Former world No.1 Dustin Johnson is one of 42 players who have been named in the field for the opening event of the LIV Golf Invitational Series which tees off at Centurion Club in Hertfordshire on June 9.
Johnson is the biggest previously unreported name in the field, which also includes Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell, Sergio Garcia, Kevin Na, Talor Gooch, Martin Kaymer, Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace.
Phil Mickelson is a notable absentee from the list of names to play in the opening event of the Saudi-backed series, having previously been strongly linked with the tournament. Six places remain to be announced for the 48-strong field, three of which will be filled by the top finishers in this week’s Asian Tour event being held at Slayley Hall.
Dustin Johnson, who has dropped from third to No.13 in the world this year, is the highest-ranked player listed in the field, which comprises 26 of the top 150 golfers in the world, as well as leading players from across the global professional Tours representing a total of 11 countries. The field also contains three amateurs – Spain’s David Puig, Ratchanon Chantananuwat from Thailand, and 2021 US Amateur champion James Piot from the USA.
The PGA Tour did not grant its members a release to play in the first event of the LIV Golf Invitational Series, which will be played at the same time as the RBC Canadian Open. The DP World Tour’s Scandinavian Mixed tournament is also being held at the same time, but tour officials have so far refused to publicly comment on the LIV Golf Series.
Other notable past DP World Tour winners in the field include Pablo Larrazabal, winner of last month’s ISPS Handa Championship in Spain; Richard Bland, the winner of last year’s British Masters; former Ryder Cup player and eight-time winner in Europe Bernd Wiesberger; and England’s Oliver Fisher, who won the Czech Open in 2011.
LIV Golf chief executive Greg Norman said: “Free agency has finally come to golf. This is an opportunity to start a movement that will change the course of history by bringing new and open competition to the sport we all love. The desire shown by the players to participate in LIV Golf demonstrates their emphatic belief in our model and confidence in what we’re building for the future.”
He added: “We couldn’t be happier at the diversity of our field, featuring players from around the world including major champions and those making their debut with us competing in their first professional event. We can’t wait to start our journey at Centurion Club with this group of first movers who are committed to growing the game in new and exciting ways.”
The 48-man field will play across 12 teams of four players each, which will be determined by a draft being held on June 7. Twelve team captains will then select players in the first round in order of reverse world ranking, and for the second and third rounds via a snake format. Team names and logos will also be unveiled at the draft stage.
The first seven regular season events will consist of three 18-hole rounds with no cut and shotgun starts. Each of the first seven events will feature two simultaneous competitions – an individual and team event. The individual winner will be the player with the lowest 54-hole stroke play total. For the team competition, the best two stroke play scores will count for each team for the first two rounds. For the third and final round, the best three scores will count, with the lowest overall team score after 54 holes being named the team winner. The eighth and final event, which is being held at Trump Doral in Florida in October, will be a four-day team match play seeded knockout.
Full list of players (alphabetical order):
Oliver Bekker, Richard Bland, Laurie Canter, Ratchanon Chantananuwat (Am), Hennie Du Plessis, Oliver Fisher, Sergio Garcia, Talor Gooch, Branden Grace, Justin Harding, Sam Horsfield, Dustin Johnson, Matt Jones, Sadom Kaewkanjana, Martin Kaymer, Phachara Khongwatmai, Sihwan Kim, Ryosuke Kinoshita, Chase Koepka, Jinichiro Kosuma, Pablo Larrazabal, Graeme McDowell, Jediah Morgan, Kevin Na, Shaun Norris, Andy Ogletree, Louis Oosthuizen, Wade Ormsby, Adrian Otaegui, Turk Pettit, James Plot (Am), Ian Poulter, David Puig (Am), JC Ritche, Charl Schwartzel, Hudson Swafford, Hideto Tanihara, Peter Uihlein, Scott Vincent, Lee Westwood, Bernd Wiesberger, Blake Windred.