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PREVIEW: 2022 LIV Golf Series – LIV Golf Bedminster

Damien Kayat previews the 2022 edition of LIV Golf Bedminster taking place at Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey.

Bryson DeChambeau - LIV Golf

Damien Kayat previews the 2022 edition of LIV Golf Bedminster taking place at Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

2022 LIV Golf Invitational Series
LIV Golf Bedminster
Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster, New Jersey
29th-31st July

Trump and LIV Golf combine for maximum controversy 

You couldn’t really write the script any better than this. This week’s LIV Golf event in Bedminster is a melting pot of intrigue that will be fascinating to behold.

How do you make the already controversial LIV Golf series even more divisive? Attach Donald Trump to the project. The former American president- currently embroiled in his own political tumult- is inviting even more criticism with his unvarnished support of this Saudi-backed initiative.

An avid golf fan and long-time friend of Gren Norman, Trump has been actively encouraging PGA Tour professionals to join this breakaway group. He is clearly still a little sore after the PGA decided to relocate this year’s PGA Championship venue from Trump National Golf Club to Southern Hills.

The PGA felt it wasn’t in the best interests of the tour to be associated with Trump in the aftermath of the Capitol riots.

Trump is courting even more controversy this week, with thousands of protesters expected in New Jersey this week. This course is just 50 miles away from New York City.

Many feel that this event- with its ties to the Saudi government- is a blatant insult to the victims of the 9/11 attacks. So, this event is off to a rollicking start without a ball being struck.

Let’s just focus on the golf for a second. Will we finally see an end to the South African dominance of LIV Golf this week? Charl Schwartzel won the inaugural event at the Centurion Club before Branden Grace made it back-to-back SA champs at Pumpkin Ridge.

The entire Trump sideshow makes this arguably the most significant event on this tour to date.

Trump National Golf Club

Trump purchased this property in 2002 and the Tom Fazio-designed Old Course was opened two years later. Trump National Golf Club is a true test.

This monster can measure as long as 7,700 yards off the back tees. No wonder it was considered for this year’s PGA Championship. This course hosted the US Women’s Open in 2017.

Water is in play on nearly half the holes and there’s also a massive semi-island green in play. But the major takeaway this week is length as this looks custom-made for the bombers.

There is some fairly juicy rough out there but I would still heavily favour length over accuracy this week.

The contenders

This course looks like it was co-designed by Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau. I can actually imagine them duking it out on the final day of a US Open at Trump National.

It almost felt like DJ was cut at the Open. He actually flirted with contention, ultimately finishing in a tie for sixth.

Conspiracy theorists out there believe that he may have been shunned by the broadcasters due to his LIV golf association (and I believe there is some truth to that).

Bryson also enjoyed a decent Open and he actually looked like he was enjoying his golf (I guess a 125-million-dollar sign-on bonus will do that).

Henrik Stenson joins the tour this week, forsaking his role as Ryder Cup captain in the process. Forget about all the Trump hoopla and talk of ridiculous bonuses.

Stenson’s decision to abandon the Ryder Cup for Saudi riches is the most disturbing story to come out of the LIV Golf series thus far.

To Win Outright:

Dustin Johnson 11/2 | Bryson DeChambeau 10/1 | Abraham Ancer 11/1 | Louis Oosthuizen 12/1 | Talor Gooch 12/1

Value Bet

Paul Casey- To Win 25/1 | To Place 5/1

I have a certain degree of sympathy for Paul Casey and his commitment to the LIV Tour. He has been a fantastic golfer whose career has been devastated by injury. The 45-year-old has only recently returned from his latest injury. I can fully understand why he would feel the need to take this payoff. Casey- at full tilt- has a tee-to-green game that can rival anyone. It’s the greens that have cost Casey a few Major Championships opportunities. Casey is an elite ball-striker who should thrive in this fairly humdrum field. He finished third at the Players earlier this season and I expect him to be a factor this week.

The Man to Beat- Bryson DeChambeau- To Win 10/1 | To Place 2/1

Do I even need to explain this selection? This course just screams Winged Foot (the site of Bryson’s runaway 2020 US Open win). DeChambeau’s season has been hampered by injury and the entire LIV Golf circus. But I think his performance at St Andrews was a sign of things to come for the mighty American. A final round of 66 secured a T8 finish for ‘The Scientist’. 10/1 looks like a great price for a player with such distinct advantages this week. I much prefer it to the 11/2 offered for DJ.

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