Tee-off explainer: LIV Golf tournament underway near St Albans

Dustin Johnson on the range at the Centurion Club, Hertfordshire ahead of the LIV Golf series

Dustin Johnson on the range at the Centurion Club, Hertfordshire ahead of the LIV Golf series - Credit: Steven Paston/PA

The inaugural season of the LIV Golf tour is underway at the Centurion Club near St Albans.

Tee-off for the 54-hole tournament was at 2.15pm today (June 9).

The LIV tournament, which has never been played before, features individual and team competitions within the same event.

In each season event, the prize fund is $25 million, with all players receiving a cut. The winner of each event is guaranteed a $4 million slice.

Its season-ending team championship, which begins in Miami on October 27, will see players compete for a $16 million top prize which is split between the team's four players.

Phil Mickelson at the Centurion Club, Hertfordshire ahead of the LIV Golf series

Phil Mickelson at the Centurion Club, Hertfordshire ahead of the LIV Golf series - Credit: Steven Paston/PA

The tournament has proven controversial in part because LIV Golf Investments - the series' parent company - was backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), according to USA Today.

The head of the PIF is Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is allegedly complicit in human rights abuses such as the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Some players stepped down from the well established PGA Tour to play in the LIV, including world number 13 Dustin Johnson.

Four-time majors winner Rory McIlroy decided not to play in the LIV tournament but defended players who joined the new series.

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According to PA Media, he said: "It’s not something that I want to participate in.

"I’m certainly not knocking anyone for going. It’s their life, it’s their decision, they can live it the way they want to.

"But for me I want to play on the PGA Tour against the best players in the world."

McIlroy said he hoped players who decided to participate in the new LIV tournament can continue to compete in the Ryder Cup international.

Here's everything you need to know about the LIV Golf tournament:

What is LIV and when does it take place?

LIV is the roman numeral for 54, the number of holes in each event.

This is fewer than the usual 72 holes.

Each event combines team and individual competitions.

According to the LIV website, the new format is intended to "supercharge" golf as a spectator sport.

A statement reads: "It is an opportunity to reinvigorate golf through a structure that adds value to the entire sport while helping to bring new audiences to the game through a cutting-edge entertainment product."

The event at the Centurion Club, which is near St Albans and Hemel Hempstead, takes place over three days. This week's event finishes on Saturday, June 11.

Dustin Johnson on the tee at the start of the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational event, held at the Centurion Club, St Albans

Dustin Johnson walks onto the tee at the start of the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational event, held at the Centurion Club, St Albans - Credit: Steven Paston/PA

There are eight events in the season:

  • LIV Golf London at the Centurion Club - June 9-11
  • LIV Golf Portland at Pumpkin Ridge - June 30-July 2
  • LIV Golf Bedminster at Trump National - July 29-31
  • LIV Golf Boston at Greater Boston - September 2-4
  • LIV Golf Chicago at Rich Harvest Farms - September 16-18
  • LIV Golf Bangkok at Stonehill - October 7-9
  • LIV Golf Jeddah at Royal Greens - October 14-16
  • LIV Golf Miami at Trump National Doral - October 27-30

Who is playing in LIV Golf London?

The LIV Golf London player with the highest ranking is Dustin Johnson, the world number 13.

Other players include Louis Oosthuizen (20th), Kevin Na (33rd) and Talor Gooch (35th).

Phil Mickelson in an interview on day one of the LIV Golf International

Phil Mickelson in an interview on day one of the LIV Golf International - Credit: Steven Paston/PA

How to watch LIV Golf London:

LIV Golf London is streaming online.

Website: https://www.livgolf.com/how-to-watch

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LIVGolfInv/videos/742101580262987

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-exyLWw5pq8