Carlos Ortiz has opted to explore free agency during LIV Golf’s offseason after rejecting a contract extension offer from Fireballs GC.
Ortiz received the offer after finishing 15th in the season-long Individual points standings. Players who finished in the Lock Zone (top 24 in points) and whose contracts were completed were guaranteed extensions from their current teams.
Five players qualified for extensions under those terms, and four re-signed with their clubs – Peter Uihlein (4Aces GC), Anirban Lahiri (Crushers GC), Richard Bland (Cleeks GC) and Scott Vincent (Iron Heads GC).
Ortiz – a member of the Fireballs for the first two LIV Golf seasons – was the only player to decline the offer. That leaves him as a free agent entering the Phase 2 Free Agency period announced Thursday by LIV Golf.
Ortiz, the leading point-getter for the Fireballs in 2023, can now explore opportunities with any team that has an opening and an interest in him. Seven other teams besides the Fireballs currently have at least one open roster spot.
The 32-year-old from Mexico should receive plenty of interest, as he’s been one of the most consistent performers since joining LIV Golf. In 19 career regular-season starts for the Fireballs, he has six top-10 finishes and was part of the four-man playoff earlier this year in Tucson. During the inaugural 2022 LIV Golf Invitational season, Ortiz finished 13th in points with two top-5s and made a clutch birdie putt on his final hole in Portland to seal the Fireballs’ first team podium finish.
Meanwhile, Fireballs captain Sergio Garcia and the team’s front office will seek to fill the vacancy left by Ortiz’s departure.
Five players who finished in the Open Zone are no longer under contract and are officially free agents – Matt Jones, Graeme McDowell, Pat Perez, David Puig and Bernd Wiesberger.