[IMAGE: Jamie Squire/LIV Golf]
LIV Golf will offer three spots on its 48-man tour via a qualifying tournament beginning in 2023, according to a report from SI.com.
The Saudi-backed upstart organisation confirmed at its first US-based event outside Portland, Oregon, last month that it would transition from the LIV Golf Invitational Series to a league schedule with 14 events and 48 players beginning in 2023, one year earlier than previously scheduled. Under the new format, each player will participate in all 14 events, and the 12 four-man teams will be set for the entire season.
It was not immediately clear how those 48 players would be determined, and the vast majority of those spots are expected to be filled by players with multi-year commitments to LIV. But, according to the Si.com report, the bottom four finishers in the 2023 year-long LIV standings will be relegated from the league, with three spots filled by a qualifying tournament called a “Promotions” event and the fourth going to the winner of the money list for the LIV International Series, which will be co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and LIV Golf.
The report says details for the inaugural qualifying tournament will be shared before the end of the current LIV season, which wraps up with the tour championship at Trump Doral on October 27-30.
Beginning in 2023, LIV will keep season-long standings and will offer points to the top 24 finishers in each of its events. At the end of the season, four players from the bottom of the standings will be relegated – but some players and team captains may be exempt from relegation depending on their individual contract with LIV Golf. Other players outside the top 24 finishers could lose their playing privileges should their team decide against renewing their deals.
A number of players will reportedly be exempt into the qualifying tournament, including Major winners from the past five years, No.2-32 on the money list from the LIV International series, the top 75 in the Official World Golf Ranking, PGA Tour and DP World Tour winners from the past year, and members of the most recent Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams.
A lack of a qualification process for LIV events has widely been seen as a barrier for the tour to earn Official World Golf Ranking points, which is seen as critical for the tour’s long-term future. A qualifying tournament would, in theory, provide an open, meritocratic mechanism for golfers to play their way onto the lucrative circuit.
LIV Golf will hold its third event this week at Trump Bedminster in New Jersey.