PGA Tour suspends 17 players for participating in Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series

Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and other PGA Tour members who played Thursday in the Saudi-funded golf league are no longer eligible for PGA Tour events under penalties Commissioner Jay Monahan shared shortly after the first tee shot.

It remains to be determined whether these players will be welcome.

The ban includes participation in the Presidents Cup, which for the international team is determined by world ranking.

The USGA has already declared that eligible players can still participate in the US Open next week. The PGA Tour does not organize major tournaments.

In a memo sent to tour members, Monahan said that even if players resign from the tour before the first LIV Golf Invitational outside of London, they would not be allowed to participate in PGA Tour events as non-players. member by obtaining a sponsor exemption.

Ten players have resigned from the PGA Tour, a list that includes Johnson and Sergio Garcia. Mickelson, who earned a lifetime membership with his 45 PGA Tour titles, did not.

“These players made their choice for their own financial reasons,” Monahan wrote. “But they can’t demand the same PGA Tour membership benefits, considerations, opportunities and platform that you do. That expectation disrespects you, our fans and our partners.”

LIV Golf, run by Greg Norman and funded by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, reacted to the tour’s decision calling it vindictive and divisive.

“It’s troubling that the Tour, an organization dedicated to creating opportunities for golfers to play the game, is the entity keeping golfers from playing,” LIV Golf said. “It is certainly not the last word on this subject. The era of free agency begins as we are proud to have a full group of players joining us in London and beyond.”

The problem is that players are competing without a conflicting PGA Tour event exit.

Players typically get three such outings per year for overseas tournaments, but Monahan declined outings for the LIV Golf Invitational because it’s an eight-tournament series that has five events in the United States. .

The tour does not allow outings to events in North America.

“We have followed tournament rules from start to finish responding to players who have decided to turn their backs on the PGA Tour by willfully violating a rule,” he wrote.

Monahan said players who have resigned will have their names removed from the PGA Tour standings – FedEx Cup and Presidents Cup – after this week. He said the tour will ensure that those who have not quit will not affect rankings on various tour rosters.

Questions remain, however, such as whether players can return one day.

The first test will be the Travelers Championship in Connecticut, the week after the US Open. Johnson was among those listed on the ground.

The LIV Golf Invitational was broadcast on YouTube and Facebook. Before the first round, Norman said he was thrilled to see a 30-year effort come to fruition.

He tried to start a World Golf Tour in the 1990s for elite players only and had a television contract lined up until the PGA Tour canceled the moment with the support of Arnold Palmer. Norman realized only too late that he didn’t have as much player support as he thought. This circuit never took off.

This one did it, backed by riches like golf has never seen. The Daily Telegraph reported that Johnson was paid $150 million – more than Tiger Woods’ career earnings on the PGA Tour – just for signing up. Mickelson did not deny reports that he got $200 million.

Each tournament offers $25 million in prize money, with $4 million for the individual winner. The richest event on the PGA Tour is the $20 million Players Championship. This week’s Canadian Open, which features five of the top 10 players in the world, has a purse of $8.7 million.

The 17 suspended players are:

Sergio Garcia
Talor Gooch
Branden Grace
Dustin Johnson
matt jones
Martin Kaymer
Graeme McDowell
Phil Michelson
Kevin Na
Andy Ogletree
Louis Oosthuizen
Turkish Small
Ian Poulter
Charles Schwartzel
Hudson Swafford
Peter Uihlein
Lee Westwood

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