South African Dean Burmester, New Zealand’s Danny Lee, Belgium’s Thomas Pieters and American Brendan Steele completed the 48-player field of 12 four-man teams for the opener at Mexico’s Mayakoba resort.
The controversial series lured many big names from the US PGA Tour and DP World Tour with record purses of US$25 million (B862mn) for 54-hole events.
But LIV Golf, criticized as using sport to enhance the reputation of a Saudi regime with major human rights issues, created a divide in the golf world that includes a court fight set to begin next January.
LIV Golf commissioner Greg Norman says his group has “reinvigorated” pro golf for a younger crowd even as such stars as Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have backed the established tours and historic tournaments.
“Our league format has already begun to build connections with new audiences around the globe,” Norman said of the team competition.
“Major champions, current and future Hall of Famers and up-and-coming stars are all committed to creating this new platform for world-class competition as the sport evolves for the next generation.”
LIV’s 14-event season includes eight US stops and its lineup includes 13 major winners and four former world number ones.
Two-time major winner Dustin Johnson and his all-American 4Aces are defending team champions with Peter Uihlein, Pat Perez and Patrick Reed.
World number 35 Pieters joins two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson’s Rangegoats along with Americans Harold Varner III and Talor Gooch.
Former British Open champion Oosthuizen’s all-South African team includes Burmester, Branden Grace and Charl Schwartzel.
Six-time major winner Mickelson’s all-US HyFlyers include Steele, James Piot and Cameron Tingale while Lee joined Americans Kevin Na and Sihwan Kim and Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent on Iron Heads.
Other team captains include major winners Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Australian Cameron Smith, the reigning British Open champion.
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