LIV Golf makes its eagerly awaited Asian debut in Thailand next week, and the strength of the field set to play the $25 million LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok demonstrates the series’ commitment to the Asian region – and growing LIV Golf through a truly international calendar.
Forty eight of the world’s best golfers, including 12 major champions and four former world No. 1’s, are set to tee off at the all-new Stonehill, the first stop in Asia this season ahead of a trip to Saudi Arabia for the LIV Golf Invitational Jeddah, the seventh of eight events this year.
“The game of golf is global, that is first and foremost,” said 2020 U.S. Open Champion and Crushers GC Captain Bryson DeChambeau. “As I have travelled to Dubai, and won overseas, and played in the UK and did well – even as an amateur at college, I played the World Amateur Team Championship in Japan. I played the Australian Masters and Australian Open as an amateur. And playing those events, you realise that golf is not just this small little thing in the States. You realise it is a global game.”
This summer, LIV Golf announced that the LIV Golf League will officially launch in 2023 with 48 players and 12 established team franchises competing in a 14-tournament schedule. The full slate of events, to be announced in the future, is expected to expand LIV Golf’s global footprint across North and Latin Americas, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Europe.
LIV Golf has also made a $300 million, 10-year investment in the Asian region through the creation of The International Series – a ground-breaking series of events with larger prize purses on the Asian Tour in venues such as Thailand, Singapore, Korea, Egypt and Morocco, as well as England so far this season.
World-renowned players have spoken of the significance of LIV Golf bringing the sport to new audiences across the globe. The Crushers GC roster has featured a broad range of international stars such as England’s Paul Casey and Richard Bland, India’s Anirban Lahiri, South African stars Shaun Norris and Justin Harding, and Australian Travis Smyth.
DeChambeau believes this approach will only appeal to more markets and improve the game.
“I looked at this opportunity, I got Anirban on the team and Paul Casey on the team, and it is great to have international players on the team so we can grow internationally and that’s my goal,” said DeChambeau. “So many people don’t know this great game and having created amazing relationships, I want to provide that opportunity moving forward and that’s what I think team Crushers and LIV Golf can do, and that is what we are trying to accomplish and expand and grow this opportunity to the max.”
Lahiri, a star in his native India, finished in second place in his LIV Golf debut in Boston following a dramatic three-way playoff with Chile’s Joaquin Niemann and the eventual victor, Johnson. He spoke about the excitement that has already picked up in his home country and across Asia after being onboard with LIV Golf for just one month.
“One perception from back home is that people are looking at the golf and they are excited about having one of their own playing on this stage. People are excited about LIV going to Asia,” said Lahiri.
“At least 20 people I know from India are flying to Bangkok and that’s just from India, not Singapore or Malaysia and everywhere. Golf is huge in Asia. People are viewing this as something that could be a lifeline going forward. Not just what they are doing with the Asian Tour, but they are going to get to see the players they want to see. They are loving the broadcasts and it is overwhelmingly positive. I’m very happy that so many people are positive about what is going.”
Lahiri explained how the new format and the broadcast on YouTube will enable fans to see more of their favourite players – something that could grow the sport further internationally.
“Even if I’m in middle of the field, you are still going to see me hit a few shots, and there is still a narrative if you follow my team,” Lahiri added. “The people who follow me will also follow (the team) because it affects me. And that’s where team aspect builds fanbase. The whole dynamic works well, especially in the countries where golf is growing. People are still trying to get interested and involved with the sport, and this platform does a lot more for engagement.”