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While LIV Golf continues to announce new signings, the list of cast offs, forced to make way for the big name additions, gets ever longer.
Itthipat Buranatanyarat, Shiwan Kim, Adrian Otaegui, Ian Snyman and Blake Windred are the latest to be sidelined - all five played in both previous LIV Golf Series events, but none of them are in the field for event three, LIV Golf Invitational Bedminster, which starts in New Jersey on Thursday.
They make way for the four new signings since the event at Pumpkin Ridge, Portland, won by Branden Grace earlier this month - Paul Casey, Henrik Stenson, Jason Kokrak and Charles Howell III - plus Spanish amateur David Puig, who returns having played the opener at the Centurion Club near London.
LIV events feature a shotgun start, so the maximum field-size would be 54, with three players starting on each hole. The fields are currently limited to 48, with the team element of the competition seeing them split into 12 teams of four. In the regular events, the $25million prizepools are divided into $20million for the individual tournament and $5million for the teams, with the top three teams being paid.
The five players cut from the New Jersey field follows nine players losing their LIV spots after the first event, though Puig has regained his. The eight to be cut after playing in the London event were Oliver Fisher, Viraj Madappa, Andy Ogletree, JC Ritchie, Kevin Yuan, Pablo Larrazabal, TK Chantananuwat and Oliver Bekker, with the likes of Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Abraham Ancer and Pat Perez joining up ready to take their places.
With fines and bans being handed out for players who take part in LIV Golf events, those losing their places are at risk of being left in golfing no man’s land. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan acted quickly to ban LIV players from his events as soon as LIV London got under way, though Ian Poulter was among a group of players to launch a legal challenge, which is still under way, and temporarily at least undo that ban so they could play in the Scottish Open, which was jointly sanctioned by the PGA and DP World Tours.
Some of those in the London field were permitted to play by the DP World Tour, having not entered that week’s Scandinavian Mixed event. Oliver Bekker took to Twitter to reveal that he and Oliver Fisher were among players to take part in the first LIV event with the DP World Tour’s blessing.
Bekker said: “Some of us were actually released by the DPWT, like myself and (Oliver)Fisher, and were allowed to play at Centurion. No fines, no sanctions, as we were not into the DPWT event in Sweden the same week at close of entries. Not a lot of people know this it seems.”
Bekker won $737,500 for his tied 6th finish at Centurion before heading back to the DP World Tour, where he has played three events since, banking just over €80,000 for finishing tied 98th in the BMW International Open, tied 16th in the Irish Open and tied 64th in last weekend’s Cazoo Classic.
Of the five players not included for the third LIV event in New Jersey having played the first two, Otaegui can think himself particularly unlucky, having earned over $900,000 for his impressive performances in London and Portland. The Spaniard shared sixth place in the maiden event with Bekker to bank $737,500 and took home another $180,000 for his 21st place at Pumpkin Ridge.
In comparison, he has earned under €60,000 on the DP World Tour in the three events since his LIV debut, the lion’s share of which came from his tied 42nd place finish at the Scottish Open, having been another of the players to receive a late reprieve after their legal challenge.
PGA Tour veteran Hunter Mahan has questioned the legality of banning players from future events and feels that a big court case is brewing if things continue the way they are.
Meanwhile LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman continues to expand the roster, revealing that he has been fielding calls from representatives of some of the game’s best players, all interested in joining up. That means not only are the 48 players in action at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster this week playing for a huge payday, they may also be playing for their LIV futures.
Jeff graduated from Leeds University in Business Studies and Media in 1996 and did a post grad in journalism at Sheffield College in 1997. His first jobs were on Slam Dunk (basketball) and Football Monthly magazines, and he's worked for the Sunday Times, Press Association and ESPN. He has faced golfing greats Sam Torrance and Sergio Garcia, but on the poker felt rather than the golf course. Jeff's favourite course played is Sandy Lane in Barbados, which went far better than when he played Matfen Hall in Northumberland, where he crashed the buggy on the way to the 1st tee!
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