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What is LIV Golf? Players, field, tour schedule, news for league with Cameron Smith, Dustin Johnson

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LIV Golf is now more than halfway through its inaugural season after completion of play in Chicago. Making headlines both on and off the golf course, LIV Golf has taken its battle to the courtroom, social media and beyond. While the actual play in LIV Golf has been compelling at times, the overall structure, presence and future of the organization remains its most intriguing component in the context of men’s professional golf.

Plenty of questions have been answered since its inaugural event in London from June 9-11, but still more remain without a response. What will the future of this rival tour look like? How will the team aspect of the competition clash with the individual side? Will LIV Golf be able to recruit some of the best players in the world with its Official World Golf Rankings status in the air? Is a court date with the PGA Tour inevitable?

At every step along the way, answers about this league have only produced more questions and clarification has only made the future more complicated. 

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The breakdown below is our attempt to share with you everything that’s known to this point as we head into the whatever LIV Golf is going to look like in the future. Whether this turns out to be a fork or bump in the road of professional golf remains to be seen (only the future will retroactively determine that), but it does feel monumental in the moment.

LIV Golf, empowered by its unlimited war chest of resources to throw at the best players, is officially at odds with the PGA Tour. It’s a period of time that has been promised for a long time, and is finally taking place. Let’s take a look at what we know and what we can expect in the weeks, months and years ahead as LIV Golf wraps up its first season at the end of October.

What is LIV Golf?

LIV Golf is a rival golf league to the PGA Tour where the tournaments consist of 54 holes, the fields are limited to 48 golfers and the purses are an astronomical $25 million. Twelve, four-man teams will compete in each event, and the individual purses will be $20 million while the other $5 million will be divided up among the best teams each week.

Who leads LIV Golf?

LIV Golf Investments runs the league, and its CEO is two-time major champion Greg Norman. It is funded by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, which is effectively the financial arm of the Saudi Arabian government. These funds are seemingly limitless as the league has paid hundreds of millions of dollars to players just to guarantee their appearances at the LIV Golf Invitational Series events.

Who is playing for LIV Golf?

It began with Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson headlining the London event and has since grown into a respectable roster. Major champions Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed quickly followed the lead of their fellow Americans. 

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More recently, and more importantly, world No. 3 and Champion Golfer of the Year Cameron Smith made the leap after the completion of the 2022 Tour Championship. He was joined by young Chilean Joaquin Niemann as two international players who chose to forgo the Presidents Cup in lieu of playing in the LIV Golf event in Boston. While the initial demographics skewed towards older players like Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Mickelson, there has been an influx of younger talent with Abraham Ancer and Harold Varner III among others.

Here’s a look at the 49 men who currently play for LIV Golf and their Official World Golf Rankings (Bubba Watson is a non-playing captain and is set to compete once fully recovered from injury).

Cameron Smith

3

Joaquin Niemann 21

Dustin Johnson

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23

Abraham Ancer 24
Brooks Koepka 29
Kevin Na 32

Louis Oosthuizen

34

Talor Gooch

38

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Paul Casey 39
Jason Kokrak 43

Harold Varner III

44

Bryson DeChambeau

46

Patrick Reed

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51

Cameron Tringale

60

Marc Leishman

61

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Richard Bland 77

Scott Vincent

78

Sergio Garcia

80

Matt Jones 83

Anirban Lahiri

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92

Sam Horsfield

95

Sadom Kaewkanjana

96

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Shaun Norris

99

Lee Westwood

100

Bubba Watson

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107

Hudson Swafford

112

Bernd Wiesberger

114

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Matthew Wolff

116

Branden Grace

118

Charl Schwartzel

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120

Ian Poulter

129

Phil Mickelson

132

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Charl Schwartzel

134

Phachara Khongwatmai

151

Branden Grace

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154

Laurie Canter

157

Sihwan Kim 158
Carlos Ortiz 164

Henrik Stenson

177

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Pat Perez 196

Charles Howell III

208

Jediah Morgan

312

Wade Ormsby

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361

Peter Uihlein

369

Martin Kaymer

377

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Graeme McDowell

410

Turk Pettit 

678

Chase Koepka

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1,646

James Piot

2,636

Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra

2,636

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What is going on legally between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour?

Originally, 11 LIV Golf players were a part of an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour. This suit also sought a temporary restraining order for Hudson Swafford, Matt Jones and Talor Gooch to participate in the 2021-22 FedEx Cup Playoffs — which was ultimately denied and barred them from playing in the PGA Tour postseason.

Since then, slowly but surely, more and more of the original members have removed their names from the lawsuit. Previously, Ancer, Carlos Ortiz, Jason Kokrak and Pat Perez left the suit. More recently, Talor Gooch, Mickelson, Poulter and Swafford followed in their footsteps. 

This leaves only three players seeking punitive damages in a legal battle with the PGA Tour: Bryson DeChambeau, Peter Uihlein and Jones. The trial is set to begin in January 2024.

The Tour has over and over again pointed back to its rules and regulations in this matter and remains set on keeping those who have played on LIV Golf off the PGA Tour. Commissioner Jay Monahan was asked at the Tour Championship if there was any chance LIV Golf members would be welcomed back onto the PGA Tour to which he blatantly answered, “no.”

How has the PGA Tour reacted to LIV Golf?

After a players-only meeting at the BMW Championship led by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, sweeping changes have been made to the PGA Tour schedule and the treatment of its star players. Here are the spark notes of this new-look PGA Tour starting this season.

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  • Top players will commit to at least 20 PGA Tour events: These tournaments will include the eight elevated events as previously designated, four additional elevated events with purses of at least $20 million (to be announced), The Players Championship, the four major championships and three other FedEx Cup events of players’ choosing.
  • The PIP will be expanded: The PIP has been increased from the top 10 players to the top 20 for 2022 and 2023. Not only has the player pool expanded, so has the prize pool, which will now total $100 million, double the $50 million previously announced. It is from these top 20 lists that “top players” will be defined.
  • Modifications  made for Lifetime Membership: No longer will 15 seasons of membership be necessary. Once a player reaches 20 wins, he will be eligible. With this change, McIlroy has secured his lifetime membership with Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth only being a handful of wins away.

Will LIV Golf receive Official World Golf Rankings points?

LIV Golf is still awaiting the status of its OWGR application despite its best attempts to expedite the process. All 49 players recently sent a letter to the OWGR chairman requesting that world ranking points be retroactively applied to its events. Comparing the OWGR without LIV to college football without the SEC or FIFA without Belgium, it is unlikely this holds any merit. 

Meanwhile, players have begun to tee it up on the DP World Tour with some consistency on weeks in which there is no LIV Golf event. The top 50 players in the OWGR at the end of the calendar year will be invited to the 2023 Masters making it a mad dash for players to accumulate as many points as possible before then.

Will the majors allow golfers to play?

That’s an even better question that has at least some clarity. The answer in the short term is: yes. The major organizations — PGA of America, USGA, R&A and Augusta National — likely won’t announce suspensions or bans of players who participate. There is a potential that qualifying criterias are modified in the future, however as of now if a LIV player gains entry through previous exemptions or the adequate OWGR (points which LIV has yet to secure) he should be able to compete.

What is the LIV Golf schedule?

Five events have already taken place in 2022, with three remaining. Here’s a look at what’s left on the schedule for the inaugural season.

  • Bangkok, Thailand: Oct. 7-9
  • Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: Oct. 14-16
  • Miami, Florida: Oct. 27-30

LIV Golf has released a tentative schedule for 2023 with 14 stops around the globe spanning Washington D.C., Spain and Australia. This is unofficial as details have yet to be confirmed.

  • February: Florida (course TBD)
  • February: California (course TBD)
  • March: Tucson (Dove Mountain or the Gallery)
  • April: Australia (Sydney or Queensland)
  • April: Singapore (Sentosa)
  • May: Washington D.C. (CBS Sports can confirm Trump National DC the week after PGA Championship)
  • June: Philadelphia (course TBD)
  • July: London (Centurion)
  • July: Spain (Valderrama the week before The Open)
  • August: New Jersey (Trump National Bedminster)
  • August: West Virginia (The Greenbrier)
  • September: Chicago (course TBD)
  • September: Toronto or Mexico (course TBD)
  • September: Florida (Trump National Doral)

What does LIV Golf’s season finale look like?

It will not look like the Tour Championship, that is for certain. Taking place from Oct. 28-30, the top four teams in LIV will receive a bye on the first day while teams 5-12 will compete in match-play competitions with the higher-ranked teams selecting their opponents. For each matchup, three matches consisting of two singles matches and one alternate-shot match will take place.

The same format will be used for Day 2 of competition with the four victors from Day 1 and the four teams which received a bye all playing. From there, the four winners from Day 2 will advance to the final stage which will be different.

The four winning teams will compete in stroke play on the final day of competition. All 16 players will compete and all four scores will count towards the team’s score. The lowest team score will be crowned the LIV Golf Invitational Series Team Champion.

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For USA, the focus now shifts to 2026 World Cup

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The USMNT came up short in Qatar but with a home-soil World Cup looming and more experience, players believe: “The past can only fuel success in the future.”



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20 Fantasy Thoughts: Kadri still searching for offence with Flames

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Cal Petersen ending up on waivers was a bit of a shocker.

I actually drafted Petersen with my final pick in one league, thinking Jonathan Quick wouldn’t be able to sustain the numbers he produced last year and Petersen might be able to overtake him. My projection on Quick is proving true, but I couldn’t have been more wrong about Petersen. He looks nothing like the goalie from 2020-21 that had a .911 save percentage.

The Los Angeles Kings are in an interesting predicament. There’s no question they can ice a very competitive team, but Los Angeles is in danger of squandering their season if they don’t get some saves. You can only lean on a 36-year-old Quick so much and banking on him to recapture some of last season’s form seems like a longshot at this point. Perhaps the Kings will simply have no choice but to consider a trade.

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This is just me thinking out loud, but with the emergence of Pyotr Kochetkov, maybe the Carolina Hurricanes would be willing to move a goalie for cap reasons. Both Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta are pending UFAs and would be an upgrade to what the Kings have been dealing with this season.

It makes too much sense, which likely means it won’t happen.

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1. Matty Beniers was dropped by many after a slow stretch in early November and now he’s making those who did so really regret it. The Seattle Kraken forward has five goals and 12 points in his past six games and even though it’s still early, he’s staking his claim for the Calder. After struggling to score last year, Seattle is surprisingly sitting third in the NHL in goals for and is filling the net with regularity. Beniers is still only rostered in 42 per cent of leagues, so it’s a good time to circle back and see if you have space for him on your team.

2. Other young players haven’t been so fortunate. After an incredible preseason, Marco Rossi has struggled to stay in the lineup and is now down in the AHL. Nick Robertson is also finding it difficult to find a role on the Toronto Maple Leafs, despite starting off with two goals in his first game this season. For every Beniers, there are dozens of other prospects who take much longer to provide any fantasy value. Sometimes you have to be patient.

3. Goals in three of four games now for Auston Matthews. That’s a good sign for those who drafted him, but it still only puts the Maple Leafs sniper on pace for 38 this season. For most players, 38 goals is a really solid showing, though the expectations were much higher for Matthews. Many thought he had a realistic shot at exceeding 60 and even 50 seemed like a worst-case scenario. Of course, Matthews could drop a few multi-goal games in a row and totally flip the pace around. There’s still time, but it feels like December might be a make-or-break month for Matthews in regards to getting back on track to reach the totals we’re used to seeing from him.

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4. Andrei Kuzmenko’s streaky season continues. After posting two points in his first seven games, Kuzmenko then posted nine points in his next five, before going pointless in four. The Vancouver Canucks forward recently dropped 10 points in five games when he was really clicking with Elias Pettersson and now, he’s been held without a point in three straight. Kuzmenko seems like one of those players who is going to be added and dropped all season long. You’ll just have to hope you scoop him up at the right time.

5. Thatcher Demko is set to miss the next six weeks with an injury, so it’s the Spencer Martin show for the time being. Martin’s record has been surprisingly good thus far and if nothing else, he’ll figure to play regularly with Demko out. He’s an option if you’re desperate for help between the pipes.

6. After going goalless for a lengthy stretch that dated back to last season, Alex Killorn now has 17 points in his past 16 games. The Tampa Bay Lightning have a few players like Killorn, Brandon Hagel and Nick Paul getting a boost from that potent top six. See if you can take advantage of it with a waiver wire pickup.

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7. It’s time to be concerned over Vincent Trocheck. The New York Rangers forward fell out of the top six recently and has just a single point in six games. The silver lining here is that Trocheck is still on the top power play, so maybe there’s a chance he can pull himself out of this. Unfortunately, those who were hoping Trocheck could have an offensive renaissance in New York have been sorely disappointed thus far.

8. Tough timing for Anton Lundell’s injury. The Florida Panthers forward had points in four straight games, to go along with eight penalty minutes, 10 shots and 17 faceoff wins. He was really excelling in the Panthers’ top six with Aleksander Barkov sidelined. Hopefully, Lundell’s usage remains similar when he returns.

9. Cam Talbot has a .928 save percentage over his past five games. It’s safe to say he’s claimed the starting job for the Ottawa Senators and Anton Forsberg’s value is diminishing rapidly.

10. Games don’t get much more productive than the one Nathan MacKinnon had this week against the Buffalo Sabres. MacKinnon finished with two goals, three assists, three power-play points, two penalty minutes, eight shots, eight faceoff wins and two blocks. It would’ve been nice if he picked up a few hits, though. All joking aside, that’s one of the more versatile games for category coverage I’ve seen in recent memory.

11. Adin Hill’s value is settling into simply a backup role on a good team in Vegas. I thought there was a chance he could split more time with Logan Thompson, given coach Bruce Cassidy’s history of rotating goalies. Thompson, though, started three straight games recently for the first time all season. He’s undoubtedly the true number one with the Golden Knights.

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12. No goals for Anders Lee in 11 games now. He’s still very effective for hits, but the lack of offence is concerning. Lee is on pace for 26 goals this season, his lowest pace for a full 82-game campaign since 2015-16.

13. Cole Perfetti is starting to catch fire. I mentioned Perfetti as someone to watch in the Winnipeg Jets’ top six in the pre-season, and he’s finally hitting his stride. He’s really connecting with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler to the tune of six points in his past four games. There are also other good reasons to consider Perfetti: the Jets play four times next week, and Perfetti is C, LW, and RW eligible. Great roster flexibility there.

14. It feels like the Buffalo Sabres have a plethora of fantasy relevant forwards this year, and JJ Peterka is the latest to go on a run. Peterka quietly has points in five of six games, thanks to being able to take advantage of Dylan Cozens’ recent strong play. I’m not sure I’d pick him up right now but put Peterka on your watch list.

15. The same goes for promising rookie Jonatan Berggren of the Detroit Red Wings. He’s notched six points in 10 games since being called up, though he isn’t getting as much of an opportunity as Peterka. Maybe if he keeps this up, Berggren will get a shot in the top six at some point with Tyler Bertuzzi injured again.

16. Alex Nedeljkovic got his first start since Nov. 12 this week and promptly gave up four goals in the loss, dropping his save percentage to .880 on the year. He’s played very sparingly, as Ville Husso has taken over the starting job in Detroit. Nedeljkovic isn’t worth rostering at this point.

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17. Seattle’s offence is even trickling down to the fourth line, where Daniel Sprong amazingly has seven points in his past seven games and 14 in 17 overall this season, playing only limited minutes. For a team that couldn’t score at all last year, the Kraken suddenly have a bunch of forwards that are fantasy options.

18. I’ve mentioned Evan Bouchard’s recent surge might give him an opportunity to overtake Tyson Barrie for first power play time and it appears to be happening. Over the past two games, Bouchard has played 7:58 on the power play to Barrie’s 4:21. If this keeps up, Bouchard’s value should soar.

19. Fabian Zetterlund has remarkably picked up a point in eight of the past 11 games. What makes this so impressive is that Zetterlund is only averaging 12:43 per game this season. Talk about making the most of your opportunities. Everything is going right for the New Jersey Devils this year.

20. Nazem Kadri appeared to not miss a beat when he joined the Calgary Flames. He scored 11 points in his first 10 games and looked like he might be one of the best signings from the summer. Since then, though, he’s managed just five points and Kadri has been held to a single assist in his past eight contests. Kadri’s struggles aren’t for lack of opportunities. He’s getting top power play time and is actually starting in the offensive zone more frequently (76.7 per cent) than he did last year (63.1 per cent). However, the Flames power play hasn’t been great, sitting at 24th overall in the NHL. His linemates at even strength also leave a lot to be desired, as Andrew Mangiapane and Dillon Dube are both on pace for significantly lower outputs than they produced a year ago. Even with a pair of goals from Mangiapane on Saturday, he’s on only pace for 20 this season, while Dube is looking at just 13. They had 35 and 18, respectively, in 2021-22. Mangiapane’s trade value isn’t very high right now, so you’ll have to hope he goes on a tear or head coach Darryl Sutter re-works his lines to give Kadri a bump to the top group. If something doesn’t change, I don’t see Kadri coming anywhere close to the totals that made him such a coveted player in the off-season.

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2 Teams That Should Be Calling About Pirates CF Bryan Reynolds

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(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

 

As MLB free agency gets underway, there are still trades that are looking to be made across the league.

One player that has just become available in the trade market is Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds.

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Reynolds requested a trade from the Pirates on Saturday, and most outfield-needy teams should be calling.

The 27-year-old is a perennial all-star and one of the most underrated players in the MLB.

Here are two teams that should be calling about the Pirates’ star.

 

Toronto Blue Jays

One team that needs to be calling about Reynolds is the Toronto Blue Jays.

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After a disappointing season for them in 2022, the Blue Jays have pressure to make a run this year.

But, after trading away outfielder Teoscar Hernandez, the Blue Jays need another outfield bat.

Reynolds would be a perfect addition to their roster.

The switch hitter can slot in anywhere before or after Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette.

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Reynolds would be able to elevate his game with plenty of other good hitters around him in the Toronto lineup.

If the Bule Jays are serious about contending, this is a move they need to make.

 

Miami Marlins

The Miami Marlins are desperate for a star hitter.

They have not had an all-star caliber position player since Giancarlo Stanton in 2017.

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It is time for them to make a splash move to acquire a big bat.

Reynolds would slot into the middle of the Marlins’ lineup and immediately become their best hitter.

Miami has the pitching in place to contend in the National League.

With reigning NL Cy Young winner, Sandy Alcantara leading the way.

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If the Marlins can start to develop a good group of hitters around their pitching staff, the rebuild may not take so long.

This is a big offseason for Miami as they look primed to make some big moves.

The post 2 Teams That Should Be Calling About Pirates CF Bryan Reynolds appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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