Everything you need to know about LIV Golf’s $50 million season-ending team championship
Phil Mickelson plays an approach shot on the tenth hole during a pro-am prior to the LIV Golf Team Championship at Doral.
Charles Laberge/LIV Golf
DORAL, Fla. — This week’s LIV Golf Team Championship is the eighth and final event in the Saudi-backed circuit’s inaugural season. Unlike the previous seven, there is no individual tournament being held, just a team competition that LIV officials tout as a key point of differentiation for the controversial start-up league. Similar to the previous events, however, is the large prize money payout: $50 million is up for grabs for the 48 players competing on the 12 teams at Trump National Doral outside Miami.
So how does it work? Here’s a primer on what’s in store for the next few days as LIV prepares to crown its team champ for 2022.
Where is it being played?
LIV Golf’s team finale is being played on the Blue Monster course at the resort owned by former President Donald Trump (who played in Thursday’s pro-am and is expected to be at the event all week). The course used to play host to a popular PGA Tour event, on in which LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson all were past winners. The Blue Monster is relatively flat but heavy on palm trees and water hazards, with the course able to be stretched out to 7,702 yards.
What is the format being used?
This team event starts by incorporating match play but the structure of the competition is unique—and potentially confusing. On Friday, when Round 1 is being contested, teams that earned the top four seeds during the course of the season—4 Aces, Crushers, Fireballs and Stinger—receive byes. The remaining eight teams, seeding 5-12, will compete in head-to-head match-play bracket, and the highest-ranked teams having selected their opponents. For each team match-up, three points are at stake: two singles matches and one alternate-shot (foursomes) match. All 32 players among those eight teams will compete simultaneously in a shotgun start.
On Saturday, during Round 2, the format is the same. The four top seeds that received byes will choose from among the four teams that won their matches on Friday. The head-to-head match-ups will again consist of three matches (two singles, one foursomes).
On Sunday, the four remaining teams compete for the team title. However, all 16 players from the four teams will play stroke play. All four players’ scores will count for their team score.
Team captains helped choose the match-ups for Friday's Round 1 match-ups.
Jonathan Ferrey/LIV Golf
Who is playing who on Friday?
Among the more interesting of the matches on Day 1 is reigning Open champion Cameron Smith facing off against six-time major winner Phil Mickelson. Smith is 29 and in the prime of his career while Mickelson is 52 and has broken 70 in only eight rounds from 21 on the LIV circuit. On paper, the Aussie should win easily, but match play is a different beast.
Here are the individual and foursomes matches for Friday:
Smash vs. Niblicks
Brooks Koepka vs. Harold Varner III
Peter Uihlein vs. James Piot
Chase Koepka/Jason Kokrak vs. Turk Pettit/Hudson Swafford
Majesticks vs. Iron Heads
Ian Poulter vs. Kevin Na
Lee Westwood vs. Sihwan Kim
Sam Horsfield/Henrik Stenson vs. Phachara Khongwatmai/Sadom Kaewkanjana
Torque vs. Cleeks
Joaquin Niemann vs. Martin Kaymer
Jed Morgan vs. Laurie Canter
Adrian Otaegui/Scott Vincent vs. Graeme McDowell/Richard Bland
Hy Flyers vs. Punch
Phil Mickelson vs. Cameron Smith
Matthew Wolff vs. Marc Leishman
Bernd Wiesberger/Cameron Tringale vs. Matt Jones/Wade Ormsby
How is the $50 million being divvied up?
Again, there is no individual title at stake but LIV wants its inaugural season to go out with a bang, which is why it doubled the purse offered at its previous events. The winning team among the 12 will receive $16 million split among the four team members. Second place is worth $8 million, third place worth $6 million and fourth place worth $4 million. The four teams that lose on Saturday each get $3 million and the four teams eliminated on Friday each receive $1 million.
Bryson DeChambeau plays during Thursday's pro-am at Trump National Doral.
Chris Trotman/LIV Golf