The Seven LIV Golf Players Dropped Ahead Of Season 2
Seven players have been dropped for the start of the 2023 LIV Golf season - but how did they fare in 2022 and what are they up to now?
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Following months of speculation, the team line-ups for the start of the 2023 LIV Golf season have been confirmed, with six new signings and one returning player.
Spaniard David Puig is back after it was announced that he had turned professional and fully signed up to LIV Golf last September. Meanwhile, Mito Pereira, Sebastian Munoz, Dean Burmester, Brendan Steele, Danny Lee and Thomas Pieters will be participating for the first time. Of course, given the limited 48-player fields for each tournament, that means seven players have stepped aside - at least for the start of the season.
Wade Ormsby played in every tournament last season, but of the seven regular events, his tie for 22nd in the opener at London’s Centurion Club was as good as it got for the Australian.
Ormsby’s underwhelming form has largely continued on other tours in recent months. He competed on the DP World Tour for its two tournaments in his homeland, in conjunction with the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia, but he could only finish tied for 34th at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship and missed the cut in the ISPS Handa Australian Open the next week.
Since then, he’s played three Asian Tour events, including two in the International Series, with his best result a tie for 36th in the International Series Oman.
Another ever-present was Englishman Laurie Canter, and he hit a purple patch during the season, finishing tied for eighth in Chicago before responding with a tie for 10th in the following tournament in Bangkok. That wasn’t enough to persuade the powers-that-be that he was worthy of the start in 2023, though.
Like Ormsby, Canter has plied his trade on the DP World Tour and Asian Tour since October’s Team Championship at Trump National Doral. His most eye-catching result was an impressive third in December’s Alfred Dunhill Championship on the DP World Tour.
Sadom Kaewkanjana is one of two players moving on from Kevin Na’s Iron Heads GC. The high point of his season came with a tie for 13th in Boston. Kaewkanjana also performed reasonably well in his homeland for the Bangkok tournament, with a tie for 20th.
The fact Kaewkanjana doesn’t start the 2023 season is surprising because, at World No.76, he’s currently ranked higher than three of the new signings, Sebastian Munoz, Brendan Steele and Danny Lee.
He’s had some excellent results on the Asian Tour in recent months too, including a tie for second in the International Series Oman among several other top 10 finishes. His most impressive result of 2022, though, was undoubtedly his tie for 11th in the 150th Open at St Andrews.
The second Thai player to leave Iron Heads GC, Khongwatmai also achieved a highest finish of tied for 13th, this time in the Bedminster, New Jersey tournament. Meanwhile, in his homeland, Khongwatmai wasn't able to better his compatriot's finish, and instead had to settle for a tie for 27th.
Like Kaewkanjana, Khongwatmai has been playing on the Asian Tour since the end of the last season, but he's not been quite as impressive. Still, he finished fourth in his most recent event, the International Series Qatar, which was won by another player who once teed it up with LIV Golf, Andy Ogletree.
Hennie Du Plessis
South African Hennie du Plessis got his LIV Golf career off to a flying start, finishing second in London and winning $2.125m for his efforts. At that point, he would be forgiven for thinking that, like the previous four players, he would be an ever-present in the inaugural season.
It wasn’t to be. Du Plessis played the next two tournaments, finishing tied for 29th and tied for 44th, and wasn’t seen again until the season-closing Team Championship, where his Stinger GC team went out at the semi-final stage.
Du Plessis has been flitting between the DP World Tour and Asian Tour since, where his best result was a tie for ninth with his compatriot and Stinger GC teammate Charl Schwartzel on the DP World Tour’s South African Open in December.
Like Du Plessis, Spaniard Adrian Otaegui got his LIV Golf career off to a fine start, finishing tied for sixth in London, but he only lasted one more tournament, finishing 21st in Portland, before stepping aside.
For a time, it looked as though it would be the last we saw of him on the circuit. However, after cruising to victory in the DP World Tour’s Andalucia Masters at Valderrama in October, where he won by six shots, it seemed to be the catalyst for his return to action in the Team Championship later that month. However, his Torque GC team didn’t get further than the quarter-finals.
Since then, Otaegui has continued on the DP World Tour, where the closest he has come to repeating his success in Spain is a runner-up finish in December’s Alfred Dunhill Championship.
One of the strongest-looking teams for 2023 is Bubba Watson’s Range Goats GC (formerly Niblicks GC), which also includes new signing Thomas Pieters, Harold Varner III and Talor Gooch. That means there’s no room for Turk Pettit despite his 100% record in tournament appearances in 2022. The best of those saw him finish tied the sixth in New Jersey – a bright spot in an otherwise mediocre campaign.
Pettit has played five times on the Asian Tour since the season closer, where his best finish was a tie for 19th in November’s International Series Morocco.
While each of the seven players left behind for the start of the 2023 season will have to continue elsewhere for the time being, it wouldn’t be surprising if some found their way back into future fields, particularly if their form demands it.
Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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