The LIV Golf Invitational Series is back this week for its third event, and second in the United States, at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey.
While the Saudi Arabian-backed golf venture is slowly picking up new golfers, and is making plans to expand next year, the controversy surrounding the league hasn’t gone away.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the tournament this weekend.
How to watch
LIV Golf still doesn’t have a television deal in the United States, but the tournament will be streamed for free on the league’s YouTube and Facebook pages, as well as LivGolf.com.
The tournament runs Friday through Sunday, and the shotgun start each day will begin at 1:15 ET.
Who are the team captains?
Most team captains are the same as they were in Oregon, but there are a few changes this week in New Jersey.
4 Aces - Dustin Johnson
Niblicks - Hudson Swafford
Majestics - Lee Westwood
Iron Heads - Kevin Na
Stinger - Louis Oosthuizen
Cleeks - Martin Kaymer
Crushers - Bryson DeChambeau
Hy Flyers - Phil Mickelson
Fire Balls - Sergio Garcia
Smash - Brooks Koepka
Torque - Hideto Tanihara
Punch - Wade Ormsby
How much does the winning team make?
Each regular season LIV event has a purse of $25 million.
Of that, $5 million will be split between the top three teams, with the top team receiving $3 million. The remaining $20 million will be split individually, with the first-place winner earning $4 million and the last-place finisher receiving $120,000.
By comparison, The Players Championship offers a purse of $20 million, which is the most in any single event on PGA Tour outside of the Tour Championship.
Who is new in the field this week?
There are several new notable golfers in the field this week in New Jersey.
Jason Kokrak, Paul Casey, Charles Howell and Henrik Stenson will all make their LIV debuts at Bedminster.
Kokrak, Casey and Howell all spoke to reporters Wednesday, and Casey defended Saudi Arabia amid accusations of sportswashing and widespread human rights abuses — which was a stark change from his opinion on the country a few years ago.
The move to LIV was costly for Stenson. He was stripped of his Ryder Cup captaincy earlier this month, leaving a vacant top spot for Team Europe ahead of the 2023 competition.
Sergio Garcia is again in the field. While he has committed to LIV for weeks now, Garcia said earlier this month that he was planning to officially cut ties with the DP World Tour, where the Spaniard is apparently not feeling the love anymore.
Bubba Watson is reportedly set to join the league at its next event in Boston in September. An official announcement is expected this week.
Longtime golf analyst David Feherty is expected to help cover the event this week, too. Feherty split with NBC last week, just after he finished covering the British Open.
What about Donald Trump?
The event this week has drawn more attention, and criticism, than normal thanks to the course's location.
The tournament is being held at former President Donald Trump’s Bedminster golf club, the very course that was stripped of holding this year’s PGA Championship. The course sits about 50 miles from New York City, which has sparked massive backlash and protests from the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Trump will play in the pro-am Thursday alongside Caitlyn Jenner and Charles Barkley.
Trump has advocated for PGA Tour golfers to make the jump to LIV to get ahead of a potential “merger,” though there isn’t any reported discussion of such a merger happening.
Charles Barkley to LIV Golf?
NBA Hall of Famer and analyst Charles Barkley will actually be in the pro-am field this week in New Jersey.
Though Barkley is nowhere near as good as anyone else in the real field, Barkley’s appearance at the event comes amid talk that he may join the league as a broadcaster. He said earlier this week that it would take about $60 million a year — which is about three times what he is making now — to get him to join the league. He also said he was giving LIV a Thursday deadline to make the offer, so that he doesn’t “keep TNT in limbo.”
As for the criticism the league has faced, Barkley blames it on “selective outrage.” He also has spoken with several of his major sponsors, who seemed concerned.
“I told [LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman],” Barkley said last week. “’Listen, they are making up words, like ‘blood money’ and ‘sports washing.’ I said, ‘We have all taken ‘blood money’ and we all have ‘sports washed’ something so I don’t like those words, to be honest with you.’
“If you are in pro sports, you are taking some type of money from not a great cause.”