Positives & Challenges for 13 Teams going into LIV Golf Miami April 5-7

LIV Golf Crushers GC team consists of Paul Casey, Anirban Lahiri, Captain Bryson DeChambeau and Charles Howell III, lead the league after four events entering this week's tournament at Trump National Doral April 5-7.

MIAMI, Florida – The first four tournaments of the 2024 LIV Golf League are in the books, which means certain patterns are beginning to emerge throughout the 13 teams competing for the Team Championship. Many of those are positive; some … well, let’s just call them challenges. Opportunities to improve, if you prefer.

Here’s a look at each team’s Positives and Challenges going into next week’s LIV Golf Miami.

CRUSHERS GC (100 points)

POSITIVES: What’s not to like? Back-to-back come-from-behind team victories in Jeddah and Hong Kong, and that’s without benefit of an individual winner. With Paul Casey’s return to form after battling health issues last year, the defending champs are arguably the deepest team in the league – and that’s been on full display now that all four scores count for the team total in the final round (a league-leading 41 under on that day).

CHALLENGES: Three players – Casey, captain Bryson DeChambeau and Charles Howell III – rank inside the top 10 in individual points. Meanwhile, Anirban Lahiri is 25th (although he did finish T6 in Jeddah). Scary to think that the Crushers could be even stronger once Baan finds his consistency.

The LIV Golf League team Legion XIII, led by captain Jon Rham, Tyrell Hatton, Caleb Surratt and Kieran Vincent, has had an impact ranked in 4th place after four events of 14 on the schedule .

TORQUE GC (58 points)

POSITIVES: Joaquin Niemann in Mayakoba. Joaquin Niemann in Jeddah. The captain has been on a heater since the LIV Golf offseason when he won in Australia before producing his first two LIV Golf wins. He has seven top-5s in his last eight worldwide starts and is playing like he has something to prove. Also, new teammate Carlos Ortiz has improved with each week after a slow start.

CHALLENGES: Having won four times in 2023, Torque has yet to post a team victory this season, despite Niemann’s productivity. Yes, they do have two podiums and haven’t finished outside the top 5, so no need to panic. But Mito Pereira is one of 10 players in the league yet to earn a point and has yet to match his accuracy from last season; he ranks T41 in fairways hit (down from 8th in 2023) and T21 in greens in regulation (he led the league last season).

SMASH GC (51.50 points)

POSITIVES: Captain Brooks Koepka made some big moves in the offseason, adding reigning Individual Champion Talor Gooch and 2010 U.S. Open champ Graeme McDowell. It’s already paid off with a victory in Las Vegas and another podium in Jeddah. All four players rank inside the top 20 in points; no other team can say that.

CHALLENGES: Gooch set a high bar for himself after last season, so perhaps no wins and two top-10s thus far might be below his new standards now. Even so, he’s still sixth in points and has title defenses in Adelaide, Singapore and Andalucía coming up shortly. Expect Koepka to heat up now that the major season is here.

LEGION XIII (46 points)

POSITIVES: LIV Golf’s first expansion team winning in its debut at Mayakoba? As they say, you only get once chance to make a first impression. The victory showed that even though the roster seems top-heavy with captain Jon Rahm and Ryder Cup mate Tyrrell Hatton, the team has plenty of firepower to be a threat on any given week.

CHALLENGES: 19-year-old Caleb Surratt started off hot but has slowed considerably in his last two starts as he works on his short game and adjusts to life at the elite pro level. Unsurprising growing pains, no doubt. Promotions addition Kieran Vincent can bang it off the tee but has struggled with his short game and putting.

The Torque GC team features Captain Joaquin Niemann, Sebastian Munoz, Mito Pereira and Carlos Ortiz who are playing well currently settled into 2nd place entering LIV Golf Miami April 5-7.

STINGER GC (34 points)

POSITIVES: Charl Schwartzel’s T2 in Jeddah was his best result since winning the inaugural LIV Golf London in 2022. Captain Louis Oosthuizen was also T2 that week and continues the form he flashed in the offseason with two wins in South Africa. Same for Dean Burmester, who also won twice in the offseason and has two top-10s this year. Once Branden Grace gets untracked, the Stingers should be flying.

CHALLENGES: The South Africans’ second-place finish in Jeddah should be a highlight, but it’s difficult to look past the seven-shot 36-hole lead that they were unable to convert into a victory (yes, the Crushers shooting 20 under as a team that day also had something to do with it). The most perplexing trouble spot has been the team’s final-round performances; their cumulative total of 1 over when all scores count makes them one of just three teams over par in the final round. Surprising, given their depth.

RIPPER GC (26 points)

POSITIVES: Last season, captain Cameron Smith hit his stride starting with the fourth event of the season. He may be following the same pattern this season after finishing T2 and in a playoff at Hong Kong. New signee Lucas Herbert has finished in the points three times this season to solidify the No. 4 spot.

CHALLENGES: Marc Leishman had a slow start in 2023 but found his game in the second half, eventually finishing 18th in points. He’s off to another slow start (43rd in points) and needs his putter to wake up (ranks 45th in putts per hole) in order to produce a similar rally. No doubt the Aussie quartet has circled LIV Golf Adelaide as their most important week in the regular season, so let’s see if that will be their collective turning point in 2024.

The 4Aces GC team consists of Pat Perez, captain Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed and Harold Varner are currently in 6th place with 25 points of 13 teams.

4ACES GC (25.50 points)

POSITIVES: Captain Dustin Johnson is in good form, winning in Las Vegas; he’s now won at least one tournament in 16 of his 17 years as a pro. The Aces finished second as a team that week, but that might have been a bit unsatisfying since they started the final round tied for the lead.

CHALLENGES: No team has a higher bar than LIV Golf’s inaugural team champions, so the fact that they’re seventh in the standings through four events is a bit jarring. Patrick Reed is 41st individually; he’s been LIV Golf’s best player without a win the first two seasons. Gotta figure he’ll get cranked up soon.

RANGEGOATS GC (16 points)

POSITIVES: New Goats Peter Uihlein and Matthew Wolff pushed each other to top-4 finishes in Las Vegas. That’s the kind of chemistry captain Bubba Watson envisioned when he brought in both players during the offseason.

CHALLENGES: Thanks to the Uihlein-Wolff combo, the Goats made the podium in Vegas, but the team has finished 10th or worse in the other three tournaments. It was always going to be difficult to match last year’s performance as the team rode the hot hands of Gooch and Varner. The Goats’ fate may ride on how consistent Uihlein and Wolff perform the rest of the way.

The LIV Golf Majestics team includes co-captains Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Sam Horsfield and Henrik Stenson who rank 9th place of 13 teams.

MAJESTICKS GC (13.50 points)

POSITIVES: Finishing fourth in Hong Kong – the team’s best result since midway in the inaugural 2022 season – gave the Majesticks a much-needed boost. The four-counting-scores format has been a good thing for the team; their cumulative total of 17 under in the final round ranks fourth-best in the league.

CHALLENGES: Co-captain Lee Westwood finished T32 in the season opener at Mayakoba; that remains his best result of the season. He showed signs of life in Hong Kong, shooting 68-67 on the weekend. If he can build on that, the Majesticks should make serious noise, especially in July during LIV Golf’s European two-step.

FIREBALLS GC (11.83 points)

POSITIVES: Abraham Ancer’s playoff win in Hong Kong obviously is the team’s biggest highlight, followed closely by captain Sergio Garcia’s play in Mayakoba when he pushed Niemann to a fourth playoff hole. Both players rank inside the top 12 in individual points, making them one of the most lethal 1-2s in the league this season.

CHALLENGES: The Fireballs have two of the league’s three youngest players in David Puig and Eugenio Chacarra, so no surprise if the consistency hasn’t yet arrived. Puig has been terrific in his last nine non-LIV events – two wins, a second, a T3, a T4 and four other top 15s. He just needs to figure out how to bring that game to LIV.

CLEEKS GC (9 points)

POSITIVES: There was a stretch during the final round in Hong Kong in which the Cleeks seemed on the verge of their first team win. Ultimately, they finished a respectable fifth, an encouraging result for a team that has struggled for podiums. New signee Adrian Meronk and reliable Richard Bland give the Cleeks a steady twosome – and significant hope.

CHALLENGES: Captain Martin Kaymer and Promotions medalist Kalle Samooja have a combined 0.57 points, so they’ll need to pick up the pace. Kaymer’s T21 in Hong Kong might not seem like a big deal, but it’s his best LIV result since the middle of the 2022 season.

All four scores counting for team totals in the final round is having a big impact this season so here is each team’s cumulative scoring per round.

IRON HEADS GC (2.33 points)

POSITIVES: Captain Kevin Na has been his team’s steadiest performer, with a T6 in Hong Kong and two other top 20s. He ranks tied for first in the league in fairways hit.

CHALLENGES: Did we say Na was his team’s steadiest performer? Make that its only performer thus far. Na has 18.17 individual points this season; his three teammates have a combined 0.57. The Iron Heads desperately need the Danny Lee of 2023 Tucson and the Scott Vincent of 2023 Jeddah to show up.

HYFLYERS GC (2.33 points)

POSITIVES: Captain Phil Mickelson finished T6 in Jeddah for his best-ever LIV Golf result. It was also just the third time at a LIV tournament in which he posted all three rounds in the 60s (he also did it in Jeddah in 2023). At age 53, he ranks as his team’s best player this season.

CHALLENGES: No team has struggled more with the four-scores-counting rule than the HyFlyers, who are 13 over in the final round. That’s nine strokes worse than any other team. Collectively, they’ve struggled for accuracy, ranking last in the league in fairways hit and greens in regulation. Andy Ogletree has yet to flash the form that won him the International Series title last season.


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