A LIV Golf League with a 14-tournament schedule will be launched next year.

A controversial Saudi-backed 2022 LIV Golf Invitational Series started last month, with the likes of Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson quitting the PGA Tour to join the breakaway tour.

Henrik Stenson is set to make his LIV Golf debut this week after he also defected, prompting the Swede to be stripped of Europe's Ryder Cup captaincy, while Brooks Koepka is among the other high-profile players to sign up.

LIV Golf on Wednesday announced an expansion for 2023, which will see an increase in tournaments for 48 players who will compete for 12 team franchises, with $405million in prize money up for grabs.

Events are set to take place in new locations in both the Americas and Europe, while players will also be expected to showcase their talents in Thailand, Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East, Indonesia, China, Singapore and Hong Kong.

There will be a total of 25 LIV Golf tournaments next year and a Team World Championship match play grand finale at the end of the season.

LIV Golf stressed that the new 2023 league schedule will not compete with any of the four majors.

Greg Norman, CEO and commissioner of LIV Golf, said: "LIV Golf's expanding global platform will add a new dimension to the golf ecosystem as we know it, one that provides an opportunity for players and fans around the world to help maximise our beloved sport's true potential.

"Our franchise model will bring new energy and excitement to fans from all corners of the world, establishing a league of teams to connect and grow with. The International Series will attract new talent and offer unprecedented pathways that develop the next generation of stars.

"LIV Golf is committed to making sustainable investments that grow the game now and for the future, and we are proud to turn these dreams into a reality."

Sergio Garcia has revealed he will "hold off" on quitting the DP World Tour, claiming he remains hopeful he can feature at the Ryder Cup despite signing up to feature in the LIV Golf series.

Garcia is one of several big names to join Greg Norman's controversial breakaway tour in recent months, and declared earlier in July he was "quite clear" on his intention to quit the European circuit. 

At this month's Open, the 2017 Masters champion also said he had all but given up on another Ryder Cup appearance after claiming he was "not wanted" on the European tour. 

Last week, Europe's 2023 Ryder Cup captain Henrik Stenson was stripped of the role after signing up to the LIV circuit, while both the PGA and DP World Tours have looked to sanction players joining the series.

But Garcia has gone back on his earlier pledge, and says he will wait for clarification on his chances of Ryder Cup participation before making any decision on his future.

"When I finished the Open Championship [last] Sunday, I said that I was most likely going to resign my membership from the [DP World] Tour," Garcia told ESPN. "That obviously meant not being eligible for the Ryder Cup because you have to be a member.

"[But] I had a couple of good conversations with guys on the [DP World] Tour, I'm going to hold off on that.

"I want to at least see what's happening when Ryder Cup qualification starts. See what kind of rules and eligibilities they have in there. If I agree with what they [are], I'll definitely keep playing whatever I can on the tour and try to qualify for that Ryder Cup team.

"And if not, then we'll move on. But it is definitely something that is in my mind.

"I told Keith Pelley [chief executive of the DP World Tour]: 'I want to keep being a member of the DP World Tour. I want to play my minimum, still support the tour, still have my eligibilities to make Ryder Cup teams.

"He said: 'That's great, but we've got to do what's best for us'. We'll see what that is."

However, Garcia did express sympathy for Stenson, describing the Swede's Ryder Cup ousting as "sad".

"Now it's gotten a little bit sadder with fines and bans," Garcia added. "What they did to Henrik. It's a little bit sad."

Garcia finished 24th in LIV Golf's first event in London at the start of June before posting a 26th-placed finish in Portland in early July. 

Tony Finau produced a terrific Sunday performance to win the 3M Open with a final score of 17 under par – even if It was not quite a comfortable finish.

The American completed his final round with six birdies and two bogeys to post the equal second-best score of the day with a 67. One bogey came on the 18th after Finau teed off into the water, but he was never in any real danger after starting that hole with a four-stroke lead.

Finau's charge to the front of the field began during his back nine, when he rattled off four birdies over the course of six holes – including three in a row on 14, 15 and 16 – perfectly coinciding with the collapse of 54-hole leader Scott Piercy.

Speaking to CBS after stepping off the 18th green, Finau said it felt like he was a long way off the lead until it all started to shift.

"[It took] really everything I had," he said. "I was playing great, and every time I looked it up it seemed like I was four or five shots back, really all day.

"I really got things going down the back nine, and once I took control of the golf tournament it was a totally different mindset, trying to seal the deal.

"It's so special just to have my family here with me, and to celebrate this win with them… this one was for them."

Piercy began his day at 18 under with a four-stroke lead, and he was cruising early, making a couple of early birdies to jump out to 20 under, with his buffer extending to five. But everything began to fall apart on the eighth hole.

After back-to-back bogeys on eight and nine, Piercy also bogeyed 11, teased a bounce-back with a birdie on 12, and then capitulated with bogey, triple-bogey, bogey from his next three holes to go tumbling down the leaderboard. Over the course of eight holes, he dropped seven shots, completely eliminating himself from contention.

Piercy finished tied for fourth at 13 under after his 76, along with fellow Americans Tom Hoge and James Hahn, with Hahn's six-under 65 ending up two strokes better than any other final round.

That grouping was one stroke behind Argentina's Emiliano Grillo and South Korea Im Sung-jae, who were tied for second at 14 under.

Rounding out the top 10 were the English pairing of Danny Willett and Callum Tarren, tied for seventh at 10 under along with Greyson Sigg, with Chesson Hadley one shot back.

Recent PGA Tour winner J.T. Poston headlined the group at eight under, and Australia's Cam Davis was at seven under as he prepares to defend his Rocket Mortgage Classic crown this coming week.

Richie Ramsay secured his first DP World Tour/European Tour success in seven years as a late surge saw him win the English Open at the Hillside Golf Club.

Ramsay's playing partner Julien Guerrier had appeared the likely winner for much of Sunday, finding himself two shots to the good thanks to three birdies as he began the back nine.

But the Frenchman's six pars and three bogeys thereafter left him at even par for the day, and Ramsay – who ended the weekend at 14 under – took full advantage.

Birdies on 14, 15 and 17 gave Ramsay a one-shot lead on the final hole, and he held his nerve with an immense par putt to seal his first Tour success since March 2015, when he won the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco.

It was a moment of redemption for the Scot, who saw his chance for British Masters success at The Belfry in May vanish when he closed out with a double bogey.

Given that disappointment and the fact he had not won a tournament in seven years, Ramsay was understandably emotional at the conclusion.

"The biggest thing for me was I made a promise to my daughter, and I don't break promises to her. I said I would get her a trophy and this one's for her," Ramsay said.

"It just feels unbelievable. The belief. I've had some bad times over the last couple of years, but I kept believing, I knew my game was good.

"I know about what happened at The Belfry, but it's links golf and I feel like I've always got an advantage when I play links golf.

"Obviously I got a bit emotional there at the end, but I haven't won since my daughter was born and that's six years.

"That one's for Olivia [his daughter]. Hopefully she's watching. Angela's [Ramsay's wife] been brilliant. She's never given up on me, sent me a message this morning telling me that she was really proud of me in whatever I accomplish.

"It's just hours and hours of practice and it comes down to one shot and I managed to do it under the gun. It doesn't matter what happens now, I'll remember that for the rest of my life."

Guerrier's sloppy finish ultimately saw him finish in a five-way tie for third on 12 under for the tournament – that group included Marcus Kinhult, whose five-under 67 was the best round of the day.

Paul Waring was the other player to capitalise on Guerrier's difficult back nine, as the local favourite's 70 ensured he ended the competition outright second on 13 under.

Jamaica's golfing community has been thrown into mourning once more with news of the passing of stalwart and many-time national amateur representative Biah Maragh. Maragh represented Jamaica at the national senior level between 1975 and 1990 before retiring from competitive golf in 1991.

The stalwart of Jamaican golf passed on June 22 at the age of 73 and was buried on Saturday, July 23 following a service of thanksgiving at the Sandy Bay Seventh Day Adventist Church in Hanover.

"The Jamaica Golf Association (JGA) is saddened to learn of the passing of Biah Maragh," said Jamaica Golf Association President Jodi Munn-Barrow.

"Biah was a national representative for many years. He was the top amateur also for quite some time and performed well in our regional tournaments. It is sad to know that we have lost another stalwart in the game so shortly after the passing of Turo Ziadie. I extend sincere condolences to his family. I will miss him too. A lot of these players were those that I looked up to when I was a junior and who helped me in my junior career so Biah's passing on a personal note is also quite difficult for me."

 Maragh was honoured at the 53rd staging of the Jamaica Open Golf Championship at the Tryall Golf Club in Hanover, where he worked for 35 years at the time he was honoured in 2020. He also competed in the Jamaica Open a number of times.

Maragh worked at the Half Moon Golf Course from 1965-1968 and eventually moved to Kingston in 1974 to become the superintendent at the Constant Spring Golf Club. Over the years, he thrived due mainly to the support of his friend David Mais and successive administrations of the Jamaica Golf Association.

His contemporaries were Lee Edler, Seymour Rose, Garfield Sobers, Lindy Delapenha and Stafford DeMercardo.

 

Brooke Henderson found a strong finish to win the Evian Championship, sealing the second major title of her career with a birdie on the final green.

The Canadian overnight leader put an error-strewn start to Sunday's final round behind her to pick up shots at the 14th, 15th and 18th, delivering a level-par 71 for a 17-under-par aggregate of 267 for 72 holes.

The first of Henderson's big-stage triumphs came when she was just 18 years old at the 2016 Women's PGA Championship, and six years later she has another of golf's great prizes to her name.

American Sophia Schubert went into the outright lead at 16 under when she made birdie at the 15th hole. Henderson at that point was only beginning to repair the damage that had seen her reach the 14th tee on three-over par for her round, with a double-bogey six at the sixth giving hope to her rivals.

The late flurry of birdies from Henderson salvaged the situation, though, as Schubert was unable to pick up any further shots, finishing alone in second after a 68, one shot behind the champion.

Henderson said: "To make the birdie on 18, that makes it really nice. I was definitely not at my best today, but I just tried to stay patient and remind myself I was still in it. I'm super excited to have my second major championship win."

Third place was shared by five players – Spain's Carlota Ciganda, Kim Hyo-joo of South Korea, England's Charley Hull, New Zealand's Lydia Ko and Japan's Mao Saigo – as they finished on 15-under par for the week.

Scott Piercy holds a commanding four-stroke lead coming into the final round of the 3M Open, after posting a five-under 66 at TPC Twin Cities.

Coming into moving day with a three-shot lead, Piercy was red-hot on the front nine on a rain-interrupted Saturday in Blaine, Minnesota, scoring five consecutive birdies between holes three and seven.

A bogey on the par-five 18th to close out the round put him on 18-under after 54 holes, moving him four shots clear of Emiliano Grillo in second.

Piercy's last win on the PGA Tour came alongside Billy Horschel as the 2018 Zurich Classic, with his last solo win on the tour going back three years further, taking out the 2015 Barbasol Championship.

Grillo's last win on the PGA Tour also came in 2015, winning the Frys.com Open in a playoff, and he's in contention despite an up-and-down third round amid suitable conditions.

Afternoon thunderstorms caused the third round to be moved up, and without much, the more accessible pin locations and shortened course distance made for low scores.

Grillo and Im Sung-jae were the only players to finish Saturday in the leaderboard's top ten with a third-round score of less than five-under.

Going four-under over the opening six holes after an eagle on the par-five sixth, the Argentine also had to birdie the last to make up for bogeys on the ninth and 15th holes.

Doug Ghim and Tom Hoge are a further stroke back on 13-under, with both posting scores of six-under 65 for their third rounds.

After three consecutive birdies between five and seven, Finau made an extraordinary par save on the par-four ninth, after failing to make the green with his opening three shots.

With the ball nestled in the rough just off the green, the 32-year-old turned his putter sideways and after a couple of practice strokes, made a 34-foot save with the putter's toe.

Former tennis star Mardy Fish said he was "proud" to be the first person to play on both the ATP Tour and the PGA Tour after swapping his racquet for a bag of clubs.

The 40-year-old won six ATP titles and once ranked as high as seventh in the world in 2011, before retiring from tennis four years later.

However, he has recently been playing amateur golf and was given a special exemption to play in the PGA Tour's 3M Open in Minnesota, his hometown.

Fish was unable to make the cut, finishing 13 over par after his two rounds, with only three players carding higher scores.

He was grateful for the opportunity, though, and took to Twitter on Saturday to reflect on his achievement, posting: "What an incredible experience playing in the 3M Open. Truly a week I will never forget.

"I'm proud to be the first person to play on the ATP Tour and the PGA Tour. Chase your dreams, no matter how ridiculous they may be! Thank you for the incredible support all week Minnesota!"

Although he did not quite perform to the level hoped, Fish did card a respectable 74 in Friday's second round, hitting eight of 14 fairways and seven of 18 greens in regulation.

Golf great Jack Nicklaus has previously labelled Fish the best non-professional golfer he has ever played with.

"We played nine holes, and he drove the ball on every single hole in the middle of the fairway; further than I have seen anybody hit it who is not a professional," Nicklaus said.

"He shot 31 for nine holes. I said, 'Mardy, what are you doing? You have got a talent, and you are young enough to take advantage of it. You need to go play golf.'"

Brooke Henderson remains in the lead at the Evian Championship, but a round of 65 from Ryu So-yeon on Saturday saw the South Korean move within two shots at the top of the leaderboard.

After back-to-back rounds of 64, Henderson carded a steady 68 on the third day in France, opening with a bogey before making four birdies and 13 pars to finish on 17-under overall.

Henderson, who won her first major at the Women's PGA Championship aged 18 in 2016, missed a chance to give herself an extra cushion as she slightly pulled a birdie putt on the 18th hole.

Ryu had managed a 67 and 66 on the first two days in Evian-les-Bains, and saw improvement again on Saturday as she carded eight birdies, despite also bogeying the fifth and 10th holes.

World number three Nelly Korda, who had been in second place overnight, struggled to replicate her positive start as the American carded an even-par round of 71, tied for sixth overall.

Sophia Schubert sits two shots further back in third after going round in 66, while Carlota Ciganda and Kim Sei-young are tied for fourth after carding 67 and 68 respectively.

World number one Ko Jin-young produced six birdies and two bogeys for a round of 67, sitting on 11-under-par in joint-sixth place heading into Sunday.

The only player to best Ryu's 65 was Albane Valenzuela of Switzerland, who produced an impressive round of 64 to move from tied for 30th to tied for 11th.

 

Scott Piercy's putter was on fire for the second round in a row, setting up a seven-under 64 to follow his opening 65, and at 13 under he is three strokes clear of the chasing field.

Piercy – who this week changed his coach, swing, caddie, driver and putter – seems to be reaping the benefits of his bold moves, going bogey-free on Friday in a round that included four consecutive birdies to open his round on the back-nine.

He trailed only first-round co-leader Im Sung-jae in strokes gained with the putter on Thursday, and he was again second in that category in his second trip around the course, finishing with 3.96 strokes gained on the greens. Only Danny Willett (5.46 strokes gained) performed better with the flat stick.

In outright second place at 10 under is Argentina's Emiliano Grillo, with a strong 65 that included an eagle. He did not excel in any one area in his first round, but on Friday he was top-10 in both strokes gained putting (3.12 strokes, seventh-best) and in approach shots (2.57, ninth-best).

Grillo is two strokes ahead of England's Callum Taren, who is alone in third place at eight under, and he worked his way there after an even-par opening round. 

He shot Friday's round of the day with his eight-under 63, going bogey-free with eight birdies, finishing fifth on the day in strokes gained putting (3.36), second in strokes gained off the tee (2.07) and second in strokes gained tee-to-green (4.92).

There is a five-way tie for fourth at seven under, with American quartet Tony Finau, Robert Streb, Tom Hoge and Doug Ghim, as well as Im after the South Korean followed his six-under opening round with a disappointing 70.

The group tied for ninth are a further two strokes back at five under, which includes Patton Kizzire and Jared Wolfe, while Australia's Cam Davis and England's Willett headlining the group at four under.

Canada's Adam Hadwin finished right on the cut-line at one over, while Davis Riley missed out on the weekend by one stroke, with Beau Hossler at three over and Cameron Tringale at four over.

Brooke Henderson produced a second successive 64 to surge into the lead at the Evian Championship.

The Canadian world number 10 had been one shot behind overnight leader Ayaka Furue going into the second round.

But Henderson, who won her first major at the Women's PGA Championship aged 18 in 2016, maintained her momentum with another seven-under-par effort.

She made the turn in 33 before going five under for the back nine, carding three consecutive birdies to close an outstanding round.

At 14 under par, Henderson went three strokes clear of world number three Nelly Korda, the American carding a 67 to improve to 11 under through 36 holes.

South Koreans Kim Sei-young and Ryu So-yeon sat tied fourth on nine under, while a group of six players were eight under par at the halfway stage.

Furue, meanwhile, slipped seven shots back after failing to build on her superb eight-under first round, the Japanese posting a one-over 72.

Defending champion Minjee Lee made it through to the weekend after a two-under 69 put her three shots inside the cut line.

Cameron Smith may be swayed by the lucrative financial offer from the LIV Golf International Series, but must consider whether he will enjoy competing on the breakaway tour.

That is the message from former Ryder Cup captain Mark James, who acknowledged the financial benefits of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf but was unsure of the merits of a competition still in its infancy.

Smith secured his first major title at the historic 150th Open Championship last weekend, triumphing ahead of Cameron Young and Rory McIlroy on the picturesque Old Course at St Andrews.

While lauded for the blemish-free final round that ensured Open glory, speculation grew that Smith may become the next high-profile defector to LIV Golf, the tournament headed by Greg Norman.

Smith refused to comment on the matter as he celebrated at St Andrews, remaining non-committal on his future as he expressed his disappointment with the line of questioning following his Open victory.

Though James, a 32-time professional winner, appreciated the lucrative offers LIV Golf are making to secure the PGA Tour's prized assets, he warned Smith to think carefully about his future.

"I would imagine right now they're weighing up his contracts, weighing up what you'll get for playing the LIV Golf Tour and what you'll get for playing around the world and having all these contracts," James told Stats Perform.

"And I mean, yeah, they might pay him. They would have to pay him I would think 100 million to play LIV Golf Tour compared to winning the Open and having all those contracts, maybe more.

"I don't know, I'm a bit out of touch with the big money game these days. But that means you don't have to work the rest of your life, even at his age 100 million will go a long way.

"But he's going to be playing, is he going to be playing with his mind on the golf? Is he going to really enjoy it? I don't know.

"I think there's a lot of question marks over this tour. And it will be interesting to see what the outcome is."

Henrik Stenson relinquished his Ryder Cup captaincy after becoming the next big-name signing for LIV Golf, announced on Wednesday alongside Jason Kokrak and Charles Howell III.

The breakaway league already has the likes of Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau, with every defector banned from playing on the PGA Tour as retaliation to their move away.

And James, who had a long career on the European Tour and has played on the US-based Champions Tour in senior golf, does not envisage LIV Golf succeeding, likening the tournaments to "exhibition events". 

"They've gone in extremely heavy-handedly LIV Golf," he added. "But then I suppose if they're trying to take players away from the two major tours, they have to because the two majors are so protective of their product.

"But I agree with the two main tours, I think they have to be and I think the two main tours are brilliant for golf, because they have a pyramid system on both tours where anyone who's any good will make it to the top. It is that simple.

"Whereas, if LIV Golf were in charge, then that would not be the case. We'll see if they're still talking at the end of the year. Maybe something can be thrashed out and both tours can end a little sooner and have some big jamboree at the end of the year for six, eight weeks for anyone who wants to play.

"Certain events might be better suited but LIV Golf seems to want to take over the whole thing. And I think those tournaments are not good for golf right now. They're basically exhibition events.

"People are getting paid crazy amounts of money and there's a lot of animosity between current tour players and the LIV Golf players. So it's not a great situation. And I don't think LIV Golf have handled it well. 

"I'm not sure Norman is a particularly good spokesman because they've taken him out in the press to a large extent, because he wasn't really voicing what Saudi wants someone to say.

"But, equally, I think that the pros from the tours who signed up with LIV Golf have not exactly been eloquent in defence of LIV Golf. So the whole thing, I think, is a little shambolic.

"But as I say, if you want to take golf by the scruff of the neck and make an impression on the main tour players, then maybe this is the only way to try and do it."

Henrik Stenson cannot feel slighted by losing the Ryder Cup captaincy over his decision to join LIV Golf, according to Europe's 1999 skipper Mark James.

James, who was captain when Europe surrendered a 10-6 lead to suffer defeat at Brookline, said Stenson's move represented a major coup for LIV, but insisted most of the breakaway tour's players were "past their peak".

Stenson became the latest big name to sign up for the controversial Saudi-backed tour on Wednesday, a decision that saw him stripped of Europe's captaincy for the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome.

The 2016 Open champion wrote on twitter that he disagreed with the decision to remove him from that role, but James feels here was no other alternative.

"I don't think it was so much Ryder Cup Europe making a decision. Henrik was unable to fulfil the obligations of his Ryder Cup captain's contract," James told Stats Perform. 

"If you can't fulfil the obligations, then the agreement is null and void. 

"It's virtually a mutual decision. He can say, 'well, I didn't agree with the captaincy being pulled'. If he can't fulfil his contract, I'm not too sure what he expects. 

"I don't know if Henrik needs the money. It's entirely possible. You hear rumours of a lot of tour players losing vast amounts of money with investments, I'd have no idea if he was one of those. 

"But he'll be getting an awful lot of money for being Ryder Cup captain and stuff associated with that. So for him to jump to the LIV Tour means they're offering him a very, very nice wheelbarrow load of cash."

The LIV series already counted experienced pros such as Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter among its ranks, and James believes the circuit has found it far easier to persuade older players to sign up.

James did, however, note the recruitment of a player set to be Ryder Cup captain represented a significant coup for the Greg Norman-led tour.

"Their strategy is to get people who will come and if you get people in their 40s, they are way more likely to come than people in their 20s," James continued.

"They're building up names on their tour and having a tour full of good, big names, even if they're slightly past their peak, which you could argue that Westwood, Poulter, Stenson and [Paul] Casey and others are, is giving them a star-studded field and it's an inducement to other players to then jump on board. 

"Certainly, [for] a Ryder Cup captain to sign up is a coup. Henrik knows what he's doing. He's not daft. And he's a really lovely guy. I like him a lot. 

"It's a great shame because he would have been a brilliant captain. And that ship now has sailed and it's a pity. It would have been a real jewel in a glittering career."

Attention will now turn to Ryder Cup Europe's efforts to replace Stenson, which 2021 skipper Padraig Harrington said on Wednesday will be "no issue".

James agreed with that assessment as he downplayed the importance of the captaincy, adding: "They [LIV] are taking a lot of possible captains away. So we'll find other people to be captain, captain is not all-important. 

"The captain's position is drummed up to be incredibly important. But I think it's overrated, I always have done. 

"Every captain we have, over the last, certainly 15 odd years, everyone thinks they're just going a little extra mile to do something else and everything's a little better. 

"When you get out there on the turf and start playing against Americans, there's only one thing filling your mind, how much you want to beat the Americans, because this is a massive event and it's a huge thrill to play in it and be involved in it."

After the first round of the 3M Open played at TPC Twin Cities, the two leaders – Im Sung-jae and Scott Piercy – sit two strokes clear of the chasing pack at six under.

There was no secret to the pair's success, as both were outlier performers with the putter, topping the day's rankings for strokes gained on the greens. Im was the best at 4.57 strokes gained, with Piercy in second (4.33) – nobody else finished better than Brice Garnett's 3.69.

The success for Piercy came after a week of sweeping changes to his game, entering the tournament with a new coach, new swing, new caddie, new driver and a new putter, saying afterwards that it was nice to be rewarded for his constant quest for improvement.

"I put in the work to make sure the stuff’s right," he said. "When it’s under the gun, it sometimes can be a little different, but the results with the putter today, I couldn’t be happier.

"It actually made me smile, and I don’t smile much." 

Garnett finished part of the five-man group tied for third at four under, along with fellow strong putter Doug Ghim (2.90 strokes gained putting), while Tony Finau, Tom Hoge and Emiliano Grillo reached their score in a different fashion.

Grillo was solid all around without excelling in one area, while both Hoge (minus 0.73 strokes gained putting) and Finau (minus 0.56) struggled on the greens. 

However, they were the top two in the tee-to-green category, with Hoge at 6.62 strokes gained and Finau at 6.45, with Hank Lebioda a long way back in third at 4.97. 

Lebioda is one of nine players a further stroke back at three under – tied for eighth – along with Canada's Adam Hadwin and Sweden's David Lingmerth.

Taiwan's C.T. Pan and South Korea's Noh Seung-yul are part of the group at two under, while Australian trio Jason Day, Cam Davis and Greg Chalmers shot one-under 70s.

Recent PGA Tour winner J.T. Poston highlights the group at even par, with England's Danny Willett at one over, and Canada's Adam Svensson at two over.

LIV Golf is actively courting Charles Barkley, and the NBA Hall of Famer admits there will be some backlash if he joins the tour. 

Barkley met with LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman on Wednesday about possibly being an announcer for their events. He has not yet signed any deal, but confirmed to the New York Post he will play in the pro-am at their next event, which will take place next week at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey. 

He also told the Post for him to join LIV, and not only leave his job as an NBA analyst for TNT but also step away from his endorsement deals with various sponsors, the offer would have to be highly lucrative. 

"In a perfect scenario, I would love to do both (TNT and LIV)," Barkley told the Post on Thursday. "I don't know how Turner's sponsors are going to feel about it. I know there is going to be some blowback." 

Barkley reportedly is signed to a three-year, $30million contract with TNT. LIV, however, could foreseeably offer significantly more, considering it is backed by $2billion in Saudi Arabian government funding, and has already offered sizeable paychecks to pry away Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka. 

The new league has faced sharp criticism for Saudi Arabia’s stances on human rights as well as being tied to the murder of a Washington Post journalist, but Barkley scoffed at the notion that LIV golfers were taking “blood money.” 

"I told (Norman), 'Listen, they are making up words, like blood money and sportswashing.'," he said. "We have all taken blood money, and we all have sportswashed something, so I don't like those words, to be honest with you. 

"If you are in pro sports, you are taking some type of money from not a great cause." 

Barkley is currently receiving money from several sponsors for being a spokesperson in their commercials and it’s uncertain if he would continue with those companies if he were to join LIV. 

"They checked in with me," Barkley said. "What I told Subway, Capital One and Dick's Sporting Goods, I said, 'Wait a minute. I haven't signed anything. I haven't met with the guy. Let's let this thing play out before you all call me all upset'." 

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.