fter months of contentious build-up and speculation, the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series finally kicks off this week in London.
The 48-man squad was finalized on Monday night when Phil Mickelson’s participation was confirmed, ending his self-imposed exile from the sport.
Mickelson missed the first two majors of the year, following his decision to take a break in February after making comments critical of the Saudi regime, but said he wanted to use the breakaway opportunity to win in influence on the PGA Tour.
He is joined in London by Dustin Johnson, who reportedly received $150 million to star in the series. The former world number one has resigned from his PGA Tour membership, a move that would bar him from playing in future Ryder Cups as is.
Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter are among the European contingent involved, with no response from the PGA Tour or DP World Tour yet confirmed. There has been talk of lawsuits and bans in recent months.
Here’s everything you need to know about the first event this week and what to expect later in the year.
When is the first LIV Golf Series event?
The LIV Golf Series kicks off this week with the inaugural event at the Centurion Club in St Albans.
It is a 54-hole event, beginning on Thursday June 9 and continuing until the end of the final round on Saturday evening. Play begins each day at 2:00 p.m. BST, with all players teeing off at different holes in a shotgun tee at the same time.
How to watch Golf Series LIV
TV channel: No official TV broadcaster has yet been confirmed for the series.
Direct: All the action will be streamed for free on the LIV Golf Series Facebook page and YouTube channel, as well as on the official website.
LIV Golf Series Format
Tournaments are 54-hole non-cut events with a shotgun start. For this week’s tournament in London, black cabs will take each player to their starting hole.
As usual, the player with the lowest score over the three rounds will win the individual competition.
Along with this, there is also a team element. The 48 players on the pitch were also divided into teams, with 12 team captains selected by tournament organizers. Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Ian Poulter are among the captains – you can see the teams in full here.
For the first two rounds, each team’s two lowest scores will count towards the overall total, with the lowest three being used for the final round. These will then be combined to decide the winning team for each event.
LIV Golf Series Prize Money
For the first seven tournaments on the schedule, there will be a $25 million prize fund, including $5 million for the team event.
In terms of individual prizes, the winner of each tournament will win $4 million while whoever comes second will always win over $2 million.
A tenth place is good enough for $560,000, whoever finishes 20th will win $200,000 and the player who finishes last in 48th will win $120,000.
On top of that, the winning team from each event will also split $3 million, with $1.5 million for the team that comes in second and $500,000 for those in third.
The eighth and final event in October is a team tournament. The winning team will split $16 million among four players, while even the team that finishes last will split $1 million.
At the end of the year, whoever tops the overall individual championship in all events will take home $18 million, with second place earning $8 million and third place earning $4 million.
LIV Golf Series Schedule
LIV Golf London, Centurion Club: June 9-11
LIV Golf Portland, Pumpkin Ridge: June 30 to July 2
LIV Golf Bedminster, Trump National: July 29-31
LIV Golf Boston, Greater Boston: September 2-4
LIV Golf Chicago, Rich Harvest Farms: September 16-18
LIV Golf Bangkok, Stonehill: October 7-9
LIV Golf Jeddah, Royal Greens: October 14-16
LIV Golf Miami, Trump National Doral: October 27-30
Selected odds for the first LIV Golf Series event
Dustin Johnson 7/2
Louis Oosthuizen 9/1
Talor Gooch 9/1
Sergio Garcia 12/1
Kevin Na 14/1
Sam Horsfield 18/1
Ian Poulter 28/1
Lee Westwood 28/1
Phil Mickelson 28/1
Graeme McDowell 50/1
Odds via betting fair. Subject to change.