Why LIV Golf London Event Is Only Just The Start Of Disruption

The field for next week's event is out and it is a sign of disruption ahead in the men's game surrounding the PGA and DP World Tours and Ryder Cup

Lee Westwood and Dustin Johnson pictured
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The first $25m LIV Golf Invitational Series field is finally out in the public domain and there were a couple of surprises from the 42-man list.

Most notably, former World No.1 and two-time Major winner Dustin Johnson is the headline name despite him pledging his allegiance to the PGA Tour via a Tour-released statement in February.

“Over the past several months, there has been a great deal of speculation about an alternative tour; much of which seems to have included me and my future in professional golf," Johnson said. "I feel it is now time to put such speculation to rest. I am fully-committed to the PGA Tour. I am grateful for the opportunity to play on the best tour in the world and for all it has provided me and my family." 

Fast forward two-and-a-half months and DJ has defied orders of PGA Tour chief Jay Monahan and will tee it up in the Saudi-backed opener, in the same week as the RBC Canadian Open - with RBC saying that it is "extremely disappointed" that its ambassador is skipping the event. His inclusion was a shock but it's telling of what's to come. Remember that every PGA and DP World Tour player teeing it up is doing so following their release requests being declined.

Johnson may still see his future on the PGA Tour and, if so, he is clearly confident that any court proceedings would rule in favour of players being able to play where they want versus LIV Golf Invitational Series golfers facing bans from their home tours. In a public letter to Jay Monahan, Greg Norman said that the PGA Tour "can't ban players from playing golf."

The second surprise of the field release was the omission of Phil Mickelson, who may or may not still be on his way to the Centurion Club next week. LIV Golf only revealed 42 names, meaning six spots are still set to be filled. One of those may likely be taken by the six-time Major winner, who has applied for releases to all eight of the LIV Golf Invitational Series tournaments this year according to reports.

Lefty has missed both The Masters and his PGA Championship defence and has taken time away from golf after his controversial comments on the PGA Tour's "obnoxious greed" and how he used the Saudi league as "leverage" against the Tour to drive up purses and change the media rights landscape.

The field comes with an average world ranking of 230 with a mix of household names, Asian Tour players and three amateurs, but this is only the beginning. If LIV Golf can take the PGA Tour to court and win over the Tour's stance on banning players, then that's when the stars will flow through to the upcoming fields. The second LIV Golf event takes place in the US, which means that any PGA Tour players teeing it up (in an opposing tour's event in their home country) will be banned from the Tour - until any legal action has been taken, which it will.

On the DP World Tour side of things, there are a number of regulars like Richard Bland, Bernd Wiesberger, Pablo Larrazabal, Laurie Canter, Sam Horsfield and Oliver Fisher, all of whom will get the chance to win a cheque for $4m instead of playing in the $2m total purse Scandinavian Mixed, and they'll only have 47 other golfers to beat. Things have certainly changed.

Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell all appear to be risking their Ryder Cup captaincy future, too, with all three previously nailed on to captain Europe at some point in the future. There's surely more to come on that subject. Neither of the three were selected as the 2023 captain and none have been named as vice captains yet. Their inclusion in next week's field will have not gone down well with the DP World Tour hierarchy.

The field for next week's event is certainly a solid start for the series, with Major winners like Dustin Johnson, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, Charl Schwartzel and Graeme McDowell. This is only just the beginning you feel with court proceedings on the way.

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x