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4Aces GC

LIV Golf teams confirmed: Who’s in for 2023?

Greg Norman has now signed 48 players to his breakaway league. So how many of the promised “seven top-20 players in the world” has he delivered? Matt Chivers breaks it down

 

LIV Golf has had a fresh lick of paint for the New Year. The breakaway league exploded into 2023 with two new team names and an even bigger schedule – and, now, new players.

There are still 12, but Niblicks GC and Punch GC are no more and have been replaced by two new sides – Range Goats GC and Ripper GC – who will be captained by Bubba Watson and Cameron Smith respectively.

So who’s in for the new season? Let’s break the teams down…

LIV Golf teams

Let me (re)introduce you to the 12 LIV Golf team names and their captains set to play this year, as well as some of the self-written mantras that each side treated us to as part of the launch of the second season…

4 Aces GC

Captain: Dustin Johnson
Team: Pat Perez, Patrick Reed, Peter Uihlein

4 Aces regularly appeared at the top of the LIV Golf leaderboard last year as they romped to four consecutive wins in Portland, Bedminster, Boston and Chicago.

The team, skippered by DJ, earned just short of $29 million between them. You could expect to see this foursome participating in more champagne-popping antics in 2023, except Peter Uihlein has now replaced Talor Gooch.

Johnson tasted victory for the first time on the new circuit at the Boston Invitational back in September, beating Joaquin Niemann and Anirban Lahiri in a playoff.

Cleeks GC

Captain: Martin Kaymer
Team: Bernd Wiesberger, Graeme McDowell, Richard Bland

Two-time major champion Martin Kaymer is set to wear the armband for the green colours of Cleeks, a team that often featured Graeme McDowell, Laurie Canter and Richard Bland in LIV’s first season – though the full line-up is yet to be confirmed.

Cleeks reached the quarter-finals of the 2022 Team Championship at Doral where Bland became emotional after he and McDowell secured the decisive point to advance to the semi-finals.

Cleeks is a team “with its eyes firmly on the future, but with an attitude that’s all about dominating now”.

Crushers GC

Captain: Bryson DeChambeau
Team: Anirban Lahiri, Charles Howell III, Paul Casey

If there was ever a team that would be led by Bryson DeChambeau, it would have to be the Crushers. They promise “there are no half-measures”.

The former US Open champion has recently scaled back his body weight and taken away a little bit of his power, but you can expect more big-hitting antics that made him the PGA Tour’s longest driver in 2020 and 2021.

Paul Casey, Charles Howell III and Anirban Lahiri were the American’s main teammates throughout LIV’s first season and this has remained the same in 2023.

Fireballs GC

Captain: Sergio Garcia
Team: Abraham Ancer, Carlos Ortiz, Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra

Fireballs enjoyed a solid core team of Sergio Garcia, Abraham Ancer, Carlos Ortiz and Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra in last season’s schedule – and that’s expected to stay the same.

Lopez-Chacarra won for the first time since turning professional at the Bangkok Invitational last October, banking himself a lovely $4 million winner’s cheque.

Garcia will captain Fireballs in 2023 as they promise to “radiate heat and intensity”.

Hy Flyers GC

Captain: Phil Mickelson
Team: Cameron Tringale, James Piot, Brendan Steele,

The Hy Flyers believe they are “here to transform golf, transcend their opponents, and transport the sport into a new era”.

Phil Mickelson only managed one top 10 in LIV’s first season, but the team captain will hope he can soon rediscover the form that won him six major titles and 45 PGA Tour events in his illustrious career.

The core of the Hy Flyers in 2022 was primarily made by Mickelson, Matt Wolff and eight-time DP World Tour winner Bernd Wiesberger.

Iron Heads GC

Captain: Kevin Na
Team: Danny Lee, Scott Vincent, Sihwan Kim

Iron Heads vow to “bring a powerful, unbending will to win to the LIV Golf League” in 2023 led by five-time PGA Tour winner Kevin Na.

Na and Thai golf sensation Sadom Kaewkanjana played eight times for Iron Heads in 2022 as the side failed to finish in the top three of any team leaderboard.

Phacara Khongwatmai and Sihwan Kim also represented Iron Heads on a number of occasions, but we will wait to see if any changes are made to their line-up before February 24.

Majesticks GC

Ian Poulter

Captains: Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Henrik Stenson
Team: Sam Horsfield

For some reason, this team needs three captains. No, we don’t know either.

Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood will lead a team that also consists of Poulter’s protege Sam Horsfield.

Majesticks came seventh in the end-of-season money standings on $5.5 million and according to the team in this new schedule, “there’s no airs and graces here. They’re gritty, down to earth, and straight talking.”

Range Goats GC

Captain: Bubba Watson
Team: Harold Varner III, Talor Gooch, Thomas Pieters

Now for the first new team. Bubba Watson could barely contain his excitement for announcing LIV Golf’s newest franchise, so he broke out in goat noises at the end of the unveiling video.

The two-time Masters champion stated that goat doesn’t stand for “greatest of all time” in this case, but “golfers on a team”.

Watson took up on-course reporting duties for LIV Golf last year as he was sidelined due to a knee injury, and couldn’t compete for what used to be called Niblicks.

After an angry tweet about not being eligible for the 2023 Genesis Invitational, Thomas Pieters was confirmed as a surprise acquisition for LIV from the DP World Tour

Ripper GC

Captain: Cameron Smith
Team: Jediah Morgan, Marc Leishman, Matt Jones

Although LIV Golf boss Greg Norman shouldn’t pick sides, he will secretly have a soft spot for Ripper as this is set to represent the Australian core of the new circuit.

The team wanted a name that is “as iconic as Kylie, Uluru and the Sydney Opera House”.

Open champion Cameron Smith has been made the captain of the second new team for this season, replacing the former entity of Punch that was often represented by Matt Jones, Marc Leishman and Wade Ormsby in 2022.

Smash GC

Captain: Brooks Koepka
Team: Chase Koepka, Jason Kokrak, Matt Wolff

Brooks Koepka will lead Smash into battle this time around. According to Smash, this team is “a family”. That is, of course, literally the case for two of them. They also claim to be “a close-knit gang that fights as one”.

The four-time major champion notched an emotional victory at the Jeddah Invitational in 2022, while his brother Chase Koepka, Jason Kokrak, Peter Uihlein and Richard Bland all wore the blue of Smash last year, but Matt Wolff has now joined the four-man line-up from rivals Hy Flyers.

Stinger GC

Captain: Louis Oosthuizen
Team: Branden Grace, Charl Schwartzel, Dean Burmester

In their own words, Stinger prides themselves in “combining a smile on your face with a sting in your tail”.

Former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen certainly epitomises this attitude and he is set to lead a team full of South African talent.

Charl Schwartzel and Branden Grace each won for the first time on LIV Golf in London and Portland respectively in the first season, while Dean Burmester is in to replace Hennie Du Plessis.

Torque GC

Captain: Joaquin Niemann
Team: David Puig, Mito Perreira, Sebastian Munoz

Torque has one of the younger captains on the LIV Golf scene in Joaquin Niemann. The Chilean won twice on the PGA Tour before hopping over to Greg Norman’s start-up series.

The 24-year-old often competed alongside Jediah Morgan and Scott Vincent in LIV’s inaugural season, Mito Perreira has joined his side and has become the latest PGA Tour player to swap allegiances in the professional game.

Torque finished bottom of the money list last season as they failed to finish in the top three on any of the regular season team leaderboards.

What do you make of the new LIV Golf teams? Tweet me and let me know!

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