LIV Golf unveils 14-event schedule with promotion and relegation for 2023

The LIV Golf Invitational Series has unveiled plans for a 14-tournament schedule in 2023, featuring 48 contracted players on 12 “established team franchises” and a system of promotion and relegation through its series of Asian Tour events.

The Saudi-funded breakaway circuit made the announcement on Wednesday as it prepares to host the third of this year’s eight events at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, a course owned by former US president.

Greg Norman, the CEO and commissioner of LIV Golf, said in a news release that the full schedule would be released later and will include stops across North and Latin Americas, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Europe, adding that it “will not compete with the Majors, international team events or heritage events”.

“LIV Golf’s expanding global platform will add a new dimension to the golf ecosystem as we know it, one that provides an opportunity for players and fans around the world to help maximise our beloved sport’s true potential,” Norman said.

“Our franchise model will bring new energy and excitement to fans from all corners of the world, establishing a league of teams to connect and grow with.”

The four additions to the 48-man roster of players are Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey, Charles Howell III and Jason Kokrak. The European tour has stripped Stenson of his Ryder Cup captaincy for signing up with LIV Golf, after pledging full support to the tour when he was selected as captain in March.

According to Wednesday’s release, the 12 four-man teams will stay the same throughout the year. Captains will be able to build their franchises to attract a fan following and sponsor interest. Howell and Casey are now on a team led by Bryson DeChambeau, and they said he reached out to them a few months ago about joining LIV Golf.

Along with the 48-man field, no-cut events worth $25m in prize money, LIV Golf Investments has pumped $300m into the Asian Tour for “International Series” events. While details on promotion and relegation were not revealed, players could earn their way into the LIV Golf League through their performance in these Asian Tour events, while those who finish toward the bottom of LIV Golf events would be replaced.

The news release said LIV Golf players are expected to compete in “numerous” International Series events, which would mean playing more than the 14 tournaments on the 2023 LIV Golf schedule. One appeal for players who have signed up, such as Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, was to play less.

There will also be an end-of-season LIV Golf Promotions event offering an opportunity for new talent to enter the league.