Greg Norman announces Saudi Arabia-backed 2022 LIV Golf Invitational Series will start in June, feature $255 million in prize money

Steve DiMeglio, Golfweek

Last month, Rory McIlroy was one of many of the game’s biggest stars who pledged their allegiance to the PGA Tour flag and waved away playing in a proposed golf league driven by Greg Norman and backed by Saudi Arabia.

“It’s dead in the water, in my opinion,” McIlroy said.

Not so fast.

Norman, aka the Great White Shark, reemerged Tuesday by sending a letter to players stating the league backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund was not on its last breath. On Wednesday, Norman, the CEO and commissioner of LIV Golf Investments, which is funded by the Saudis, announced the league that would rival the PGA Tour has serious teeth.

Starting in June, the LIV Golf Invitational Series will begin and feature eight events and consist of individual and team play with prize money reaching $255 million. The first event will be played June 9-11 at Centurion Golf Club in London; the first seven events will have $20 million purses with an additional $5 million split among the top three teams each week.

After the first seven events are played, the top three in the individual format will split $30 million. The final event, Oct. 28-30 at a site yet to be determined, will be a team championship with $50 million in prize money.

In the U.S., Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Portland, Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey, The International in Boston and Rich Harvest Farms west of Chicago will host events.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has said any players joining the league would face banishment from the PGA Tour. Norman replied in a letter the PGA Tour cannot ban players. Litigation seems likely in the future.

More: Premier Golf League plan to partner with PGA Tour features massive paydays, ownership stakes for tour members

LIV Golf Investments, which has already invested $300 million over 10 years on the Asian Tour, is providing more than $400 million to launch the series.

The events will feature 48 players and 12 four-man teams. They will be 54 holes with no cut and shotgun starts.

“I want golf to grow, players to have additional opportunities, and fans to have more fun,” Norman said in a release. “My mission is to help the game reach its full potential and we know the role of golf as an entertainment product is critical to overall participation in the sport.

“In many ways, we are a start-up. We have a long-term vision and aim to grow. I believe we have a very bright and exciting future.”

The schedule will not compete with the four major championships or heritage events. Each event will have teams comprised of different players determined by a draft the week of the event.

“Our events are truly additive to the world of golf,” Norman said. “We have done our best to create a schedule that allows players to play elsewhere, while still participating in our events. I believe players will increasingly make progress in achieving their right to play where they want. We will help in any way possible and will provide golfers with opportunities to achieve their full potential.”

Said Joel Schuchmann, senior vice president of Communications for the PGA Tour: “As we have stated repeatedly in recent weeks, the PGA Tour has moved on.”

LIV Golf Invitational 2022 schedule

Date Location
June 9-11 Centurion Golf Club – London
July 1-3 Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club – Portland
July 29-31 Trump National Golf Club Bedminster – New Jersey
Sept. 2-4 The International – Boston
Sept. 16-18 Rich Harvest Farms – Chicago
Oct. 7-9 Stonehill – Bangkok
Oct. 14-16 Royal Greens Golf Club – Jeddah
Oct. 28-30 Team Championship – TBD

Another league is circling in the waters, too. The Fire Pit Collective was the first to report that the Premier Golf League has divulged plans to the PGA Tour and certain players including McIlroy for a series of events that would partner with various tours. The format consists of 18 events, with 12 teams of four players competing in team and individual championships that run simultaneously throughout the season. Purses would be worth $20 million, with an additional $1 million going to the winners of the team event. A winner-take-all prize of $20 million is also up for grabs to the winner of a season-ending team event.

The PGL also plans to allocate 100 million shares to PGA Tour, Korn Ferry Tour and DP World Tour players in a tiered system.

So if I’m reading this correctly the SGL has morphed into the LIV Invitational Series? Third Leg Greg mixing things up with a curve ball in the form of a name change.. well played haha. The concept of misdirection is at play here but Monahan isn’t having any of it. It’s still Saudi backed and players are going to be potentially banished from the PGA Tour for their participation. How in the hell are they going to fill these fields with top tier talent? The prize money may entice some older players that aren’t worried about the PGA Tour anymore but no young player is going to sign away their lives to a tour that may not even make it. Saudi Arabia may grow bored with this at any time thus leaving the players marooned with nowhere to play.

The PGL is still a mystery to most I’m assuming as well… it seems less ominous than the LIV series though. The Players Championship created a monster snowball with their 20 million dollar purse this season. That number is being thrown out all over the place in these side leagues. The team-format their proposing seems like a decent idea but every event being a team event is going to get old. Especially since it’s four-man teams. Will these be massive member-guest style events with much higher quality of play? Kinda sounds like it. Stay over here boys… the Tour has always been good to you and it’s just going to keep getting better. The purses skyrocket each year and these events are steeped in tradition. Don’t mess up a great thing.