Home » Liv Golf Reveals Its Final Four Team Rosters As Thomas Pieters Joins Bubba Watson’s Rangegoats In A Blow To Europe’s Ryder Cup Captain Luke Donald… While Brendan Steele Links Up With Phil Mickelson’s Hyflyers Ahead Of Mexico Season Opener

Liv Golf Reveals Its Final Four Team Rosters As Thomas Pieters Joins Bubba Watson’s Rangegoats In A Blow To Europe’s Ryder Cup Captain Luke Donald… While Brendan Steele Links Up With Phil Mickelson’s Hyflyers Ahead Of Mexico Season Opener

Luke Donald has incurred a fresh Ryder Cup headache after confirmation of Thomas Pieters’ defection to the LIV circuit on Tuesday.

The long-trailed move comes ahead of the start of the rebel league’s second season, which begins in Mexico on Friday.

While LIV bosses had bullishly hoped to land several top-20 stars after the conclusion of their inaugural campaign in October, their off-season efforts for an expanded 14-event calendar have yielded only six new faces, led by Pieters, the world No 34.

Pieters’ arrival came days after he took a swipe at his omission from the Genesis Invitational on the PGA Tour, when he tweeted: ‘Sad to miss my favourite tournament of the year. Because well as #34 in world, I just couldn’t get in.’

Along with the signing of Pieters – who joined Bubba Watson’s team, RangeGoats – LIV formally announced the recruitment of Danny Lee, Dean Burmester and Brendan Steele, having last week added Mito Pereira, the world No 45, and Sebastian Munoz. All good players, but underwhelming compared to the immense disruption caused by the first wave last year.

‘In less than a year, LIV Golf has reinvigorated the professional game and laid the foundation for the sport’s future – in 2023, the LIV Golf League comes to life,’ said LIV commissioner Greg Norman, who has seen a number of his most senior colleagues depart in a turbulent winter during which they secured a modest television presence in the US, though nothing currently with a UK broadcaster.

‘The most popular sports in the world are team sports, and our league format has already begun to build connections with new audiences around the globe. Major champions, current and future hall of famers, and up-and-coming stars are all committed to creating this new platform for world-class competition as the sport evolves for the next generation.’

Lee, from New Zealand, will be on Iron Heads, captained by Kevin Na. Burmester filled out the all-South African team, Stinger, led by Louis Oosthuizen.

Steele joined HyFlyers, captained by six-time major champion Phil Mickelson, whose commitment to LIV last season served as a catalyst for other top names to follow.

One team will feature three co-captains. Majesticks has Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood of England and Henrik Stenson of Sweden working together, with the roster rounded out by Englishman Sam Horsfield.

Other teams include Torque, a group with a South American bent, captained by Chilean up-and-comer Joaquin Niemann and adding recent signings Sebastian Munoz of Colombia and Mito Pereira of Chile; and Cameron Smith’s all-Australian team, now called Ripper.

Players who finished in the top 24 of the 2022 Invitational Series were guaranteed spots for the 2023 LIV Golf League, according to a press release.

American Sihwan Kim earned a spot for winning the Asian Tour Order of Merit, and Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent did the same by winning the Asian Tour International Series Order of Merit.

The rest of the roster spots were filled by captains’ selections and league exemptions.

It was not immediately clear what that meant for the players who played LIV events in 2022 and did not qualify for 2023, and whether they would be able to go back to their previous tours if they wished.

The league continues to be a source of controversy in the game of golf, both for its upheaval of the ecosystem of the PGA Tour and international circuits, and for its use of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign fund money, which critics have called an attempt to ‘sportswash’ the kingdom’s poor human rights record.

The series will grow from eight events last season to 14 in 2023. The Mayakoba season opener will be played February 24-26.

Meanwhile, Suzann Pettersen has been confirmed as the captain of the 2024 European Solheim Cup team for next year’s match in the United States.

The Norwegian, who was already in post for the 2023 clash in Spain, said: ‘Being offered the role for a second time before the 2023 matches have even been played is a little different to usual, as we usually play the competition every two years and announce the next captain after the competition, but because of the changes to the schedule and having back-to-back Solheim Cups in consecutive years, it makes perfect sense.

‘So far, my 2023 captaincy has been a pure joy so to be able to lead the team in Europe this year and then again next year in the US will be a great honour. This will allow us to build a strategy and a philosophy for the team that we can keep which will offer more consistency for the players and enable them to focus on their performance.’

source: dailymail