Saudi-backed tour to start in...


Saudi-backed tour to start in London a week before the US Open

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The Saudi-backed breakaway golf tour is set to begin in London in June. 

Dubbed the LIV Golf Invitational Series, it will consist of eight tournaments beginning at the Centurion Club - north of London - the week before the US Open.

Four of the first seven 'regular' tournaments will be staged in the United States.

Earlier in the day, LIV Investments CEO Greg Norman wrote to players asking them to keep "an open mind" regarding the venture, adding, "You should know that we are launching and we will continue to drive this vision forward."

The breakaway tour had been described as "dead in the water" by Rory McIlroy following a dreadful week PR-wise at the Genesis Invitational.

The likes of Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau publicly distanced themselves from the tour, while Phil Mickelson's comments to journalist Alan Shipnuck added an air of toxicity.

When asked by Shipnuck about the Saudis' appalling human rights record, Mickelson replied, "They're scary motherfuckers to get involved with.

"We know they killed [journalist, Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights.

"They execute people over there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates."

The sums being offered to those willing to risk lifetime bans from the PGA Tour and DP World Tour are indeed eye-watering.

A 48-man field will compete for a $25million (€22.7m) purse at the Centurion. Each event will be played over 54 holes instead of the regular 72, there will be no cuts, and shotgun starts.

"Our intention is to offer additional exciting tournaments in which you can play," Norman said.

"Golf, as with other sports, should be open to new and different formats that will be exciting, while increasing interest in the game.

"We plan to appeal to a younger fan base and minimize the wear and tear on your bodies to ensure you make the most of your career.

"In short, we will give fans more of what they want - more passion, more impact, more fun and more viewerships - for fans of all ages."

The complete schedule is as follows:

June 9-11: Centurion Golf Club, London, England
July 1-3: Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, Portland, Ore.
July 29-31: Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, Bedminster, N.J.
Sept. 2-4: The International, Boston, Mass.
Sept. 16-18: Rich Harvest Farms, Chicago, Ill.
Oct. 7-9: Stonehill Golf Club, Bangkok
Oct. 14-16: Royal Greens Golf Club, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Oct. 28-30: Team Championship, TBA

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Greg Norman LIV Golf Invitational Series LIV Investments Phil Mickelson Saudi Arabia Super Golf League

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