MIAMI – After 13 events spread from Mexico to Saudi Arabia, the final event of the 2023 LIV Golf League season is here.
What sets the LIV Golf Team Championship, held once again at Trump National Doral, apart from the other big-money, no-cut events on the upstart circuit’s schedule is its unique format. Throughout the year, teams earn points for their finishes at each regular-season event. At the $50 million finale, teams are seeded based on their points earned over the season and then compete in both stroke and match play over three days. The top four teams have a bye for the first round, which is the quarterfinals.
The captains play the captains in a singles match, leaving three players to be split between another singles match and a foursomes (alternate shot) match. No ties. The first team to two points wins and advances to Saturday. Simple enough? (You can read more about the format here).
An interesting wrinkle is that the higher-seeded teams get to pick their opponents in the quarters and semis, which sets the table for a little trash talk as seen during Tuesday’s press conference which featured the captains of teams Nos. 5-12.
Up first was Louis Oosthuizen, captain of Stinger GC, who selected Kevin Na’s Iron Heads, the team that’s been comfortably in dead last all season long. Su-Ann Heng, a member of the LIV broadcast team and moderator of the captain selections, tried to get Oosthuizen to bring the heat with his reason for picking the Iron Heads, saying, “You don’t have to be kind. You can have a little fun.”
The soft-spoken South African said he “didn’t really want to play any of the other teams” before apologizing to Na, who claimed his team had “the better southern African” in Scott Vincent. Zing! Next up, Fireballs GC captain Sergio Garcia, who picked the three-way captained Majesticks (Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood).
“I guess they just want to have a Saturday off,” quipped Stenson.
Cam Smith and Ripper GC selecting Martin Kaymer’s Cleeks GC was a rather dull exchange, leaving Brooks Koepka and Smash GC to square off against Phil Mickelson and his HyFlyers GC.
“I didn’t really get much option in this,” said Koepka to a room full of laughter. “Yeah, so we’re playing, or I’m stuck with Phil, and the rest of the guys are playing with the other guys. It will be a good matchup.”
Mickelson was complimentary of Koepka’s year as the PGA champion and a two-time winner with LIV before…