LONDON – In an effort to reshape rosters for its team competition, LIV Golf is set to introduce a transfer window and free agency that would alter four-man teams in advance of the 2024 season.
Heading into its third season, LIV will also sort its individual players into three categories to establish individual participants for 2024, the Saudi Arabia-backed circuit announced on Wednesday.
The “Lock Zone” is the top 24 players from last season who have secured their spot in LIV in 2024.
The “Open Zone” is for players finishing in places 25-44 who become free agents if their contracts are expiring.
The final “Drop Zone” is for players 45th and below who were relegated out of the league and must earn a spot for 2024 if their contracts are set to expire.
Players in the Lock Zone can return to their teams on a one-year deal or become free agents. Those in the Open Zone with expiring contracts can either be let go by their current team or sign a one-year deal with their previous squad.
Players in the Drop Zone can regain playing status by playing in the Dec 8-10 promotions event at Abu Dhabi Golf Club in the United Arab Emirates. The top three finishers earn 2024 playing status and an open roster spot on a team.
The top player in the Asian Tour’s International Series rankings also will earn full LIV status for 2024 and an open-roster spot on a team.
While no dates for a transfer window were specified, LIV Golf said in a statement that player movement among teams already has been launched.
“The league has launched the sport’s first-ever transfer window with player movement, free agency and new team rosters in progress, as momentum builds for LIV Golf’s second full season teeing off in 2024,” a statement said.
Crushers GC, led by Bryson DeChambeau, claimed the LIV team championship in 2023 with teammates Anirban Lahiri of India, American Charles Howell III and Paul Casey of England.
Talor Gooch, who was a member of RangeGoats GC, was the individual LIV champion while his team finished second.
Australia’s Cameron Smith was second in the individual rankings, Brooks Koepka was third, DeChambeau was fourth and Dustin Johnson was fifth.
In June, a merger was announced between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV, whose player roster includes big names such as Major champions Smith, Koepka and veteran Phil Mickelson.
In October, LIV’s bid to have ranking points at its events was unanimously rejected by the Official World Golf Ranking due to concerns about its format.
Meanwhile, 2022 British Open champion Smith fired a seven-under 63 to grab a share of the first-round lead alongside Spain’s Eugenio Chacarra at the Hong Kong Open on Thursday. REUTERS
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