LIV Golf took a big step toward making good on its growth projections in the professional game, revealing plans for 2024 that will feature player trades, a player draft and free agency.
Players who finish among the top 24 in LIV Golf’s individual standings will qualify for the “lock zone” and secure their status on tour. Nos. 25-44 whose contracts are expiring will become free agents in the “open zone,” and Nos. 45 and lower will be relegated out of the league via the “drop zone” but qualify for the end-of-year LIV Golf Promotions tournament – think Q-School on other tours – and have a chance to play their way back onto the tour.
Last month, the Saudi-funded upstart tour, which recently completed its second season, announced a pathway to tour membership via the inaugural LIV Golf Promotions event next month in Abu Dhabi.
The latest moves coincide with LIV Golf’s attempt to build value for its 12 franchises, much like teams in other professional sports leagues.
However, LIV Golf enters the new year without the benefit of Official World Golf Ranking points, so its members continue to slide in the world order. Unless they already hold tournament exemptions or are a past champion, more LIV Golf members likely will be absent from the four major championships in 2024. READ MORE
American Andy Ogletree earned a LIV Golf spot for 2024 when he clinched the Asian Tour’s International Series Order of Merit. Ogletree, 25, who won International Series events in Qatar and England this season, is a three-time winner on the Asian Tour and the 2019 U.S. Amateur champion. READ MORE
Australia proved to be such a big hit for LIV Golf that the tour intends to return in 2024. LIV Golf Adelaide will be played April 26-28 at Grange Golf Club, the site of the tour’s Down Under debut last spring. LIV Golf has not released its full 2024 schedule. READ MORE
Tiger Woods says he has “absolutely zero issue” with his surgically repaired right ankle as the last exemption in next month’s Hero World Challenge remains open for him, but his return to competition for the first time since the spring remains uncertain, he told Associated Press golf writer Doug Ferguson in a rare one-on-one interview.
Woods, who will turn 48 on December 30, underwent ankle fusion surgery in April amid ongoing issues with his right leg, which was mangled in a single-car rollover crash in 2021.
“My ankle is fine,” said Woods, who reportedly has been practicing near his home in Jupiter, Florida. “Where they fused my ankle, I have absolutely zero issue whatsoever. That pain is completely gone. It’s the other areas that have been compensated for.”
Play in the Hero World Challenge, a PGA Tour exhibition that benefits his foundation and features an elite 20-man field, would require Woods to walk 72 holes on November 30-December 3 at Albany in the Bahamas. More likely, he will play in the PNC Championship two weeks later with 14-year-old son Charlie. Because the tournament is sanctioned by the Champions Tour, Woods would be able to ride a cart in the 36-hole exhibition. Woods caddied 54 holes for his son in a national junior tournament last week, walking and carrying Charlie’s bag. Any comeback schedule is certain to have a circle around the second week in April and the Masters, which he has won five times. READ MORE
Speaking on CNBC last week with PGA Tour star Rory McIlroy by his side, Fenway Sports Group chairman Tom Werner told the business-news network his private-investment group has “had conversations” with the tour about investing in a proposed for-profit business associated with the tour. READ MORE
Angel Cabrera, a two-time major champion, is practicing again since having been paroled recently after serving 30 months’ incarceration in Brazil and his native Argentina on two domestic-violence convictions. He intends to petition the Champions Tour for reinstatement, longtime coach Charlie Epps told Golfweek’s Adam Schupak. Cabrera, 54, won the 2007 U.S. Open and the 2009 Masters. READ MORE
TGL will use a shot clock, allow timeouts and employ referees as the tech-infused golf league released more details about the competition ahead of its inaugural season, which begins in January. The three-on-three, 15-hole matches will feature some of the PGA Tour’s biggest names, including TGL co-owners Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, in prime time on Monday nights at the SoFi Center in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. READ MORE
Tiger Woods will be a TGL player-owner as his TGR Ventures joins investor David Blitzer to form the ownership group behind the league’s sixth and final team. Woods is the first player introduced for the Jupiter Links Golf Club team. READ MORE
PGA Tour Americas will play a 16-tournament schedule spanning eight countries across Latin America, the U.S. and Canada, the parent PGA Tour announced. Each stop on the merged Latinoamérica/Canada developmental tour will feature a $225,000 purse, and the top 10 players in the season standings will earn spots on the Korn Ferry Tour. READ MORE
R.H. Sikes, a two-time PGA Tour winner and former NCAA champion at the University of Arkansas, died Nov. 2 in his hometown of Springdale, Arkansas, according to his alma mater. He was 83.
Richard Horace Sikes was one of the game’s top amateurs of the early 1960s, winning U.S. Amateur Public Links titles in 1961 and ’62 and the 1963 NCAA Championship before finishing runner-up to future PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman in the ’63 U.S. Amateur. Sikes represented the U.S. on winning teams at the 1962 Eisenhower Trophy, 1963 Walker Cup and 1963 Americas Cup.
In 1964, he was named the PGA Tour’s rookie of the year. He made 204 cuts in 281 career starts, including 43 top-10 finishes, and was regarded as one of the game’s all-time greatest putters. READ MORE
Dale Reid, a native Scot who won 21 times on the Ladies European Tour and was regarded as one of the circuit’s most beloved members, died November 8 at her home in Townsville, Queensland, Australia, after a struggle with cancer, the LET reported. She was 64.
Reid won the LET’s Order of Merit twice in the 1980s and represented Europe in four Solheim Cup matches in the 1990s. She also captained Europe in two Solheim Cups, including the victorious 2000 match at Loch Lomond in Scotland. READ MORE
Revisions to the World Handicap System that will accommodate scores from short courses and nine-hole rounds go into effect January 1, the USGA and the R&A announced. The changes are part of a wide-ranging update to the WHS via the governing bodies’ review of the Rules of Handicapping and the Course Rating System. READ MORE
Vasatorps Golf Club in Helsingborg, Sweden, will host the 2024 Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed, a mixed-team event co-sanctioned by the DP World and Ladies European tours. The dates will be June 6-9. Vasatorps owns a rich five-decade history of European tournament golf, with a roster of winners that includes the late Seve Ballesteros and Annika Sörenstam. READ MORE
Data released last week revealed that the biggest professional tournaments in Great Britain and Ireland experienced a significant surge in ticket sales and spectator numbers in 2023 compared with pre-pandemic levels. The figures showed that the Open at Royal Liverpool recorded a 30 percent increase in spectator numbers from the last visit to the Hoylake course, in 2014; that the AIG Women’s Open at Walton Heath was up 53 percent from last year; that the DP World Tour enjoyed a 43 percent increase in revenue from general admission and premium hospitality; and that the Ladies European Tour also witnessed improved spectator numbers. READ MORE
Topgolf Callaway Brands cut its full-year sales and profit outlook, citing what CEO Chip Brewer called a “challenging” third quarter and a weak fourth-quarter outlook. The company owns Topgolf entertainment centers and manufactures Callaway golf equipment, among other golf-related holdings. READ MORE and MORE
Compiled by Steve Harmon