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LIV Golf: How to Bet, Tips, Odds and Betting Markets

Written by: Matt Cooper
Updated October 14, 2022
15 min read
Liv Golf How To Bet Tips Odds Betting Markets Charl Schwartzel

How Does LIV Golf Work?

LIV Golf has a very different format to most golf tournaments.

The standard procedure on the PGA and DP World Tours is 72-holes (four rounds) with a 156 man field, all of them starting from one (and sometimes two) tees.

In contrast, LIV Golf boasts a field of just 48 players, only 54-holes (three rounds) and it utilises a shotgun starts.

Have you made the connection? “LIV” is Roman numerals for 54 – the number of holes they play.

You might also wonder what a shotgun start is: it is when everyone in the field is on the course at the same time, starting from different tees, therefore the action finishes in around four to five hours rather than lasting all day.

There is another distinction in LIV Golf – the teams.

In this first year of LIV there has been some confusion, both from the organisers and those looking on.

The ultimate aim is 12 teams based on the franchise model in American sport (NFL, NBA), Formula One and IPL cricket.

When that starts there should be some consistency within team captains and line-ups throughout the year.

In the first year, as the organisers made alterations the teams were haphazard with changes taking place ahead of every event.

The 12 teams are: 4 Aces GC, Cleeks GC, Crushers GC, Fireballs GC, Hy Flyers GC, Iron Heads GC, Majesticks GC, Niblicks GC, Punch GC, Smash GC, Stinger GC and Torque GC.

Each team has a captain and three players join him following a draft. For the first two rounds the best two stroke play scores count, in the final round three do.

In the final event of the season, the Team Championship, there is a four round match play bracket. The teams are seeded ahead of the action with the top four teams earning a bye through to the last eight.

The first seven tournaments have an individual prize pot of $20 million ($4 million to the winner) with an additional $5 million available in the team event.

At the conclusion of the first seven events a further $30 million is divided up between the top three performers for the season (a minimum of four starts).

In the Team Championship there is another $50 million up for grabs ($16 million for top spot).

It’s probably worth adding that LIV Golf could change – the situation is fluid and uncertain.

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LIV Golf History

In the 1990s Australian golfing legend Greg Norman was keen to start a world tour but his plans did not go down well with the traditional PGA Tour.

Together with the other major golf tours, the PGA Tour created the World Golf Championship, a series of events what were designed to take elite golfers around the world.

It was widely viewed as a counter to Norman’s ideas and Norman himself was unhappy that his notion had been taken, undersold and that the status quo was little changed.

Fast forward and, since about 2018, there have been rumours of impending change at the top of the game, with at least two ventures looking to create a league or team style competition.

At the end of 2021 and in early 2022 LIV Golf emerged as the first real contender, backed by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) which was also behind the takeover of Newcastle United Football Club in the English Premier League.

In March 2021 LIV Golf announced a $250 million eight-event invitational series with Chief Executive Officer Norman adding that a further $1.6 billion would be invested to turn this into a 12-event league from 2024.

In May 2022, at the Centurion Club near London, ahead of the first event at the same venue, Norman hosted a press conference.

Among those present was Sean Bratches, LIV’s chief commercial officer and well-respected following his time transforming the fortunes of ESPN and F1.

When asked about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which the FBI has linked to the Saudi government, Norman said:

Look, we all make mistakes.

The comment flew around the world and shortly afterwards Bratches left LIV Golf.

Already controversial, LIV Golf was about to get more so.

LIV Golf Controversy

It is not only the source of the money (Saudi Arabia) which is contentious.

The golfers who join are also risking looking exceptionally avaricious with such vast amounts of money being thrown around.

But there is also a threat to the status quo. Those at the PGA Tour and DP World Tour perceive LIV as contenders rather than a circuit that can run alongside them. Norman says otherwise.

On the one hand those leading the traditional tours want to keep what they have; they are also seeking to protect the sport from being taken over by a private enterprise. There is a fear that the PIF is answerable only to itself and that, if it decided to go elsewhere having provoked huge change, it would threaten the sport’s future.

Ahead of the first event there were warnings from the PGA Tour that any members taking part would be banned and that is what happened. Big names made the change nonetheless: the likes of Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson from America, and Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood from Europe.

Most of these golfers are in the latter stages of their careers, but Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed have also joined the rebels. So have youngsters such as Carlos Ortiz, Matthew Wolff, Talor Gooch and Laurie Canter.

Mickelson is perhaps the most shocking inclusion because it was revealed in early 2022 that he had told the American journalist Alan Shipnuck that the Saudis were “scary motherf***ers” to deal with. Briefly, his involvement in LIV was curtailed, but he returned to the fold.

Another big name signing was the Swede Henrik Stenson, who lost the Ryder Cup captaincy of Europe in 2023 as a consequence. He then won the third LIV event.

At the 150th Open, shortly after winning the Claret Jug, Cameron Smith was asked if he was joining LIV and gave a curt response without refuting the idea – it revealed just what strange times the sport was in.

The third event was held at Donald Trump’s Bedminster course and the final event will be at his Trump National Doral – that adds further potential for disputes and news headlines.

Throughout all of the troubles Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods have been outspoken in their criticism of LIV Golf.

McIlroy has had doubts about the investors and has indulged in squabbles with Norman. Thomas and Woods have insisted that only traditional golf – and 72-hole golf – can permit a career to be deemed worthwhile.

Ahead of the 2021/22 Tour Championship, Woods and McIlroy hosted a get together among players, then the PGA Tour announced a series of events that focused on the elite players, a clear and rather obvious counter to the LIV Golf threat.

Meanwhile, the various bodies on either side of the argument have hired numerous law firms and the sport is set to be plunged into an ugly litigious fight for the foreseeable future.

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Where is LIV Golf Played?

In season one, the events have taken place in London (Centurion Club), Portland (Pumpkin Ridge), Bedminster (Trump Bedminster), Boston (The International), Chicago (Rich Harvest Farms), Bangkok (Stonehill), Jeddah (Royal Greens) and Miami (Trump National Doral).

In each of these week it pays to take careful note of the conditions.

Key to gaining an edge is to identify grass type (both on the fairways and in the rough, as well as on the greens), course designer, course type, altitude, course set-up and other considerations.

Perhaps contrary to initial expectations the courses have not been set up as easy birdie-fests.

But there has been a sense that the team ethic has helped certain golfers – the first two winners were Charl Schwartzel and Branden Grace, both South Africans who enjoyed the camaraderie of being in an all-Springbok team.

How do Players Qualify for LIV Golf?

Most tour golf events have a field made up mostly of members who have qualified at the Qualifying School, on feeder tours or with wins. The major championships, meanwhile, have a field of players who have earned the right to play via similar means to the above, plus performances elsewhere, in the world rankings and in qualifying events.

LIV Golf fields are mostly made up of invitations and the situation is ever-changing because their membership is on the rise.

How to Bet on LIV Golf?

The obvious starting point is the tournament result: you can back a player to win, to place (top five, top ten, etc.) or each way (half the stake on the win, half on the place).

Beyond that there are a number of other alternatives.

First Round Leader is a very popular market, as are group options: Top American or Top European, for example.

You can also back one player over another in 54-hole and 18-hole match bets which are mythical contests in the sense that the players don’t know they have been pitted against one another.

In each round there will also be two or three ball contests relating to the official tee times groupings.

Currently team betting has not been a feature but that might change with the team line-ups settling down.

DraftKings and FanDuel have been offering odds but, as with the new venture, it is a very fluid and ever-changing situation. Because the circuit has no official arbiter it has caused some problems for books. Some state regulators and commissions are yet to permit betting on LIV Golf.

LIV Golf can be viewed for free on the LIV Golf website and also on YouTube.

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Matt Cooper

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Matt Cooper has been a sports journalist since 2009 with his work appearing at ESPN, Sky Sports, NBC, Sporting Life and the Planet Sport Network among many others, in addition to guest appearances on the BBC and CNN. Although a specialist in golf, who has traveled the world to cover the sport, Matt has also covered rugby, cricket, football and the Olympics.

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