Exclusive: Saudi golf rebels given 'Tiger Woods treatment' in all-expenses-paid luxury

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Exclusive: Saudi golf rebels given 'Tiger Woods treatment' in all expenses paid luxury - SHUTTERSTOCK
Exclusive: Saudi golf rebels given 'Tiger Woods treatment' in all expenses paid luxury - SHUTTERSTOCK

The Saudi-backed rebel circuit will roll out the red carpet for its players next week, with all-expenses-paid luxury awaiting competitors - and even their caddies.

Lavish parties and perks - detailed in a brochure sent to the players and seen by Telegraph Sport - outlines what Greg Norman, the chief executive of LIV Golf, describes as a "first-class experience" to better the PGA and European Tours.

The promise is for “a touch of LIV audacity”.

As well as a purse of $25million for the opener in the $255m eight-event series, Dustin Johnson - who was handed $150m simply to sign up - and the other 47 players will be bathed in splendour at a five-star Hertfordshire hotel and spa.

Flights - at the front of the plane, naturally - are being put on for a hospitality-packed six-day stay for the players and their caddies, who will be hosted at a separate hotel.

The brochure also includes the hastily rearranged itinerary for the "draft party" on Tuesday after Alexandra Palace pulled out of staging the glitzy event a fortnight ago, with the famous London venue fearing bad publicity.

It will now take place at RD Studios, a recently converted £20m facility in West London. "DJ to the stars" Fat Tony, who has previously been hired by George Michael, Andy Warhol and Madonna, will headline.

Players and caddies are invited to bring guests to the event, which will feature "cocktails, refreshments and heavy hors d'oeuvres". Cuisine at the course, meanwhile, is overseen by Michelin-starred restaurateur Jason Atherton.

Free flights and accommodation for all competitors and caddie in the field is a rarity in golf. One insider opined that organisers are effectively giving every player "the Tiger Woods treatment".

In the programme agenda, Norman writes: "We have been working hard to deliver a one-of-a-kind event for players and fans, with a focus on delivering a first-class experience for you and your guests."

After-action music acts to include James Morrison and Craig David

The Centurion Club, where the 54-hole shotgun-start tournament takes place, has also lined up big-budget evening entertainment. Spectators must stump up £67.55 at least for ground passes, but after-action music acts will include James Morrison and Craig David.

As Telegraph Sport revealed on Wednesday, Johnson, the former world No 1, was paid £119m by Norman amid the Saudi desperation to secure a stellar name at the 11th hour. Three months after declaring he was “fully committed” to the PGA, Johnson, 37, stunned golf with his presence in the 48-man field.

The top five in the Asian Tour International Series event concluding at Slaley Hall this weekend will also qualify. There will be a sixth name added on Monday, with speculation mounting that Phil Mickelson could be announced. Rickie Fowler is another name being rumoured.

Graeme McDowell is the biggest name playing at Slaley and going into the last two rounds, the 2010 US Open champion is handily poised on three-under, just three behind the pacesetters, South African Justin Harding and Korean Joohyung Kim.

McDowell is guaranteed a place at Centurion, but how the world No 346 would love to go into the Hertfordshire battle for the $4m first prize with his first win in more than two years.

One Northern Irishman who will not be in Hemel Hempstead is Darren Clarke. The 2011 Open champion turned down the offer to become an analyst for the LIV Series, despite his manager, Chubby Chandler, telling Telegraph Sport: “The three-year deal was worth lots and lots.”

However, Clarke was warned by the PGA Champions’ Tour that he would be subject to disciplinary action if he signed up. "It was very tempting, because the offer was so good - if I said yes, I'd almost be ready to retire from professional golf," Clarke told SI.com.

"It was a very difficult scenario. There was a conversation with my wife Alison and close friends, but ultimately this is where I want to be for now."