fter months of controversial build-up and speculation, the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series finally got underway on Friday in London.
The 48-man field was finalised on Monday night as Phil Mickelson’s participation was confirmed, bringing an end to his self-imposed exile away from the sport.
Mickelson missed the first two majors of the year, following his decision to take a break in February after making comments that criticised the Saudi regime but stated his desire to use the breakaway opportunity to gain leverage over the PGA Tour.
He’s joined in London by Dustin Johnson, who is reportedly receiving $150m to play in the series. The former world number one has resigned his membership of the PGA Tour, a move which would prevent him playing in future Ryder Cups as it stands.
Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel carded a five-under par round of 65 to take the lead on the first of three days of golf’s divisive new series.
When is the first event of LIV Golf Series?
The LIV Golf Series got underway on Friday with the inaugural event at Centurion Club in St Albans.
It is a 54-hole event, started on Friday and runs through until the end of the final round on Saturday evening. Play gets underway each day at 2pm BST, with all players teeing off at the same time on different holes in a shotgun start.
How to watch LIV Golf Series
TV channel: No official TV broadcaster has been confirmed for the series yet.
Live stream: All the action will be streamed for free on the LIV Golf Series Facebook page and YouTube channel, and also on the official website.
LIV Golf Series format
The tournaments are 54-hole, no-cut events with a shotgun start. For this week’s tournament in London, black cabs will drive every player to their starting holes.
As usual, the player shooting the lowest score over the three rounds will win the individual competition.
Alongside that, there is also a team element. The 48 players in the field have also been divided into teams, with 12 team captains selected by tournament organisers. Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Ian Poulter are among the captains – you can see the teams in full here.
For the first two rounds, each team’s lowest two scores will count towards the overall total, with the lowest three used for the final round. Those will then be combined to decide the winning team for each event.
LIV Golf Series prize money
For the first seven tournaments on the schedule there will be a $25m prize fund, $5m of which is for the team event.
In terms of the individual prize money, the winner of each tournament will earn $4m while whoever comes second will still take home more than $2m.
A tenth-placed finish is good enough for $560,000, whoever comes 20th will earn $200,000 and the player who finishes last in 48th will take home $120,000.
On top of that, the winning team of each event will equally split $3m, with $1.5m to the team that comes second and $500,000 to those in third.
The eighth and final event in October is a team matchplay tournament. The winning team will split $16m between four players, while even the team that finishes last will share $1m.
At the end of the year, whoever comes out on top in the overall individual championship across all events will take home $18m, with the runner-up getting $8m and the third-placed player earning $4m.
LIV Golf Series schedule
LIV Golf London, Centurion Club: June 9-11
LIV Golf Portland, Pumpkin Ridge: June 30 – July 2
LIV Golf Bedminster, Trump National: July 29-31
LIV Golf Boston, Greater Boston: September 2-4
LIV Golf Chicago, Rich Harvest Farms: September 16-18
LIV Golf Bangkok, Stonehill: October 7-9
LIV Golf Jeddah, Royal Greens: October 14-16
LIV Golf Miami, Trump National Doral: October 27-30
Selected odds for first LIV Golf Series event
Dustin Johnson 7/2
Louis Oosthuizen 9/1
Talor Gooch 9/1
Sergio Garcia 12/1
Kevin Na 14/1
Sam Horsfield 18/1
Ian Poulter 28/1
Lee Westwood 28/1
Phil Mickelson 28/1
Graeme McDowell 50/1
Odds via Betfair. Subject to change.