This weekend will see the first full scheduled season of LIV Golf get underway as the controversial upstart league heads to Mexico for its first stop on a 14 event season.
The event is being held at the El Chameleon Golf Club in Mayakoba on the East Coast of Mexico, south of popular holiday hotspot Playa del Carmen and is a former host of the PGA Tours World Wide Technology Event before its switch to the Saudi Investment Fund-backed league.
Here we take a look at who the runners and riders that will tee up at Mayakoba this weekend, which Teams they will be playing for and what we are predicting across 2023.
Full Preview and Predictions for Each LIV Golf Team
4 Aces – Dustin Johnson(c), Patrick Reed, Pat Perez, Peter Uihlein.
The defending champions will go into the first event as firm favourites after walking away with the Team prize in 2022 and will no doubt be looking to the generational talent that is Dustin Johnson to lead from the front again as winner of the Individual League last year. Patrick Reed will go into 2023 with high hopes of causing a similar splash as to his appearance at the DP Tour Championships in November and will hope to capture that form. Pat Perez returns for 2023 and his role will be to find the consistency that alluded him last year. New signing, Peter Uihlein replaces Talor Gooch for the new season and he was arguably the surprise package last year, finishing third in the overall standings, with Johnson snapping up his fellow American, who he hopes will remain in form as we start 2023.
Rippers GC – Cameron Smith(c), Marc Leishman, Matt Jones, Jediah Morgan.
The Australian based side under poster boy and current Open Champion, Cameron Smith made just the one change to their line-up for 2023 with Jediah Morgan joining the squad in place of Wade Ormsby. Morgan will be keen to show his worth to a new team and will want to hit the ground running. Marc Leishman returns and The newly named Rippers GC will be looking for more from the experiences Aussie, who was underwhelming last season. Likewise, Matt Jones will be looking for more consistency and if Smith and his team can find that, they could be a surprise package.
Majesticks GC – Ian Poulter(c), Lee Westwood(c), Henrik Stenson(c), Sam Horsfield.
The experienced Majesticks GC will be hoping to fly under the radar for 2023 and they have the talent to challenge at the top end of the league format with consistency, key to their chances. The charismatic Poulter showed glimpses of his old form and will still believe he can contend at events. Lee Westwood looks rejuvenated as he heads towards the twilight of his career but write him off at your peril, when the course set-up is right for him, he will be in the mix. Henrik Stenson showed what he could do when winning at Bedminster and the Swedish star will be looking to put his Ryder Cup Captaincy heartache behind him. The final cog for the Majesticks is rising star Sam Horsfield who has been retained after impressing in 2022 and will be looking at continuing his rise in the game.
Torque GC – Joaquin Niemann(c), Mito Pereira, Sebastian Munoz, David Puig.
One of LIVs biggest hopes is Chilean superstar Joaquin Niemann who will hopefully be tuned up to go nicely with an extended time off and keeping busy with shaping his squad during the off-season. His good friend Mito Pereira was persuaded to make the move for 2023 and he will hoot to back up his career decision, with an early impact. Also making the move is another Latin American as Sebastian Munoz also joined over the off-season. A talented player that has yet to capture his best form, will playing with friends be the making of the Colombian. Finally, David Puig will round off this rising quartet and he will be looking to add youthfulness and exuberance to the team, building his experience and learning from his talent teammates.
Smashers GC – Brooks Koepka(c), Chase Koepka, Jason Kokrak, Matthew Wolff.
Smashers GC have arguably the biggest talent on the roster with multiple major winning captain Brooks Koepka who after a challenging injury ravaged 18 months, reminded us all of his special talent when taking the win at the Jeddah event. Big things will hopefully come from the enigmatic skipper who will want to prove to the public, he is back. Joining him will be his younger brother, Chase Koepka, himself a talented golfer who will want to prove to himself and Brooks, that he isn’t the only talented brother. Jason Kokrak under performed in 2022 and will want to recapture his form that made him a top-20 golfer. The talented Matthew Wolff with his unique swing rounds off the side and with his undoubted ability, if he can go into 2023 with confidence, he could be a dark horse as another former top-20 golfer.
Crushers GC – Bryson DeChambeu(c), Paul Casey, Anirban Lahiri, Charles Howell III.
Crushers go into 2023 with a strong consistent squad, led by the charismatic crusher Bryson DeChambeau who will want to remind fans across the globe as to why he was the most talked about player between 2019-2021. A more rounded player, he has the talent to win the competition outright with more consistency across the season. Mr Reliable, Paul Casey will keep himself in the mix throughout the season and if he can remain for, he can be a big factor for the Crushers. Anirban Lahiri, the talented Indian will want to get away from blowing hot and cold with a more rounded season where he is more than capable. Finishing off the side is Charles Howell III, another that goes under the radar but is a model of consistency and has the pedigree to win.
Range Goats GC – Bubba Watson(c), Talor Gooch, Harold Varner III, Thomas Pieters.
Arguably the most improved squad with its eye-catching name, Captain Bubba Watson, whilst coming back from injury and perhaps not the player he once was, but a double Masters Champion nonetheless, he will want to build into the new season and have his team peak at the business end of the league. Talor Gooch proved his worth with the 4 Aces last year but makes his move the the Range Goats and again can win tournaments with his talent. Harold Varner III is another who will want a better 2023 with an underwhelming first season and there is no doubting his ability to be right up there. Late signing but arguably the leagues most impressive for 2023, Thomas Pieters will have one eye on the individual prize and with his talent, can contend across the season and show why the public were excited about the talented Belgian signing with LIV Golf.
Hy-Flyers GC – Phil Mickelson(c) Cameron Tringale, James Piot, Brendan Steele.
A team with much to improve on after an underwhelming 2022 inaugural season, though with a new signing and a team captain in Phil Mickelson, who will be looking to recapture the form that made him one of the leading players over the last 20 years. Cameron Tringale retains his place and whilst not spectacular, he is consistent and will be keen to show his worth to the team. Young James Piot will get another season to show his potential that made him a leading amateur and rounding out the team is new signing Brendan Steele, who will hopefully add that steal to a team that needs a better 2023 and has it all to do, to not be a basement dweller.
Cleeks GC – Martin Kaymer(c), Graeme McDowell, Richard Bland, Bernd Wiesberger.
Hard to know how much of an impact this team will have, they are certainly capable and will be keen to show they still have plenty in the tank. Led by Martin Kaymer, the Major winner has had a quiet few years and will be hoping to lead from the front. Likewise Graeme McDowell is in a similar situation, a Major winner that can be a force but needs to find consistency to recapture his old form. The most in-form of the quartet is Richard Bland who is having a swan song as he enters the twilight of his career and will be keen to continue his form that earned him a place in LIV Golf. Austrian Bernd Wiesberger is the final member of the side, a consistent player over the years on the DP World Tour without ever setting it on fire but has experience as a team player having played in Ryder Cups.
Fireballs GC – Sergio Garcia(c) Abraham Ancer, Carlos Ortiz, Eugenio Chacarra.
A youthful team, led by the experienced and passionate Sergio Garcia, Fireballs GC will go into the LIV Golf Season with eyes on challenging the Four Aces as the stand out team, with Garcia, still capable of winning events, but needing a more consistent 2023. His biggest asset on the team is likely to be Mexico’s Abraham Ancer, a headline act for LIV Golf and one of the top tier players that could feature as overall winner. Fellow Mexican, Carlos Ortiz added value to the Fireballs in 2022 and will be a consistent performer and one that may sneak under the radar. The youngest member of the side and a winner last year, Eugenio Chacarra as shown is capable of outperforming all his team but caution is the key as he develops and he may have more ups than downs but will still develop and has the greatest potential of all youngsters within the league.
Iron Heads GC – Kevin Na(c), Danny Lee, Scott Vincent, Sihwan Kim
On paper, the weakest of all teams but team captain Kevin Na, will be looking to use this as motivation for his side to be the surprise package, with Na himself needing a big season and lead from the front. New signing Danny Lee has threatened a consistent career across a number of years but goes through peaks and troughs that will affect his side either way. The most consistent player will likely be Scott Vincent, who earned his place on the side as the leading money winner on the Asian Tour, with the Zimbabwean, a good player who can be at the business end of tournaments. Sihwan Kim will be hoping for a better 2023 season and will need one to keep his place in the side for future seasons and that will come through consistency both here and on the Asian Tour.
Stingers GC – Louis Oosthuizen(c), Charl Schwartzel, Branden Grace, Dean Burmester
The workhorse team that has Major Winners and consistent performers throughout with Louis Oosthuizen leading the side. The South African contingent picked up two individual titles last season, showing their credentials and will know they can do the same again. Former Masters winner, Charl Schwartzel picked up the winners cheque at the inaugural tournament in London but dropped off towards the end of the season and will look for more consistency. Branden Grace was also in the winners circle at the Portland event and was consistent throughout, finishing second in the Individual standings and will be a key player once again. Rounding out the side is Dean Burmester who makes the move over from the PGA Tour, where he was rising throughout the 2022 season in the rankings and will hope that consistency pays off for his Stingers GC team.
Individual Places -Top 5
- Brooks Koepka
- Dustin Johnson
- Abraham Ancer
- Cameron Smith
- Lee Westwood
Team Standings – All Teams
- Fireballs GC
- 4 Aces GC
- Smashers GC
- Range Goats GC
- Majesticks GC
- Torque GC
- Rippers GC
- Stingers GC
- Crushers GC
- Hy-Flyers GC
- Cleeks GC
- Iron Heads GC