The LIV Golf era is officially underway after the London event’s first round wrapped up Thursday.
For years, fans have been accustomed to the PGA Tour and the traditional stroke play that comes with it. But the LIV Golf London event showcased a new format. LIV features teams, three rounds and a different payout system.
How is LIV Golf different from the PGA Tour? The Sporting News dives into the changes.
Perhaps the first thing fans will notice just by looking at the LIV Golf schedule is that there are only three rounds. On the PGA Tour, fans count on four rounds of golf.
The biggest impact may be on cuts. The PGA Tour has more than 100 golfers in most of its tournaments, and the four-round system allows for an easy cutoff midway through the tournament.
That’s not the case with LIV Golf. With just 48 golfers and three rounds, all golfers will compete from the start of the first round until the end of the third, unless they decide to withdraw.
The scoring in the two leagues is the same. It is simple stroke play through 54 holes for LIV and 72 on the PGA Tour, with the golfer with the lowest score after the completion of the tournament being named the winner.
The next big difference between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour is the way in which golfers begin each round.
On the PGA Tour, the field starts on the same hole or on two different holes at staggered tee times to avoid overlap as much as possible.
LIV Golf is using shotgun starts, which means golfers will start at the same time, but on different tees.
The shotgun format reduces the amount of time a round will last, but it is more conducive to a smaller field. Shotgun starts on the PGA Tour would still require staggered start times given the amount of golfers in the field, whereas groups of three in LIV Golf would all be able to start at the same time.
Nothing will catch viewers off guard more than the team play introduced by LIV Golf. The PGA Tour is almost exclusively individual play.
In LIV Golf, there are 12 captains who will draft three teammates each week. Over the course of the three-day tournament, the two best stroke-play scores from the first two rounds count toward the team totals. In the final round, the best three scores from the team are counted to determine the winning team.
The draft for players is conducted in a snake format each week, and teams have their own names, colors and logos.
The team format will take place during each of the eight weeks of the season, but the eighth week will consist of a team championship that will be a seeded four-day, four-round match-play knockout event. That means teams will be paired and work through an elimination bracket until a winner is crowned.
The purse in LIV Golf events will dwarf any of the payouts for golfers on the PGA Tour, and the limited field means everyone is going to get a slice.
Golfers who don’t make the cut in PGA Tour events don’t get paid for that event. At LIV Golf, golfers are guaranteed a share of the purse just by entering.
The London event has a $25 million purse. Of that, $20 million will be split among the 48 golfers in the individual portion of the tournament. The remaining $5 million will be divided among the top three teams.
The golfer who wins the individual portion of the LIV Golf London tournament will pocket $4 million, while the last-place finisher will earn $120,000. The winning team will split $3 million among four golfers; $1.5 million will go to the second-place team; and $500,000 will go to the third-place team.
After the eighth event, the team championship, the winning team will split $16 million. All teams will earn part of a larger purse, however, with the last-place team earning $1 million.