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The 4 Aces Won the LIV Team Championship And Somehow Made Dustin Johnson Even Richer

Joe Scarnici/LIV Golf. Getty Images.

LIV Golf's inaugural season came to a close Sunday in Miami, where the Dustin Johnson-captained 4 Aces captured the one-day "finals" to win the team competition and its $16 million grand prize. That means DJ and his teammates—Talor Gooch, Patrick Reed and Pat Perez—will add another $4 million piece to their absurd bottom line for this year. 

Johnson's pockets are particularly flush—DJ won the $18 million grand prize for winning the individual championship, and today's team winnings will bring him over $35 million in on-course earnings since he joined the disruptors in June. Perez, who only received a LIV offer after Johnson pushed for it, will finish the season having made over $8 million despite limited individual success of his own. 

It was a fitting end to the season for the 4 Aces, who won four team consecutive team competitions during the regular season and have been the best team throughout. 

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Sunday's format was refreshingly simple: all four players competed for each team, and all four scores counted. The lowest cumulative four-man score would be crowned the champion. The other eight teams were eliminated over the first two days, which pitted teams in head-to-head competitions with three match play matches (two singles, one alternate shot) determining who would continue on. 

Fittingly, the final day came down to DJ and Cameron Smith, the two finest players on the LIV side of the professional golf schism. Smith, who captains the all-Australian team Punch GC, was seven under par for the day as he stepped to the difficult finisher at Trump Doral. Just after Smith pushed his tee shot into the right rough, his teammate Marc Leishman poured in a birdie putt at the par-5 first hole to bring Punch to a cumulative 6 under, tied with the 4 Aces. 

Johnson split the fairway with his tee ball and played safely onto the right side of the green, only for Reed to provide some breathing room with a closing birdie of his own at the second hole. Smith's third shot at 18 left around eight feet for par, which the reigning Open champion poured in the heart for a remarkable seven-under 65. Johnson's birdie putt was a bit tentative, which forced him to make a downhill three-footer for the team championship. He brushed it in without incident in front of a modest crowd and, as has been the case at every LIV event, the champagne began flowing quickly.

Johnson finished with a two-under 70. Perez and Reed also shot two under, and Talor Gooch carded a 71.

"I get a lot of grief, people saying I never show up, so I did today," Perez said after the round. "So everybody can shut up."

Each member of the runner-up Punch GC will take home $2 million. Smash GC (Brooks Koepka, Jason Kokrak, Peter Uihlein and Chase Koepka) finished third for $1.5 million each, with the fourth-place Stingers (Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Branden Grace and Henni du Plessis) getting $1 million apiece for fourth.

And, thus, an inaugural season unlike any other drew to a close. The LIV of 2023 will not look anything like the LIV of 2022. This year, most teams featured a rotating cast of characters as new players signed on at different times throughout the year. The aim for next year is to have the same 48 players, and same 12 4-man teams, compete in all 14 of events of what LIV is calling its league format. Rumors have been circulating that more big-name players could make the jump this offseason, but those remain rumors at the moment. Expect plenty of speculation, conjecture and downright misinformation to flow over the interwebs in the coming months. You will hear that Player X is going, and then Player X will not go. 

Still, all signs point toward LIV pushing hard for one or two more marquee names, and one thing is for sure: the Saudis will put forth offers that are extremely difficult to refuse.