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Previewing LIV Golf and its first event in London this week

Breven Honda
Syndication: Detroit Free Press
Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

The game of golf has grown dramatically over the last two decades. That now includes a new circuit called LIV Golf, which starts this week in London.

The inaugural tournament for LIV Golf kicks off Thursday for first round action at the Centurion Club in London, England. Golfers will be dealt with fescue grasses that cover both the greens and fairways as well as pines that line the rough and deep rough areas on the course.

LIV, which refers to the roman numerals: L, I and V, adding up 54, equals that each tournament will consist of 54 holes or three rounds of play.  

The first seven LIV Golf tournaments on the 8-event schedule this year will consist of not only individual competition, but also team play.

The player with the lowest score through 54 holes is the individual winner.

In the team aspect, the two best stroke play scores will count for each team across the first two rounds. In Saturday’s final round, the top three scores will count.

Before each tournament, a draft will take place to determine each of the 12 teams.

The first round begins at 9:00 a.m. EST/2:00 p.m. BST on Thursday with shotgun starts as all 12 teams begin at the same time on different holes around the course.

In the 48-player field this week, 13 countries are represented across multiple golf tours around the world, including the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour.

Talor Gooch, who received his first win on the PGA Tour last November at the RSM Classic, said the first tournament for LIV Golf gives the game a worldwide atmosphere as players are at both the beginning and ending stages of their golf careers.

“We were kind of looking at the roster and thinking about what the teams could look like after the draft tonight,” the 30-year-old Gooch said to the media Tuesday morning. “It’s exciting, especially having kids of all ages, kids that are still doing some homework and everything in between.

“So, it’s cool (to see this) as a world sport and to see guys from all over the world here, it shows you how good the game is right now and it shows how bright the future is.”

Gooch was named one of 12 captains headlining this event, along with fellow Americans Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Kevin Na, to name a few.

Na said the caliber of players in this field will increase the competition with their experiences playing in some the of game’s top tournaments.

“I think the field is really good, especially for the first one,” Na said Tuesday morning to the media. “I know it’s only going to get better. You’ve got major champions, guys all over the world from all the top guys on each tour playing and I think it’s a good mixture of age, the different tours and I think it’s going to create a lot of excitement.”

Hours after Gooch and Na’s press conference, the LIV Golf draft to decide all 12 teams commenced with 2010 U.S. Open Champion Graeme McDowell selecting Bernd Wiesberger as the first pick.

LIV Golf teams for this weekend

dustin johnson liv golf
Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Here are the 12 teams for the first event:

4 Aces GC

  1. Dustin Johnson (Captain)
  2. Shaun Norris
  3. Oliver Bekker
  4. Kevin Yuan

HY Flyers GC

  1. Phil Mickelson (Captain)
  2. Justin Harding
  3. Ratchanon “TK” Chantananuwat (amateur)
  4. Chase Koepka

Punch GC

  1. Wade Ormsby(Captain)
  2. Matt Jones
  3. Ryosuke Kinoshita
  4. Blake Windred

Cleeks GC

  1. Martin Kaymer (Captain)
  2. Pablo Larrazabal
  3. JC Ritchie
  4. Ian Snyman

Iron Heads GC

  1. Kevin Na (Captain)
  2. Sadom Kaewkanjana
  3. Hideto Tanihara
  4. Viraj Madappa

Smash GC

  1. Siham Kim (Captain)
  2. Scott Vincent
  3. Jinishiro Kozuma
  4. Itthipat Buranatanyarat

Crushers GC

  1. Peter Uihlein (Captain)
  2. Richard Bland
  3. Phachara Khongwatmai
  4. Travis Smith

Majestics GC

  1. Ian Poulter (Captain)
  2. Lee Westwood
  3. Sam Horsfield
  4. Laurie Canter

Stinger GC

  1. Louis Oosthuizen (Captain)
  2. Hennie Du Plessis
  3. Charl Schwartzel
  4. Branden Grace

Fireballs GC

  1. Sergio Garcia (Captain)
  2. David Pugh (Amateur)
  3. James Piot (Amateur)
  4. Jediah Morgan

Niblicks GC

  1. Graeme McDowell (Captain)
  2. Bernd Wierberger
  3. Turk Pettit
  4. Oliver Bekker

Torque GC

  1. Taylor Gooch (Captain)
  2. Hudson Swafford
  3. Adrian Otaegui
  4. Andy Ogletree

With LIV Golf not yet having a television partnership with any major network or streaming service, the series will air on formats most golf fans have easy access to, including LIVGolf.com, YouTube and Facebook.