Louis Oosthuizen Set To Be Highest-Ranked Player In Saudi League Opener

The World No.15 is set to headline the LIV Golf Invitational Series opener at Centurion Club in June

Louis Oosthuizen at the Players Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

According to a report in the Telegraph, former Open Champion and World No.15 Louis Oosthuizen is set to be the top-ranked player at the first LIV Golf Invitational Series event at the Centurion Club in June.

Since turning professional in 2002, the 39-year-old has amassed 14 victories in his career to date. His career is perhaps best defined by his runaway victory at St Andrews where he finished seven shots ahead of Lee Westwood en route to lifting the Claret Jug. The South African has also finished runner-up in each of the four Major championships and reached a career-high of fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking.

News of Oosthuizen's inclusion comes following revelations from LIV Golf Investments CEO, Greg Norman, that 15 of the top-100 in the Official World Golf Ranking will tee it up at the Saudi-backed Series opener. 

Whilst there are player confidentiality agreements in place, it is said that more than 70 players have registered their interest, including former Masters champion and Ryder Cup stalwart, Sergio Garcia. The Spaniard has applied to the PGA Tour for a release to play in the $25m tournament, according to the Telegraph.

Garcia's involvement casts a doubt over his potential future Ryder Cup involvement after the DP World Tour issued a plea to its players to stay loyal to the status quo. Keith Pelley, the Tour Chief, sent an email to around 200 players warning those that take part in the Series will jeopardise the "heritage events" on the Tour. In February, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan reportedly told his members to "walk out that door now" if they were considering teeing it up in the Series.

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Among those also expected to make the journey is the oldest Major champion in history, Phil Mickelson. Lefty has registered to defend his PGA Championship title next month and has also requested a formal release from the PGA Tour to compete in the opening LIV Golf Invitational Series event.

The six-time Major champion has not played a competitive event since the Saudi International in February following controversial comments that his role in the Series was purely for "leverage" against the PGA Tour. In a public apology, the American said he was taking time away from the game and subsequently missed the Masters, a tournament he has won three times, for the first time since 1994.

The likes of Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Kevin Na are among those likely to take part in the first event of the Series. World No.1053, Robert Garrigus, confirmed his involvement last week. 

The LIV Golf Invitational Series will comprise of eight tournaments – seven regular events and a season-closing Team Championship tournament, which is said to be held at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster. Each of the regular events will feature three rounds with no cut, and with play commencing by shotgun start. There will be a team format with no more than 48 players making up of 12 teams of four, with the teams drafted each week. The Series hopes to entice players with a huge $25m purse at each of the first seven tournaments, and a $50m purse in the finale.

James Hibbitt

James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.