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  1. Golf

Golf: LIV Golf Invitational Portland Preview

The second of the LIV Golf, 48-runner, 54-hole events starts in America on Thursday night, with controversy still raging about its impact on the sport.

LIV Golf London took place earlier this month, with Dustin Johnson headlining a weak field at the Centurion Club, Hertfordshire. Since that tournament, more big names have signed on with LIV, with the PGA Tour reacting by banning the defectors from their circuit.

Joining Johnson for LIV Golf Portland - at the Witch Hollow Course, Pumpkin Ridge, just outside Portland - will be Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Abraham Ancer. Carlos Ortiz and Matthew Wolff were the latest players to sign on this week.

The future of LIV Golf is uncertain and the two main tours - the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour - are doing everything they can to combat its influence. But with nine of the last 22 Majors winners in action in LIV Golf Portland - and four former world number ones in attendance - the fields are certainly becoming stronger.

Johnson is available at 7/1 for victory at LIV Golf Portland. Louis Oosthuizen, who finished eighth in the BMW International Open in Germany last week, is 10/1. Each-way terms of a quarter the odds the first five places are available.

What

LIV Golf Portland

Where

Witch Hollow, Pumpkin Ridge, Oregon

When

Thursday 30th June-Saturday 2nd July

How to watch

YouTube

Odds

Dustin Johnson 7/1, Louis Oosthuizen 10/1, Abraham Ancer 11/1, Brooks Koepka 12/1, Talor Gooch 14/1

LIV Golf Portland course details

Witch Hollow, Pumpkin Ridge, North Plains, Oregon, is a course which has not staged much top-class action.

The only time the track has been in the golfing spotlight is when Tiger Woods won the 1996 US Amateur Championship there in 1996.

Woods obviously received no monetary reward for that success, but 26 years later the LIV Golf hopefuls are teeing up with a $20m pot on the table - $4m of which goes to whoever lifts the trophy at Pumpkin Ridge on Saturday.

The course typically plays as a 7,017-yard, par-72, with five par-fives, but it remains to be seen if the LIV Golf organisers opt to change the normal set-up.

It was embarrassing for the LIV Golf chiefs how badly the players scored in LIV Golf London - most of the field were well over par - so the Pumpkin Ridge greenkeepers may be under orders to allow more birdies this time.

Normally, the course, which runs through a forest, has tight fairways, lots of doglegs and thick rough. It should be sunny and calm all four days, with temperatures peaking at 27C.

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Three to follow

Talor Gooch

Precision golf is typically rewarded at Pumpkin Ridge - straight-hitting from tee to green - and Talor Gooch should be looking forward to the assignment.

The 14/1 about the 30-year-old Oklahoman may prove popular given the generous each-way terms which are available.

With so many poor players in a field of just 48, the likes of Gooch can expect to be serious title contenders throughout. Lots of really young players joined LIV Golf, as well as many struggling veterans, but Gooch is in his prime and should be a threat at Witch Hollow.

Matt Jones

The fact Greg Norman is the LIV Golf CEO probably made the decision of Australian Matt Jones a little easier. Jones had no doubt that switching to LIV Golf was the best move for himself and his family, and the Great White Shark welcomed his compatriot on board.

At 33/1 for LIV Golf Portland, Jones is an interesting runner, given his ability to suddenly produce incredible golf.

Going into the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January, Jones had missed his previous two cuts, and he missed his three after the event. In the no-cut Sentry, though, the relaxed Aussie closed with rounds of 62 and 61 to finish third.

The no-cut element of LIV Golf may get Jones into a similar frame of mind. He was second in the Texas Open in April and is clearly good enough to triumph at Witch Hollow.

James Piot

The 300/1 about James Piot may be worth a second glance given his age and potential. The American youngster won the US Amateur Championship last year.

Piot is yet to make an impact as a professional, but he showed when carding a first-round 69 in the US Open that he is settling down to life in the paid ranks.

That effort came when playing alongside Jon Rahm and Collin Morikawa in a high-pressure three-ball.

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