Written by
Mike McAllister
Feb 01 2024
- 5 min

PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico – The second full year and third overall in LIV Golf history starts Friday at El Camaleón in Mayakoba. There are a handful of new players, and some intriguing roster moves. You may have heard about a few of them.

Reigning Masters champ Jon Rahm obviously is the most decorated name to join LIV Golf this season, as he’ll captain the expansion Legion XIII that also includes Ryder Cup buddy Tyrrell Hatton. Those two tend to wear their emotions on their sleeves while on the course and have on occasion uttered a few salty words when things did not go their way.

Rahm wondered this week if LIV Golf fined players for cursing while competing, especially in ear shot of an open mic. Told that the League does not, both players breathed a sigh of relief. “We would have definitely been in trouble before,” Rahm said with a smile.

Of course, it may be their competitors who’ll growl in frustration if Rahm and his Legion XIII crew – which includes the League’s youngest player, 19-year-old Caleb Surratt, and Promotions qualifier Kieran Vincent – begin a hostile takeover at the top of the leaderboard. It won’t be easy, though.

Last year’s full 14-tournament schedule included tighter races in both individual and team competitions compared to the first beta-season. Now, thanks to an active offseason with the signing of new world-class golfers along with some key trades and transfers among returning players, 2024 promises to reach new levels of competitiveness – especially with the recent format change in which all four scores in the final round will now count for their teams. Nowhere to hide on Sunday.

With Friday’s opening round set for LIV Golf Mayakoba, here’s all you need to know going into the new season:


Bryson DeChambeau and his defending champion Crushers GC rightly say they are. “If I'm being straightforward, I think it's us,” said DeChambeau, who didn’t really get cranked up until mid-season when he put a Krank driver in his bag. “If we could just get out of our own way and continue to play like we have, we're tough to beat.”

4Aces GC won the title in 2022 and have been the top seed in each of the two regular seasons. They’re added a proven LIV Golf winner in Harold Varner III this season. “Other teams have definitely gotten stronger. But yes, I think we're definitely still the team to beat,” said captain Dustin Johnson, who expects improved individual results from himself after an inconsistent 2023.

Torque GC won a league-best four team titles in 2023 and that was with the youngest lineup in the league. They signed veteran Carlos Ortiz, a consistent performer, and now may be even better. “Yeah, I think we're the team to beat,” said captain Joaquin Niemann said point-blank.

Smash GC had a fairly miserable 2023 but Brooks Koepka has overhauled his lineup, adding reigning Individual Champion Talor Gooch and 2010 U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell, who will solidify the back end of the roster. “We definitely have the talent, we've got the potential, and everything seems like a good fit,” Koepka said.

Meanwhile, team tournament winners Stinger GC and Fireballs GC should be just as competitive, as they always seem to lurk around the top of the team leaderboard. “We like where we are,” said Fireballs captain Sergio Garcia. “We feel very strong about ourselves.” As for the South Africans? Captain Louis Oosthuizen and Dean Burmester won two European Tour events apiece in their home country during the offseason. "I won't be surprised if we start out pretty decent this year," Oosthuizen said.


Fueled by Gooch’s three-win season and Varner’s victory in DC, RangeGoats GC had arguably the most successful 1-2 punch in the league. That resulted in one team win, five other podium finishes and an entire run of point-producing top-8 results.

But now Gooch and Varner are gone, replaced by Matthew Wolff and Peter Uihlein. Wolff has huge potential, while his good friend Uihlein has reached the next level as a consistent top-end LIV golfer, but those shoes will be large to fill.

Captain Bubba Watson, who should be more competitive himself after a year removed from knee surgery, isn’t shy about making moves others may view as risky. He sees huge upside with the now-happy Wolff – and if the 24-year-old finds his groove, the RangeGoats might even exceed last year’s one-win total.


There are several, thanks to some significant offseason moves that could upgrade the back half of lineups. Having consistent contributions from the Nos. 3 and 4 players are vital for team success at LIV Golf tournaments.

Phil Mickelson’s HyFlyers GC are still looking for a champagne celebration of any kind. International Series champion Andy Ogletree, a two-time winner last year, replaces relegated James Piot. “The sky's the limit for Andy,” said his new teammate Brendan Steele.

Or consider Cameron Smith’s Ripper GC. Lucas Herbert, a winner on both the PGA and European tours, replaces another relegated player in Jed Morgan. “Lucas will be a great addition to the team,” Smith said. “He’s a really hardy competitor. Loves to win, loves to compete.”

Now consider Cleeks GC. They haven’t made much noise the first two years outside of the seemingly ageless Richard Bland, but the addition of Poland’s Adrian Meronk – who’s won four European Tour events the last two seasons – should give the team a jolt. So should another new face in LIV Golf Promotions champion Kalle Samooja.

Meanwhile, Cleeks captain Martin Kaymer finally feels healthy after dealing with a nagging wrist problem that required surgery over a year ago. He’s ready to contribute at a higher level than the previous two seasons. If there are sleeper captains for 2024, he might be at the top of the list.

“Finally, I feel like I can do something this year,” Kaymer said. “I feel really motivated and we’re excited for our team. I don't want to be on the bottom of the tournament every week.”


Last year, Majesticks GC finished 11th in team points, while Iron Heads GC finished last. Both squads obviously are motivated to climb out of the cellar, and each has reason for optimism.

The Majesticks return the same lineup with the three-headed captaincy of Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood, along with Sam Horsfield. They’re diving hard into analytics to help identify areas of improvement.

“We're all world-class players and we've been at the top of the game for a very long time,” Poulter said. “So, if we can nick half a percent on certain aspects across the board, then that in itself will give us the opportunity to perform better.”

As for the Iron Heads, they essentially played with 2-1/2 players for much of last season. Danny Lee won the first U.S. event last season in Tucson, but he spent much of the year in pain while dealing with wrist problems. Meanwhile, Sihwan Kim was relegated after contributing fewer counting rounds than any other LIV golfer. He’s been replaced by Promotions qualifier Jinichiro Kozuma.

A healthy Lee and potential improvement from the 4th slot give captain Kevin Na hope. “Danny did win last year,” Na said, “but I think his consistency is going to be better.”


Certainly not. Rahm and Hatton rival any top two in the league, but the questions obviously come in the other two spots.

Less than a month ago, Surratt was in the middle of his sophomore season at the University of Tennessee and living in his dorm room. This week, he officially turned pro and is now teammates with two Ryder Cup stars.

“You go from moving out of your dorm room to competing with the best players in the world,” Surratt said, “and having two of them truly being your daily mentors on the golf course, it seemed like a big opportunity for me and my golf game.”

His teammates hope he's a baby-faced assassin – especially since they wear beards. Surratt was asked if he was going to embrace that look. Rahm looked at the teenager and joked, "Can you grow a beard?"

Kieran Vincent, meanwhile, is a few years older (26) and has had a taste of LIV Golf as a reserve player last year. Plus, his older brother Scott is going into his third season a full-time LIV golfer.

Yet much like Surratt, Vincent admits the ride has been pretty amazing. “A year and a half ago, I was playing on PGA Tour Canada,” he said. “Now I’m teammates with Jon Rahm.”

Life goes pretty fast on LIV Golf. So do the three-round, 54-hole tournaments. Gotta come out of the gate quick, or you’ll get left behind. The 2024 green light begins flashing Friday afternoon in Mayakoba.