Well, here we go as we jet off to London for the inaugural event in the LIV Golf Invitational series which kicks off Thursday in the UK.
The LIV series, under the watchful eye of Greg Norman, features eight tournaments in 2022 (and, in theory, a few more next year) in a format that is as unique as anything golf has seen in quite some time.
There are currently 48 players in the field and the events are three-day, no-cut tournaments to be held Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
No surprise so far. But here’s where everything hits the fan.
A few of the main differences is there will also be a team-play aspect to it with eight teams to go along with the individual competition. There will also be shotgun starts to speed up the pace of play.
The first field includes a few former PGA Tour stars like Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Kevin Na, and others. We say former because some of them have already resigned from the PGA Tour to play in this tour. The PGA Tour has said it won’t give players releases to play on this tour so these players had to make a choice.
SuperBook USA vice president of risk management Jeff Sherman tweeted opening odds for the top players in the event:
LIV Golf Invitational Series-London (Individual)@SuperBookNV
D Johnson 5/1
T Gooch 9/1
L Oosthuizen 10/1
K Na 10/1
S Garcia 12/1
B Wiesberger 20/1
S Horsfield 20/1
J Harding 25/1
M Jones 25/1
P Mickelson 30/1
I Poulter 30/1
L Westwood 30/1
P Larrazabal 30/1
C Schwartzel 30/1
— Jeff Sherman (@golfodds) June 6, 2022
The choice came down to two things: Money and freedom. Sure, the players will say they are freelancers who should be able to play on other tours if they aren’t scheduled to tee it up in PGA Tour events the week of LIV events. And that’s a great point because that’s the way it’s been forever as players go between the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour all the time.
Not anymore. But that’s a lot longer story and doesn’t involve odds, so we will move on and look at picking a winner for the first tournament.
Don’t forget, the tournament is being held in London. If your sportsbook offers betting odds, get your wagers in Wednesday night as the tournament is going to start at 2 p.m. London time which is bright and early Thursday morning in the U.S.–9 a.m. on the East Coast and 6 a.m. on the West Coast.
Odds To Win The LIV Golf Invitational Series-London (Westgate SuperBook)
Dustin Johnson +500
Talor Gooch +900
Louie Oosthuizen +1000
Kevin Na +1000
Sergio Garcia +1200
Bernd Wiesberger +2000
Sam Horsfield +2000
Justin Harding +2500
Matt Jones +2500
Phil Mickelson +3000
Ian Poulter +3000
DraftKings is also offering odds on the event, which has been approved for betting in only a handful of states:
Dustin Johnson opens as the favorite for the Liv Golf Invitational, in what is definitely a very competitive field 😅
(Markets are available in IL / OR / ON / CT / AZ / WY only) pic.twitter.com/RYBdImvEcJ
— DraftKings Sportsbook (@DKSportsbook) June 7, 2022
Big Names Versus No Names
When you’ve got Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, and others in this field it would appear to be a deep and talented tournament.
Not so with the LIV field.
Beyond the top-10 players who have been paid mountains of guaranteed cash to lend their names and talent to the new tour, there are a lot of players who will send bettors scrambling to find out anything they can about them.
Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Ian Snyman. No one? How about Blake Windred? Still no hands?
You get the picture. There are a lot of players (some of them amateurs for now who are fresh out of college) who are betting their futures on this new league.
Give The First Tournament To DJ
There’s no doubt Dustin Johnson is the biggest name and one of the best players in this league. But at +500 the sportsbooks feel the same way.
Now there are two parts to this new league, the individual part of the tournament and a team part of the event. (You’ll have to check it out for yourself online to see the formats, payouts, and players).
We’re betting that Johnson should win this easily…if he’s motivated. The reason we put in the caveat is that he’s reportedly been paid $125 million to be one of the main headliners. And that’s before he’s even hit a tee shot. (Phil Mickelson’s “bonus” money is reportedly in the $200 million range).
Now with that kind of money already in his pocket, will Johnson be fired up to compete?
If so, hand him the $4 million first-place check…that’s right, $4 million for the winner. And the reason a lot of these lesser-name players have signed up is it’s a guaranteed payday with the no-cut format. And last place? A not-too-shabby $120,000. To put that in PGA Tour perspective, a player would have had to make the cut last week at the Memorial and finish solo 24th to make the same amount of money.
Johnson should be motivated as it’s the first event, and everyone knows the saying about first impressions.
Good Numbers Definitely On The Board
You’re excused if you aren’t a big enough golf fan to know who Justin Harding is at this point in time.
After all, the 36-year-old South African golfer hasn’t won on the PGA Tour, and he’s played in just 21 PGA tour events in his career with winnings of right around $700,000. But at +2500 in this event, he’s worth a look.
He does have seven victories worldwide and was T-19 in last year’s Open Championship. Are we sure about his ability? Nope.
But, then again, we aren’t sure about much when it comes to this new golf league–yet.