The LIV Series has divided the golf world – and even as it gets under way, it continues to do so.
We now know who will be pegging it up at this week’s curtain-raiser, which begins at Centurion Club on Thursday.
But some aspects and outcomes of the rebel circuit remain shrouded in mystery.
Here’s six questions which remain unanswered…
Who will be next to resign?
Kevin Na was first. Then it was Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace and Charl Schwartzel. Dustin Johnson dropped the bombshell on Tuesday that he had become the sixth player to quit the PGA Tour in favour of the LIV Series. But several of the big names, such as Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Talor Gooch, have not, at the time of writing, given up their PGA Tour membership. Na claimed he only did so to avoid the threat of legal action, and it remains to be seen whether any other stars follow suit.
What about the Ryder Cup?
It’s pretty clear – you have to be a member of the PGA Tour to represent the US in the Ryder Cup, while DP World Tour membership is a requirement for the Europeans. Under the current rules, Johnson is out of 2023. If the likes of Garcia was to quit the European circuit, he too would be ineligible. As far as players who have not resigned goes, the PGA Tour has reportedly promised to ban anyone who plays in the LIV Series, but the DP World Tour has been less vocal about its plans.
Are world ranking points available?
The International Federation of PGA Tours, which manages the world rankings, has not commented yet on whether points will be on offer. However, precedent suggests it is unlikely, as the series is effectively a “closed shop”.
What punishments are players facing?
The PGA Tour has allegedly threatened to ban any player who participates in the LIV Series – bans which would include appearances in the Ryder Cup. The DP World Tour’s refusal to grant releases to players suggests it holds a similar position.
Can the players who haven’t played on the PGA Tour do so in the future?
The tour hasn’t yet made any comment either way. However, there are a number of players in this position, including leading amateur James Piot and several Asian Tour stars. They may wish to have a crack at the PGA Tour further down the line – it’s not clear whether they would be blocked from doing so.
What about the long term?
Reports suggest the Saudi government has committed $2 billion to make the venture happen. However, given the vast appearance fees paid out to stars such as Mickelson and Johnson, not to mention the other costs a globetrotting international tour will inevitably rack up, that may not go very far. Players are yet to confirm whether they have received any assurances over the long-term feasability of the project.