Sports

LIV plans transfer window; offseason moves start

The LIV Golf League is introducing a transfer window it says is the first in professional golf, allowing teams to trade players in midseason and extend contracts to golfers in the final year of their deals.

The exact dates of the midseason trade window were not revealed in LIV Golf’s announcement Wednesday.

According to the circuit, the first phase of LIV Golf’s offseason player movement is already underway. The top 24 players in the seasonlong individual points standings are guaranteed an opportunity to compete in the league next season.

Players in the “lock zone” with expiring contracts are offered a minimum one-year deal to remain with their current teams. That group includes Peter Uihlein (4Aces GC), Anirban Lahiri (Crushers GC), Carlos Ortiz (Fireballs GC), Richard Bland (Cleeks GC) and Scott Vincent (Iron Heads GC). Those players don’t have to re-sign with their current teams and can become free agents.

Once free agency opens, teams can add any of the top 24 players who didn’t re-sign with their current teams as well as players who finished 25th to 44th in the individual points standings and have expiring contracts. Players in the “open zone” with expiring deals are not required to re-sign with their current teams, and their teams are not required to bring them back.

Players in the open zone with expiring contracts include Pat Perez (4Aces GC), David Puig (Torque GC), Matt Jones (Ripper GC), Bernd Wiesberger (Cleeks GC) and Graeme McDowell (Cleeks GC).

During the free agency period, teams with open roster spots can also trade for a player from another team — LIV Golf doesn’t allow squads to recruit golfers from another team without permission — or add a golfer who didn’t compete on the circuit in 2023 as long as he meets the minimum criteria established by LIV Golf.

Free agency ends when there are only four roster spots remaining for 2024. Those openings will be filled by the top three finishers from the LIV Golf Promotions tournament and the top finisher in the International Series rankings on the Asian Tour.

Former Georgia Tech star Andy Ogletree, the 2019 U.S. Amateur champion, has a sizable lead in the International Series standings. He competed in the inaugural LIV Golf tournament outside London in June 2022, finished last and hasn’t competed in another LIV Golf event.

The LIV Golf Promotions tournament will be played Dec. 8-10 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club in the United Arab Emirates. The 72-hole event over three days will offer $1.5 million in prize money. Players who finished 45th or worse in the 2023 points standings and those in the open zone who weren’t offered contracts for 2024 can compete in the tournament. The top three finishers will earn a roster spot and exemption into each of the 14 LIV Golf League events in 2024.

Following the promotions tournament, the circuit will conduct a draft for teams to select among those four players.

After LIV Golf’s inaugural season in 2022, there was some player movement that occurred through free agency. Talor Gooch, who won the 2023 individual points championships, moved from 4Aces GC to Range Goats GC. Uihlein jumped from Smash GC to replace Gooch on the 4Aces.

Former PGA Tour winner Matthew Wolff also moved from captain Phil Mickelson‘s HyFlyers GC to Brooks Koepka‘s Smash GC. Wolff doesn’t figure to return to Smash GC after Koepka blasted his commitment throughout the season.

LIV Golf added five players from the PGA Tour before the 2023 season: Dean Burmester, Danny Lee, Mito Pereira, Sebastian Munoz and Brendan Steele. Former Ryder Cup competitor Thomas Pieters, who played on the DP World Tour, made the jump too.

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