Jacques van der Westhuyzen

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

OPINION: Shaking things up, LIV Golf is as enticing as it is controversial

Several big-name players, including eight South Africans, will tee it up in the first event of the new series.

Whatever your thoughts on the matter, LIV Golf is sure to change the game as we know it.

The controversial series gets underway at the Centurion Club in London on Thursday, with 48 invited players set to tee it up at the first event of eight in the new series that has rocked golf to its core.

The Saudi-backed series, where R385-million will be played for this week, with the winner walking off with R61.6-million, has caused all sorts of controversy because the funding is coming from a country that doesn’t have a very good human rights record.

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Several big-name players, including Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood and eight South Africans – including Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Branden Grace – will tee it up on Thursday, some of them having quit the PGA Tour.

It is a series like no other, and while the money on offer is surely the biggest drawcard, the format is also something that has excited the players. Each event will be played over only 54 holes, there is no cut and everyone goes off at the same time – a shotgun start.

It is certainly something different, and it’s not surprising the PGA Tour and golf aficionados are not happy. Golf is a sport where tradition is almost set in stone and anything that bucks the trend is frowned upon, and LIV Golf is changing the game for sure.

ALSO READ: Golf’s divisive LIV series prepares to tee off

How it will affect the Majors down the line, as well as world ranking points and team competitions, we don’t yet know, but the idea of players being “free agents” to pick and choose where they want to play, how often they want to play and for what money is surely their choice.

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With no restrictions in place, perhaps we’ll get lucky and see some big-name players in future teeing it up in South Africa. But then again, who locally will be able to put up the kind of money here that we’re talking about in LIV Golf?

Most golf fans will probably welcome the new series; it gives them something new to watch, something very different from the PGA Tour and DP World Tour.

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