LIV Tour will return to Chicago after all — but at a new site

Colorful banners are a big part of the atmosphere at LIV Golf events. (Joy Sarver Photo)

MIAMI, Florida – The Chicago area will have a major professional golf tournament this year after all.  The LIV Golf League is returning, but not at Rich Harvest.

Jerry Rich, owner of the Sugar Grove private club that hosted LIV events in 2022 and 2023, invited the fledgling Saudi-based circuit to return this year but has since decided it’d be best to give his club members a year’s break from the distraction that hosting a pro tournament usually requires from a host club.

Rich deemed the two LIV tournaments conducted at Rich Harvest successful, and they had high profile champions.  Australian Cameron Smith won the first event and Bryson DeChambeau was the champion last year. That added to DeChambeau’s Illinois success story that is starting to rival that of Hale Irwin.

Irwin, basically retired from professional golf now, won the 1990 U.S. Open at Medinah, the 1975 Western Open at Butler National and three Champions Tour events at Kemper Lakes.

DeChambeau won 2015 U.S. Amateur at Olympia Fields, the 2017 John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in downstate Silvis and last year’s LIV event at Rich Harvest. DeChambeau can’t defend there.

Three LIV staffers at the circuit’s stop at Trump Doral privately confirmed that the circuit is returning to Chicago this year for one of the two season-ending tournaments on the circuit’s 14-event season.

“An announcement will be coming soon,’’ said one.

Both tournaments are considered majors for LIV players and will be played in September. Last event with a site on the 2024 schedule is at West Virginia’s Greenbrier Aug. 16-18.

Dates and sites for the final two events haven’ t been announced. One is the individual championship, the other the team climax to the campaign. One source at Trump Doral said the individual final would be in the Chicago area.

Both the PGA and LIV tours had Chicago tournaments in 2023.  The PGA isn’t scheduled to return until the President’s Cup is held at Medinah in 2026.

Meanwhile, both the PGA Tour and LIV conclude their competitive tuneups for next week’s Masters on Sunday. Leader of the LIV event after Saturday’s 36-hole stop  at Doral is Spain’s Sergio Garcia, a former Masters winner who has yet to win on the LIV circuit. He’s at 9-under-par 135.  Tied for second, two strokes back, are Talor Gooch, Tyrrell Hatton, Dean Burmeister and Matthew Wolff.

“This course (Doral’s Blue Monster) and Valderrama (in Spain) are the toughest courses we’ll play this year,’’ said Garcia.  “I’m happy to be out there and try to win tomorrow.’’