BOLTON, Mass – Many of golfs biggest names are migrating from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf – the newest, richest most attractive professional golf tour – and it is quickly growing in star power to the benefit of LIV Golf Invitational Boston scheduled Sept. 2-4, the Friday-Sunday of Labor Day weekend, at the International golf club in Bolton.
Only 6,500 tickets are available to golf fans daily and the event is expected to sell out all three days. Grounds passes cost $70 per day or $185 for all three days. Hospitality packages range from $275 per day or $800 for all three days up to $4,250 for all three days. Visit https://tickets.livgolf.com/2022-boston
With a 120-year history, the International is greater Boston’s only 36-hole private club. The Oaks Course is 7,100 yards long and plays to a par of 72. Architect Tripp Davis worked with a construction company to strip and laser level the tees at the Oaks Course last year. The bunkers, which stand out because they are filled with crushed limestone, were renovated as well.
“The members have been overwhelmingly supportive of the event,” said General Manger Steve Brennan. “The International is a world-class property and this is another way to showcase the club internationally. Our job is to have an exceptional golf course and let the pros come play, the rest of the stuff doesn’t really come into our life. This is a big deal and we look forward to hosting the tournament.”
The LIV Golf Invitational Series has drawn criticism in its first year because it’s funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. The most recent LIV Golf event June 30-July 2 outside Portland, Oregon, drew a few protests while some accuse the Saudis of using LIV Golf to sanitize their image of abusing human rights.
Nevertheless, the LIV Golf event outside Portland sold out on the final day and the three-day tournament was successful on a local level and watched live on YouTube by tens and thousands of fans. On July 1, LIV Golf donated $1 million to support local environmental and community-based organizations in Portland (OR). LIV Golf has said they will donate $1 million to local charities in-and-around Bolton (MA). The estimated economic impact is $30 million according to tournament officials.
“The membership at International looks forward to showcasing the club to a worldwide golf audience when LIV Golf is here over Labor Day weekend,” said longtime member Evan McCullough. “The Oaks redesign is phenomenal. The elevation changes, scenic views and greens are in the best condition ever and the new laser-level tee boxes are awesome. The best professional golfers in the world will be impressed.”
Even though the PGA Tour suspends all golfers who jump to the rival league, several golfers have found LIV Golf’s money too good to pass up. Phil Mickelson was reportedly paid $200 million to join LIV, Dustin Johnson received $150 million and Bryan DeChambeau got more than $125 million. Prize money for each event is $25 million and first place pays $4 million. Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed and Sergio Garcia are other big names playing in LIV Golf events. Each event consists of 48 golfers, 54 holes, shotgun starts and no cut. Every player is guaranteed a check.
The field should be even stronger at the International than it was at Pumpkin Ridge outside Portland because more PGA Tour golfers have since committed to play LIV Golf.
This week, Henrik Stenson, Jason Kokrak and Charles Howell joined LIV Golf. As a result, Stenson was stripped of his captaincy of the European Ryder Cup team.
Cameron Smith, recent winner of the Open Championship, is reportedly close to signing with LIV Golf as well. Several of the LIV golfers are past their primes, but Smith certainly isn’t. He’s the No. 2 ranked golfer in the world. Others reportedly considering jumping to LIV include No. 14 Hideki Matsuyama, No. 39 Adam Scott, No. 57 Marc Leishman and No. 84 Bubba Watson. Matsuyama, Watson and Scott have each won the Masters.
The LIV Golf event at the International will be held at the Oaks Course, a Tom Fazio design that opened in 2001, on the week after the PGA Tour’s Tour Championship. There’s no PGA Tour event scheduled that weekend so there’s a chance even more PGA Tour golfers could decide to play in the LIV Golf event at the International.
On Aug. 31, LIV appointed team captains will each draft three golfers to form 12 teams for the team competition and the pairings for the Sept. 1 pro-am will be decided.
The International and Pumpkin Ridge are both owned by Escalante Golf, a private equity firm based in Fort Worth, Texas, that owns 20 golf courses in the U.S.
South Africans have won the first two LIV Golf events, Charl Schwartzel in London and Branden Grace in Portland. The third of eight LIV Golf events in 2022 is scheduled for July 29-31 at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in Bedminster, N.J.
LIV Golf lacks a national television contract, but live coverage is available online at www.LIVGolf.com, YouTube and Facebook. Veteran golf announcer David Feherty left NBC this week and is expected to beef up LIV Golf broadcasts.