Johnson, Garcia, Westwood & Poulter in LIV Golf discipline


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Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia
Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia performed towards one another in final 12 months’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits

Main champions Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia are amongst 42 gamers confirmed for subsequent week’s first $25m Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational.

England’s Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Richard Bland, and Northern Eire’s Graeme McDowell, are within the 12-team, 48-man discipline for the three-day occasion.

Centurion Membership, close to London, is internet hosting this primary event from Sept. 11 June.

Six-time main winner Phil Mickelson shouldn’t be within the line-up however six extra gamers might be introduced at a later date.

American Mickelson, 51, has been linked with the breakaway occasion for months however mentioned in February that he was taking a break from the game after apologising for making “reckless” feedback in regards to the Saudi Arabia regime.

The LIV event has attracted criticism as a result of its cash is coming from Saudi Arabia’s Public Funding Fund (PIF), which is actually a state financial savings account for the the nation’s authorities.

That has led to accusations of sportswashing, with organisations equivalent to Amnesty Worldwide arguing that some nations can spend money on sport as a distraction from poor human rights data.

Greg Norman, LIV Golf’s chief government, believes the event will “change the course” of golf historical past.

“Free company has lastly come to golf,” Norman mentioned.

“This is a chance to start out a motion that may change the course of historical past by bringing new and open competitors to the game all of us love.

“The need proven by the gamers to take part in LIV Golf demonstrates their emphatic perception in our mannequin and confidence in what we’re constructing for the long run.”

Different main winners signed up for the invite embrace Germany’s Martin Kaymer, and South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.

Each the US-based PGA Tour and Europe-based DP World Excursions turned down all requests for waivers to permit gamers to compete within the LIV collection opener, which clashes with the PGA’s Canadian Open.

The PGA Tour mentioned its ruling was “in one of the best curiosity of the Tour and its gamers” and has threatened to ban gamers who flout it.

Two-time main champion Norman known as that call “anti-golfer, anti-fan and anti-competitive” and mentioned he has advised the gamers “we have your again” and that his origanisation “will defend, reimburse and characterize” them ought to proceedings find yourself within the fingers of attorneys.

The 67-year-old Australian had earlier advised BBC Sport that his plans stretch “a long time” into the long run after securing an additional £1.6bn of funding, which he says will allow his breakaway invitational golf collection to show right into a full 14-tournament international tremendous league by 2024.

The $255m (£202m) collection will function six extra common season tournaments in 2022 – 4 in the USA, one in Thailand and one in Saudi Arabia – every having the identical $25m (£20m) prize fund, that means each leg of the collection is extra profitable than the richest event on the PGA Tour.

Every occasion’s particular person winner will take house $4m – by means of comparability, the PGA Tour’s flagship occasion, the Gamers Championship, earned Cam Smith $3.6m for his victory in March.

The eighth and closing event would be the staff championship at Trump Nationwide Doral Miami from 27-30 October. On the matchplay occasion, a $50m prize kitty might be break up between the 12 groups of 4, with every participant receiving a 25% minimize of their staff’s winnings.

Each LIV occasion will function a staff and particular person competitors, with 12 captains deciding on three gamers in a draft-style format. Every day, the groups of 4 will tee off on the similar time on completely different holes in what’s termed a ‘shotgun begin’.

And Norman insisted he might make a hit of the enterprise, even when the world’s greatest gamers shunned it.

“We do not want them,” mentioned Norman when requested whether or not attracting both Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy – who mentioned there was a “morality” to not taking Saudi cash – would improve his proposition.

Amnesty Worldwide, in criticising sporting organisations for accepting Saudi Arabian funding, has pointed to the nation’s poor therapy of ladies, its use of the loss of life penalty and its hostility to LGBTQ+ rights.

The PIF’s chairman is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the son of Saudi Arabia’s king. The crown prince, who is called MBS, has been accused of ordering the homicide of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist who was vital of the Saudi authorities.

A 2019 UN report acknowledged that “the state of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is accountable” for Khashoggi’s loss of life. The Saudi authorities has all the time denied accountability.

Whereas selling the brand new collection, Norman was criticised by Amnesty Worldwide for saying “we have all made errors” as he fielded questions on Saudi Arabia’s human rights report and the homicide of Khashoggi.

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