LIV Golf: Bubba Watson pays homage to Pensacola upbringing with new team name
Rangegoats replace Niblicks. Ripper is the new Punch.
Other than that and Henrik Stenson joining Ian Poulter as co-captains for Majestics, LIV golf's 12 teams and captains enter Year 2 as they finished the inaugural year.
LIV, the Greg Norman led league which is financed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, will be rebranded as the LIV Golf League this year. It opens its second season Feb. 24 at Myakoba, Mexico. The league will expand to 14 events from eight in 2022.
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Bubba Watson captained Niblicks a year ago despite sitting out the year because of right knee surgery. He renamed his team Rangegoats as a salute to spending so much time on the range while growing up just outside of Pensacola.
“It just goes back to the roots of who I am, where I come from,” Watson said on LIV's website. “You know, I didn’t live a glamorous lifestyle growing up and I’m taking a wild guess that Harold didn’t either. So that’s where the whole process started in my mind.”
Harold Varner III is part of Watson's team.
Watson purchased the Summit range in 2018 and renamed it the Pensacola Golf Center.
“It’s a little hole in the wall range, right next to the airport,” Watson said. “It was going under, kind of going away. So we bought it and took it over and renamed it Pensacola Golf Center because I want my city to be represented.
“It’s for the city. It’s a place to come and hit balls and learn the game of golf. Doesn’t matter what you wear. It’s just about having fun. That’s the kind of roots you think about in Bagdad (Florida, where Watson was born) and a guy named Bubba. We didn’t grow up in the country club lifestyle. The ‘range’ just made sense.”
Cameron Smith's team, Punch last season, is now Ripper, which in Australia is slang for "very good, excellent, fantastic." Smith's team last season consisted of Aussies Marc Leishman, Matt Jones and Wade Ormsby.
Other captains: Dustin Johnson (Aces), Martin Kaymer (Cleeks), Bryson DeChambeau (Crushers), Sergio Garcia (Fireballs), Phil Mickelson (Hy Flyers), Kevin Na (Iron Heads), Stenson and Poulter (Majesticks), Brooks Koepka (Smash), Louis Oosthuizen (Stinger) and Joaquin Niemann (Torque).
LIV's full roster and makeup of the 12 four-man teams has not been released.
The 2023 season will include eight events in the U.S., including two in Florida, March 31-April 2 at Orange County National in Winter Garden March 31 and Oct. 20-22 at Trump National Doral.
Tom D'Angelo is the sports columnist for The Palm Beach Post. He can be reached at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: LIV Golf: Bubba Watson's new team name one of 2 changes for 2023