The Masters Golf Tournament Takes On a LIV-ly New Look


The 2023 Masters Tournament kicked off Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club with a twist never before seen: 18 members of the recently created LIV Golf, a league bankrolled by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, were eligible to compete. The invitation to the LIV players, who had been met with some criticism and uproar from the PGA Tour, was expected to bring a unique and exciting atmosphere to the tournament.

Leading up to the tournament, major winner Phil Mickelson maintained his belief that LIV players would ultimately be allowed to compete. He reasoned that tradition at Augusta National Golf Club would prevail, along with the idea of bringing the best players together for such a prestigious event. On December 20th, reports of the LIV players’ inclusion in the Masters surfaced and the speculation was put to rest.

As the tournament commenced, no brawling occurred and many players, such as Cameron Smith, received positive greetings from other PGA Tour players. Smith noted that it was important for LIV players to prove themselves and make a strong showing. Rory McIlroy, another PGA Tour stalwart, offered his thoughts on the situation and said that the Masters was more important to him than the golf ecosystem disruption.

Augusta National Chairman Fred S. Ridley expressed his hope that the Masters would create a different outlook on the situation and that it would be televised without much attention to any off-course affairs. Meanwhile, its American TV broadcasters sought to focus on the competition and its narratives.

At the Champions Dinner, Augusta National chose not to invite Greg Norman, the LIV Commissioner, in an effort to keep the attention on the tournament. Looking ahead to the future, Ridley announced that LIV players will still be eligible for the 2024 Masters Qualifiers.

LIV Golf was founded in 2021, and is a professional golf association that is backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. Aimed at competing with the PGA Tour, it features shorter formats and more relaxed rules and regulations. LIV has already signed some well-known names, like Dustin Johnson, Tony Finau and Brooks Koepka. They are among the highest-profile figures in the golf sphere and represent LIV to the fullest. Their presence in major tournaments ensures maximum exposure for the league.