieters and Danny Lee, who won the LIV Golf Tucson Invitational, and a couple of new team names too.
Valderrama, the Greenbrier, and Mayakoba represent significant venue scalps for LIV Golf as they have all been used on the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour.
But what about the rest of the season and the future of LIV Golf? How will each player and each team sustain existence on a tour that could begin to show its teeth in the coming months?
There may be $25 million prize purses up for grabs each week, but the plain sailing looks to be done as players take ownership of their sides.
More details have emerged about the structure of the LIV Golf League, so we have broken down the information we already have and the new details that have been reported too.
What we already know…
At each LIV Golf event, a player can win up to $4.75 million if they win both the individual and team events that week.
But with information being revealed from a recent player’s meeting in Arizona, team winnings will be re-invested back into the teams, as opposed to staying in the player’s pockets.
Of the $25 million prize purses, the portion of $5 million allocated to team winnings could be spread across the top five teams instead of the top three teams in the current format.
Each team will be responsible for employing staff and attracting sponsorship in order to become a profitable franchise.
This will help the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia turn LIV Golf into a profitable part of its expansive portfolio.
At the end of the 2023 season, LIV Golf is also set to hold a Q-school-type event which could see relegated players and external players compete for a place on the 2024 roster.
As some players have multi-year contracts, they will be immune from relegation even if they finish near the bottom of the individual points leaderboard.
New information for LIV Golf in 2023 and beyond
According to Sports Illustrated, LIV Golf teams have different ways in which they can build revenue: prize money, sponsorship, merchandise, and retail sales.
There is a concern among some players that as LIV owns 75% of the teams, they could experience a smaller return than first thought from winnings and sponsorship.
But with loaned capital and astronomic prize purses, the players are still being handsomely rewarded for signing on the dotted line.
There have been murmurs that Brooks Koepka is having buyer’s remorse after leaving the PGA Tour and the idea of some players changing their minds has begun to swirl.
The defectors are now required to fulfil their LIV commitments and if they wanted to break the agreement, this could cost them up to four times the sum of their signing bonus.
As many as 15 teams could play in the 2024 season and more players could be added to the roster from the Asian Tour International Series or Monday qualifiers.
In terms of relegation, the top eight players in the 2023 points list will earn a two-year LIV exemption, with players placed ninth to 24th earning a one-year exemption.
The bottom four players without multi-year deals will be relegated and LIV anticipates between eight and 12 new players to play in 2024.
These new players could play their way on to the rebel league in the aforementioned Q-school event.
LIV officials are reportedly increasing the pressure on teams to negotiate fresh sponsorships with most teams in ongoing talks with various companies.
Sergio Garcia’s Fireballs GC has reportedly signed a deal with Akron, an oil company in Mexico. This was no doubt attained with the help of teammates Abraham Ancer and Carlos Ortiz.
What we still need to find out…
Although LIV is ticking a big box with its promotion/relegation event, the breakaway tour hasn’t acquired Official World Golf Ranking status.
Average field sizes, the use of a cut, and a pathway to the main tour are just some issues that LIV must address to gain OWGR status, despite their strategic alliance with the MENA Tour.
Norman did recruit recognisable names from the PGA Tour and DP World Tour such as Pieters, Lee, Steele, and Burmester, but do these acquisitions match their lofty ambitions at the start?
There will always be a question of ‘who will sign for LIV Golf next?’ So it will be interesting to see if any more players in the top 50, or perhaps higher, could be persuaded by the riches of LIV and the PIF.
Could the golf ball be rolled back for everyone?