Top-tier men’s professional golf has been hard to find in the Chicago area in recent years. That will not be the case this season.
The upstart LIV Golf League finally announced its schedule Tuesday and it includes a return to Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove. That means the top men’s players will visit twice in 2023.
The PGA Tour hasn’t had a tournament in the area since Medinah hosted the BMW Championship in 2019, though the sport’s premier circuit has had the annual John Deere Classic as a fixture in southern Silvis State.
This year, the PGA Tour will return to the Chicago area with the BMW Championship, a FedEx Cup playoff event, scheduled at Olympia Fields. Then that circuit won’t return until 2026, when Medinah hosts the President’s Cup team event.
LIV’s return to Rich Harvest was not a surprise. It hosted one of the controversial Saudi-backed circuit’s most successful events in its inaugural 2022 campaign with Australian Cameron Smith winning the title. LIV held eight tournaments last year and will have 14, spread all over the world, this year.
Tuesday’s announcement was delayed until a television contract was finalized, and that was accomplished when The CW Network agreed to terms last week.
There was also a question about Greg Norman’s status as LIV’s CEO and Commissioner. PGA Tour leadership, notably Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, wanted Norman gone, but his role was expanded after former managing director Majed Al-Sorour was reduced to a member of the board of directors.
The Olympia Fields and Rich Harvest events will be a month apart, setting a great climax to Chicago’s season. The BMW is August 14-20 and the LIV stop in Sugar Grove will have a new date, September 22-24.
Both are well above the four major golf championships, with the British Open being the last to conclude on July 23. The Rich Harvest event will be played against the Sanderson Farms PGA Championship in Mississippi.
An interesting scheduling problem arose with the LIV announcement. LIV has a new event, at the Orange County National in Orlando, Florida, a week before the first Major, the April Masters. There will be LIV players competing in the Masters against PGA Tour stars. Orange County National has been the regular host for Demo Day at the PGA Merchandise Show and was in that position when the show began Tuesday.
LIV once again has three of its events scheduled on fields owned by Donald Trump, but that third, a climax to the 2022 season, has been reduced to a regular event instead of the team championship, which will now be played on November 3. -5 in Saudi Arabia.
Obviously, LIV isn’t going away anytime soon and its court battle with the PGA Tour looks set to become increasingly heated.
The first LIV event of the year will be from February 24 to 26 at the Mayakoba Resort in Mexico. Stars who won the PGA Tour for the big money offered by LIV, notably Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Sergio Garcia, return to the LIV roster and more stars need to be added as the team competition is over. has been expanded for the second season.