Background and format
Golf's revolution comes to London. Well, home counties suburbia at least.
And what a murky business it is but, ignoring the politics for now, what does the future hold for golf?
Greg Norman, the figurehead of the project (although the $2 billion support comes directly from the Saudi Arabian Private Investment Fund), is an Australian and knows his cricket which means is aware of two historical precedents.
He likes to think he is leading a version of Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, which tore the establishment apart, introduced night cricket, white balls and coloured clothing, and transformed pay.
Well, that's the tale the players involved like to tell. In reality the players were actually pawns in a business stand-off, after which pay and conditions dropped again. Moreover, the schism had both traditional cricket and WSC on the verge of collapse and exhaustion before peace broke out.
Norman will also think of the IPL and there is absolutely no doubt that talk of franchises is inspired by Indian T20 cricket (there is a team aspect to LIV as well as the individual event).
There is also a third prospect, also inspired by leather and willow: that this all goes the way of Ian Botham's bizarre Hollywood period of 1985, when a wacko with the promise of outrageous sums of money flattered a big ego and led it up the garden path.
It's an intriguing prospect for some, exciting for others, frightening for many more.
There is also something else we can be sure of: Centurion Club also hosted the DP World Tour's GolfSixes and the difference between that innovation and this one is going to be immense.
The GolfSixes had funds akin to a church fete. In contrast, LIV Golf has almost limitless funds.
The golf itself is 54 rather than 72 holes, there will be a shotgun start so that the action takes place in a concentrated period of time (from 2pm every day), the field is limited to 48 players.
London black cabs will drive the players to their starting positions while Dick Van Dyke and Paddington Bear will announce them on the tee (okay, I invented the last bit of that).
The field is not only a mere 48 players it also one of the rummest collection of golfers ever assembled.
When we first heard of LIV Golf, Norman championed it as the best of the best and the rhetoric was unapologetic: the elite are not getting paid what they deserve, the journeymen are getting too much.
Months on, with most of the 48 best players in the world not involved, there is talk instead of growing the game, of helping those on the way up and the majority of the field are not even remotely close to PGA Tour journeyman class.
It's a sort of limited field event co-sanctioned by the Sunshine and Asian Tour with 10 big names signings (and Brooks Koepka's brother).
An extraordinary business and we haven't even mentioned the prize fund yet: $25 million with $4 million to the winner and £120,000 for finishing last.
To put that into perspective, the Open prize fund last year was $11.5 million.
Jinichiro Kozuma, Turk Pettitt, Oliver Fisher, JC Ritchie and Andy Ogletree have never had it so good and it's a factor - how on earth will these fellows deal with the prospect of a life-transforming Saturday?
We all know golf - it's entirely possible that a couple will find a neutral mind space and flourish, but many in the field will not. Because it's not just the win: every birdie (and bogey) will have a profound effect on the bank balance.
I often think commentators should be banned from talking of money in the final round. It's grubby. It's also likely to be more relevant this week than ever.
Controversy will hang in the air this week and it will need a steely mind for the big names to deal with that without getting rattled.
Instinctively you'd say that give Dustin Johnson an advantage because the fellow seems unaffected by most things. Against that is his on-going average form but it would be oddly neat if he won here because his last win was actually in Saudi Arabia. He's very short though.
Can Phil Mickelson pull off a remarkable coup? His presence is extraordinary. He's called the Saudi's rude words, his reputation as a high stakes tough guy has been rubbished, it's been revealed he was tight-fisted with caddie Bones McKay and the number of times he talked about wife Amy in an interview earlier this week was interesting. Surely a step too far?
Sergio Garcia has a ropey relationship with tough questions.
All told I quite like Ian Poulter's chances because he's never shied away from the pressure of winning money. In fact, he's said he spends so much on cars and extravagance specifically to drive himself to earn more; he didn't or doesn't want to get complacent.
This week, therefore, represents a huge opportunity.
He's never won on home soil, but he's come mighty close in many spots that are more or less this neck of the woods: at Woburn and The Grove, and going a little further afield The Belfry and the Forest of Arden.
Moreover, if you look at his form over the last three months he might not have a raft of good finishes but in making eight cuts in 10 on the PGA Tour he's been scoring well against better fields than some above him.
I have him nearer the top of the market in this field and, sensing he might chase the money on that final day rather than be afraid of it, am happy to have him on-side.
Add the South African Charl Schwartzel who is another I believe has been a little overlooked on form.
He contended in the Masters out of nowhere but insisted he had been playing better than the raft of missed cuts which the record books report.
Importantly he has backed that up making cuts at the Heritage and PGA Championship, faring okay in the New Orleans pairs event, and landing tied eighth in the Byron Nelson (when he was top 10 all week).
There are others in the field with more top 10s and top fives, but many came against poorer fields.
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