Ever since bursting onto the scene in 2022, the LIV Golf League has not been afraid to look at what traditional golf has always done and think to itself: "I wonder if we can improve on that?" It hasn't always achieved supremacy in that regard, but some of the changes have been innovative and progressive, if nothing else.
Now into its third season of existence, LIV continues to try and find new and exciting ways to attract a different audience to the greatest sport in the world. And in the article below, we will take a look at five key rules which were put in place to separate the newest circuit on the block to its long-standing forerunners.
54 HOLES AS OPPOSED TO 72
Nearly every professional tournament around the world involving the very best players features four days of 18-hole strokeplay. Not only is it a test of skill, it is a test of endurance as it can ask a player to find that extra drop of energy to win a tournament on Sunday.
But LIV decided that 72 holes was too many. Too many for players and too many for fans to remain engaged the whole way through. The League felt it would be almost impossible for players to perform at their very best over four consecutive days week in, week out. Therefore, the drop to just 54 holes - combined with fewer events throughout the year - was designed to promote a superior standard of product.
Plus, those with even a modest knowledge of Roman numerals will realise 'LIV' means 54 - the score if every hole on a par-72 course were birdied and the number of holes to be played at LIV events.
NO HALFWAY CUT
Most fans will know that if a professional player does not make the cut, they do not earn any prize money. Well, those days are long gone for LIV players. Not only are the prize purses absolutely astronomical in relation to the likes of the PGA Tour, but every player who tees it up is guaranteed a share of the spoils.
Even if a player comes last in LIV after enduring a horrible week, they will earn north of six figures for their efforts. And they aren't shown the door early, so can continue to try and help their team compete for the group prize while potentially shaking off any poor form or rust.
On the likes of the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, sub-par golf on Thursday and Friday spells the end of a player's week, and it's onto the next one without that prize-money bonus to comfort them.
PLAYERS ARE ALLOWED TO WEAR SHORTS
Admittedly a small tweak, but a progressive change nonetheless - especially when LIV hops around the world to some extremely toasty locations. The PGA Tour and DP World Tour prohibits players wearing shorts during competitive rounds - except for in extreme circumstances - while LIV allows its competitors to dress however they please.
LIV's mantra has always been about having fun, and its theory around the dress code leans into the fact that players can enjoy themselves more if they don't feel as restricted by their wardrobe choice.
Announcing they would be "the first league and tour to make it official" back in September 2022, CEO Greg Norman appeared in a video on the LIV Golf channels walking towards the camera with the tune of 'who likes short shorts' playing in the background. Transitioning from trousers to shorts, Norman then says: "It's official. As of tomorrow, LIV Tour players will be able to wear shorts."
From the very first event in London during the summer of 2022, LIV Golf has operated with a shotgun start. This involves all players teeing off at the same time, but not necessarily on the first or 10th hole as they would in a PGA Tour or DP World Tour event. So instead of your usual driver off the tee into a par-4 or 5, LIV golfers can sometimes be easing into their round with a tricky par-3 over water.
Another reason LIV plumped for the shotgun start was to try and eradicate any unfair advantage of weather conditions potentially affecting certain players more than others. Plus, all players beginning and ending at more or less the same time speeds up the window of action for fans. Instead of a day's play lasting almost as long as the sun is in the sky, LIV's events last around five hours per go.
PLAYERS ARE ABLE TO USE A RANGEFINDER
For #LIVGolfMiami Team Championship 2022, Distance Measuring Devices are permitted during the tournament for obtaining information on distance. Please note: Measuring elevation changes are prohibited.October 25, 2022
Rangefinders are hugely popular because they provide quick and accurate yardages, while they can also help improve the flow of the game - a key aspect behind LIV Golf's USP.
While the vast majority of other tours in the men's professional game have not yet fully embraced rangefinders in competitive action - the PGA Tour doesn’t allow them in its events, but players can use them in practice rounds - LIV Golf has proved more accepting of them. Ahead of the LIV Golf Team Championship towards the end of 2022, LIV announced they could be used for the first time - a rule that has remained in place ever since.
Rangefinders were also allowed at the 2023 PGA Championship after the PGA took the decision to allow them in its Majors - the PGA Championship, the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, and the Senior PGA Championship - following a change in the Rules of Golf back in 2019 which put the decision to use of DMD's (distance-measuring devices) at the discretion of a tournament’s organising committee.