What is LIV Golf and How is it Impacting the Industry?

Close-up of a golf ball next to the hole and flag.

Controversy and money are at the heart of the LIV Golf League. Bankrolled by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, it seems to have ignited a golfing civil war – the PGA vs LIV Golf. With the league poaching several heavy hitters such as Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson (while Tiger Woods and Rory Mcllroy stay loyal to the PGA,) the flame looks far from going out. From top to bottom, it has caused outrage amongst the golfing community.

LIV is the Roman numeral for 54, which represents the number of holes to be played in each event. The creation of a new league means a new wave of golf betting. We take a look at LIV Golf’s 2023 format and the players to watch out for when trying your hand at golf betting online.

LIV Golf in 2023

Following the controversial 2022 season, the organizers are bringing it back for 2023; and they have decided to tweak the current format. Most notably, they have bumped up the number of tournaments from eight to 14. Although none of the stop dates run parallel with the PGA Championship, all players participating in the LIV Golf League have been banned from participating in any PGA championship events.

The PGA and LIV Golf League are completely different formats. Unlike the PGA, LIV Golf is a team sport, split into 12 “franchises.” Overall, it is made up of 48 players. This means that when you’re looking at the odds to win a golf game, you’re betting on teams rather than individuals.

LIV Golf is played over three rounds – compared to PGA’s four – and incorporates 12 captains who draft three teammates each week. Heading into the last round, the best of the first two rounds’ stroke-play scores counts toward the team’s total. Teams need the lowest score from three rounds to win the tournament.

When betting, it’s key to remember that the team format will affect the odds of winning a golf tournament as it is team-based rather than based on an individual. However, golf betting lines will remain the same in both competitions. For example, if Dustin Johnson is +500 to win, it means you will receive 5x your placed bet if won.

Another innovation is the introduction of shotgun starts. This means that each team will start at the same time but on different tees – an important factor for golf betters who utilize live golf odds and bet on the go.

The newest league addition to online sports betting will be played across the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Australia and North and Latin America. Now that you understand the rules of the 2023 format check out our in-depth glossary of golf betting terms.

How much money is involved?

A driver club behind a ball on a tee.

With the soccer World Cup being hosted in Doha in Qatar later this year, some argue this is the Middle East’s latest money-grabbing scheme to join western societies’ lucrative sports industry. On the other side, LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman insists that it’s their bid to reinvigorate the game.  

Over the course of the LIV Golf League, there is a breathtaking $405 million up for grabs, with last-place finishers guaranteed a “humble” (by the league’s standard) $120,000, while each team member takes $4 million with each win. But it doesn’t stop there. As the organizers tried to kick-start the league and entice the world’s best players to leave the PGA for an untried format, they let the money talk.

It is reported that two-time major champion Dustin Johnson was offered a four-year contract worth $125 million by the Saudi-backed league. Over the course of his PGA career, he has earned $74 million. The biggest contract goes to Phil Mickelson – the first to join the league – who reportedly accepted a four-year contract for $200 million, over double the amount the 52-year-old has earned over his long career.

However, the LIV Golf organization hasn’t been able to land golf’s biggest living icon, Tiger Woods. As a player, he has graced fans and television screens with some of golf’s most memorable tournament moments in history. Reports suggest the LIV Golf League has offered Woods between $600-800 million. But, he honorably declined.

Why is it seen as controversial?

A golf green with the sun setting behind palm trees.

So, why is it seen as so controversial? Firstly, it is backed and funded by the Saudi Arabian government’s Public Investment Fund and the country has been criticized over the years for its abuse and violation of human rights laws. There are also question marks over the fact that the first two scheduled stops are played at courses owned by the twice-impeached former US president, Donald Trump.

The nature of the game’s format and the huge sums of money involved have also been highlighted by many as ruining the game’s integrity and its prestigious history, turning it into a money-fuelled competition. LIV Golf players being banned from participating in PGA tournaments has caused an outcry for splitting the game apart and prohibiting fans from watching the world’s best players compete on the same greens.

Players such as Woods described LIV golfers as “turning their backs on the sport.” PGA golfer Joel Dahmen tweeted in response to LIV Golf: “Please stay away in your fantasy land. Sincerely, most tour players.”

Golf betting on Borgata Online

Here at Borgata we’re inclusive of both the PGA and LIV Golf, which means we offer golf odds across both competitions. And it doesn’t stop there. We’ve tailored our betting apps with LIV Golf Leagues’ newest format, meaning you can bet on teams, rounds and holes during every tournament. Register today and check out our array of sports to bet on.