Golf

First LIV-drafted player bails on league, rejoins DP World Tour

This year give them InsideGOLF
Bernd Wiesberger was selected No. 1 at the first LIV Golf Draft.
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“Let’s start the clock,” went the host. “Graeme McDowell this is your turn to make LIV Golf history as the first captain’s pick…”
It was June 7, 2022 and that host was Shane O’Donoghue, up on stage at the LIV Golf Draft in London. It was McDowell’s turn to make history, sure, but it was Bernd Wiesberger’s moment, as he became the No. 1 overall pick in the first (and only) LIV Golf Draft. Wiesberger trotted up on stage while O’Donoghue said, “Welcome aboard, Bernd. You are the first ever draft pick in LIV Golf history.” 
His response: “Yeah,” shrugging his hands out to the side and exiting stage left. Seventeen months later, that tepid reaction feels rather fitting. Wiesberger has moved on from LIV Golf. 
The DP World Tour announced Thursday that Wiesberger has been reinstated as a member of that tour, after fulfilling the various sanctions waged against him as a result of his previous LIV commitments. He intends to play a full schedule on the DP World Tour in 2024, now becoming the first LIV golfer to have full-time status on the rival tour and pivot his gaze elsewhere once again. He finished the 2023 LIV season at No. 41 in the standings, which made him a free agent. Had any LIV teams expressed interest in signing Wiesberger? It would appear not. Wiesberger is ranked No. 271 in the world by DataGolf.
Back during the tense summer of 2022, Wiesberger had not resigned his DP World Tour membership. Some LIV pros did, others didn’t. It wasn’t clear at the time what the value of it might be if their future was devoted to LIV. But now that value is starting to show itself.
Holding onto that membership but playing in conflicting events, Wiesberger incurred suspensions and fines for each of the 22 events he played. And while he made more than $4 million in his two years at LIV, the fines and suspensions added up. According to various reports, LIV Golf intended to pay fines for its players, which for Wiesberger and his 22 LIV starts would have tallied up to $1.65 million. 
But now? All good. According to the DP World Tour, all is paid up, both on the financial front and the tournament suspensions, and Wiesberger will begin the DP World Tour season in Dubai in January. “I am happy to announce that my focus for next year will be entirely on the DP World Tour,” he said in a statement of his own. 
It is likely that Wiesberger won’t be alone in this department. A number of LIV Golfers were made free agents in October when they didn’t finish in the top 24 in the standings. To this point, LIV is a largely closed shop where, for every player that joins, another must leave, until the league expands. If the DP World Tour becomes a landing spot for them, their status may very well depend on what they did with their membership back in June 2022.

Zak is a writer at GOLF Magazine, currently working on a book about the summer he spent in St. Andrews. You can read about those travels here and catch his latest thoughts on the Drop Zone Podcast:
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