Golf: LIV confirms 2023 debut in Australia

CEO of LIV Golf Greg Norman being introduced to the crowd during the team championship stroke-play round of the LIV Golf Invitational on Oct 30. PHOTO: AFP

RIYADH – LIV Golf announced on Sunday a multi-year commitment to bring league events to Australia starting in April 2023 at The Grange Golf Club in Adelaide.

The April 21-23 tournament will be one of 14 events on LIV Golf League’s 2023 schedule and will give fans a chance to see reigning British Open champion Cameron Smith and fellow Australians Marc Leishman and Matt Jones in action.

“This is an opportunity to grow the game with generations of Australians while connecting them with star players like Cameron Smith,” LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman said in a news release.

“There is massive potential for Australia to play a bigger role in this great sport, and I couldn’t be more excited to showcase Adelaide for our league’s debut year.”

The Grange was the site of former world No. 1 Norman’s first professional victory in 1976 and, among other events, hosted the Women’s Australian Open in 2019 and 2016.

Consistent with the 2022 LIV Golf Invitational Series, which launched in June, LIV Golf League will feature simultaneous team and individual play, with golfers competing for an unprecedented US$405 million (S$555.9 million) in prize purses.

The full 2023 league schedule, to be released in coming weeks, will run from February to September and will not compete with golf’s four Majors, international team events or heritage events.

The Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf series has lured players with the promise of guaranteed, big-money paydays and a reduced schedule, while the United States-based PGA Tour has suspended members who opted to join the rival circuit.

Among the more high-profile players to join LIV are World Golf Hall of Fame member Phil Mickelson, twice Major champion Dustin Johnson and 2020 US Open winner Bryson DeChambeau.

Critics say LIV Golf, which is bankrolled by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, amounts to blatant “sportswashing” by a nation trying to improve its reputation tarnished by a history of human rights abuses. REUTERS

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