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What is LIV Golf like? Here are key differences for spectators

Updated February 7, 2024 - 3:36 pm

Las Vegas gets its first glimpse of LIV Golf starting Thursday. It promises to be a unique experience for spectators used to traditional tournaments.

Some of the differences fans will take in at Las Vegas Country Club include a small field, a team event, a shotgun start and a 54-hole event with live music piped throughout the course. LIV players claim it makes things more entertaining. They lean heavily on making it more like a golf outing with friends than what other tournaments offer.

“I think the fan experience here is a lot more fun. I think the player experience is more fun,” said two-time major champion Dustin Johnson, one of LIV’s main attractions. “We’ve got the music out on the range, some music out on the course. It’s kind of just trending to where golf is going right now, I think. When you’re at home playing with your buddies and you’ve got your music on, you’re having a good time. I think that’s what LIV is all about.”

LIV features 13 four-player teams, along with two wild cards playing as individuals. That makes for 54 players total. There’s also a shotgun start with threesomes starting on all 18 tees simultaneously. The arrangement allows for every player to be done in a little over four hours.

“I think that it’s cool for fans that come out here at 10 a.m. and they can be back at the casino table at 3,” said two-time major winner Martin Kaymer. “I think that’s a huge benefit that LIV has, that you don’t need to spend 12 hours on the golf course to see your favorite players play.”

All 54 players will warm up at the same time, giving fans a chance to catch everybody on the driving range or putting green before the round begins. Players are shuttled to their first hole a few minutes before the start and then play begins for everyone.

“I found it pretty entertaining,” said Jon Rahm, who made his LIV Golf debut last week. “It’s just funny how (we’re) warming up all at the same time, and then two minutes later everybody is gone.”

All 54 players are playing for the individual title and $4 million winner’s check from a $20 million purse, but a simultaneous team competition is also taking place. The top three scores from each team count the first two rounds, then all four scores count the final round. The winning team splits $3 million. Second earns $1.5 million and third $500,000.

Despite such huge sums of money – not to mention some of the astronomical signing bonuses handed out – players maintain competition remains at the center of everything.

“Certainly for the fans, they’re going to see some of the best players in the world play,” said DP World Tour veteran Richard Bland. “I think they can probably get a little bit closer to us, a little bit more sort of player-to-fan interaction for them this week, and just everything that comes with a tournament that LIV puts on.”

“The quality of golf I think is exceptional,” Johnson said. “The competition is exceptional. For me, if I want to come out here and win, I’ve got to play my best.”

Adrian Meronk, the reigning DP World player of the year who signed on with LIV just a week ago, said that was obvious when he played his first event last week. But it was the atmosphere that stood out for him.

“It’s definitely a more chilled vibe,” Meronk said.

Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. Reach him at grobertson@reviewjournal.com.

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