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LIV Golf Tour Houston: New professional golf tour makes stop in city

HOUSTON - For the first time since its inception, the LIV Golf Tour is making a stop in Houston!

LIV has been highly controversial since 2022 when the Saudi-backed tour began plucking some of the world's best golfers from the PGA Tour with the help of Greg Norman who has been a leader in creating LIV.

Names including Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, and Cameron Smith committed to LIV Golf.

Their decision would bar them from PGA Tour events excluding the four Major’s and Ryder Cup teams.

WATCH: Phil Mickelson at LIV Golf Houston

Last year, LIV Golf and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), the DP World Tour, and the PGA Tour announced a decision to combine their commercial businesses and rights into a single for-profit entity.

Since this announcement, not much has changed as the tours continue to operate as their own entities.

LIV Format

LIV takes a team approach to golf. In 2024, there are 13 teams with unique names and the teams are made up of four players. LIV only allows a total of 54 players along with two wild cards each week. The wild card players earn individual points and could earn a future spot on the team. There is an individual prize payout and a team prize payout.

The team and individual aspect resembles the format of a high school or collegiate tournament where each team will build a cumulative score and low-score wins for both team and individual players.

The LIV tournaments are played over three days from Friday through Sunday.

During the first two days of each event, the top three players’ scores will count towards their teams' overall score. On the third day, all four players’ scores will count.

On the PGA Tour, there are no teams and a low score for 72 holes over four days wins. The top eight LIV teams in each tournament earn points in the team standings.

The payouts are large. Individual winners of each event will win $4 million. LIV puts up a $25 million purse, $20 million for the individual conception, and $5 million for the teams. The $25 million purse is in place for the Houston event.

There is a shotgun start at LIV events, the players take carts and they can wear shorts.

The shotgun start allows all of the players to tee off on different holes making for a faster pace of play.

THINGS TO DO: Holey Moley: Mini-golf course with karaoke opening in Houston

LIV also hosts concerts at the events on the outdoor stage. Macklemore will take the stage at the LIV Golf Houston Invitational on Saturday evening after play is concluded. The concert is included with a general admission ticket.

LIV Golf Houston Invitational

The atmosphere at the Golf Club of Houston is unlike anything golf has seen before.

A live band as spectators enter, DJs and loud music playing throughout the course, and a fan village where people of all ages can ride a mechanical bull, shoot some hoops, swing a baseball bat, and grab some food and drinks!

"So we’re a little different than just traditional professional golf," said Troy Tutt Senior Vice President of Ticketing and Hospitality. "So one, shotgun start. What does that mean? Everyone will start at the same time so right at 12:15 you will see some of the best golfers in the world all teeing off. We got five hours of action-packed golf."

The fans FOX 26 spoke with were excited to experience a different way of golf.

"I’m just so excited to be here. I love golf and I love the PGA, but I was excited to just see what LIV was all about," said Kyle Thomas.

Jorge and Maribel Amaya were bracing the Houston heat to celebrate their 16th wedding anniversary. "We came out to do what my husband loves the most, which is golf," said Marible Amaya.

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"This is super awesome. Everyone here is super nice. I don’t think I’ve ever been to an event like this," stated Jorge Amaya.

Thousands of fans filled the grandstands cheering on some of the world's best golfers.

LIV'S tournament in Houston runs through Sunday and tickets are still available online.

The U.S. Open takes place next week at Pinehurst where many of those players in Houston will be competing for one of golf’s Major Championships.

Both Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau have won the U.S. Open in recent years.