ST ALBANS, UK: Phil Mickelson headlines a group of 48 golfers at this week’s LIV Golf Invitational London.
Other big-name players who will play at the Centurion Club on Thursday include Dustin Johnson, Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia.
There are eight events in the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational series.
Seven are regular season events – in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia – where players will compete as individuals and teams for points and prize money.
These competitions will be played over 54 holes in a traditional strokeplay format, instead of the usual 72, and there will be a “shotgun” start for all groups of players, who will start from different holes at the same time.
At the end of the seven tournaments, an individual champion will be crowned based on the points accumulated throughout the season.
The eighth and final tournament will be a season-ending tag team championship game in Miami that will take place over four days.
Since each event will consist of a different field, teams will be decided via a draft each time.
LIV Series golfers will be playing for the biggest prize pools in history, even overshadowing the prize pools offered at the four major tournaments.
Each regular season event will have a $25 million purse, with the winner taking home $4 million.
After the first seven events, an individual champion will be crowned, providing a total purse of $30 million to the top three individuals of the season.
The end-of-season tag team championship will have a prize pool of $50 million.
The signing of six-time major winner Mickelson is a major blow for the heads of LIV Golf.
Mickelson hasn’t played since February.
Other big names include big winners Johnson, Kaymer, Garcia, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and Graeme McDowell.
European Ryder Cup stars Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood are also on the pitch in St. Albans, on the outskirts of London.
Former world number one Greg Norman is the managing director of LIV Golf Investments. He spoke of his vision for a “free and open market” in golf.
Those who chose to play did so despite warnings of disciplinary action from the PGA Tour.
Two-time winner Johnson announced on Tuesday that he has resigned from his PGA Tour membership, along with compatriot Kevin Na.
This move means they have effectively taken themselves out of the picture when it comes to potential penalties.
The DP World Tour, formerly known as the European Tour, said it “evaluates each request on a case-by-case basis”.
World Ranking Points are currently not offered at LIV events, although officials have held talks on the matter.
Another area of uncertainty concerns the four major leagues, which are governed separately.
They gave different answers on LIV’s defectors, but the United States Golf Association said Tuesday the players could play at next week’s US Open in Massachusetts.
The situation on the Ryder Cup seems clearer and Johnson has effectively made himself ineligible to play in the team competition again by quitting the PGA Tour.
McDowell, whose Ryder Cup eligibility is tied to joining the DP World Tour, said he had given the matter considerable thought, adding that he hoped his involvement in the LIV series would not prevent him to participate in future contests.