Jay Monahan, PGA Tour commissioner, has announced that golfers taking part in the breakaway series have been notified that their participation has been suspended or otherwise disqualified from PGA Tour tournaments.
The PGA Tour announced on Wednesday that golfers who have resigned their memberships will be removed from the FedEx Cup points list when the RBC Canadian Open scores are posted on Sunday. The 17 golfers listed, including past major winners Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia, will not be permitted to play in PGA Tour tournaments as a non-member via a sponsor exemption or any other eligibility category, according to a memo sent by Commissioner Jay Monahan.
Michael Mickelson, a previous PGA Tour player, addressed a past refusal to withdraw from the Tour by posting on Twitter last week that he had “earned a lifetime right to be where he currently is, and it’ll stay that way.”
As far as what happens now for the PGA Tour and the organization’s policy, Monahan added in the statement: “You probably have more questions. What’s next? Can these players come back? Can they eventually play PGA Tour Champions? Trust that we’re prepared to deal with those questions, and we’ll approach them in the same way we have this entire process: by being transparent and respecting the PGA Tour regulations that you helped establish.”These players have made their choice for their own financial-based reasons. But they can’t demand the same PGA Tour membership benefits as you. That expectation disrespects you, our fans, and our partners. You have made a different choice, which is to abide by the Tournament Regulations you agreed to when you accomplished the dream of earning a PGA Tour card — a dream that more importantly allows you to compete as part of the preeminent organization in professional golf.”
What is the LIV Golf series?
The LIV Golf series is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) — a sovereign wealth fund chaired by Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and man whom an American intelligence report named as responsible for authorizing the operation that led to the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Salman has denied involvement in Khashoggi’s murder.
Greg Norman, a former world No. 1 golfer, is leading a team-based competition called Millionaire’s First-Class that will run from June to October. The aim is to “holistically improve the health of professional golf on a global scale to help unlock the sport’s untapped potential.” Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has pledged $250 million in total prize money. Each of the first seven events will have a total prize purse of $25 million, with $20 million split between individual players and the remaining $5 million shared between top three teams at the end of each week. Teams for London’s inaugural event were announced on Tuesday; captains selected their teammates in a draft format akin to the NFL and NBA drafts. Unlike typical golfing events, London’s event is over three days not four: beginning with a shotgun start—all at the same time—to be more engaging and action-packed than traditional tournaments.
In a traditional stroke play format, the winner will be the lowest scorer.
What was LIV Golf’s response?
LIV Golf has responded to the PGA Tour’s decision to suspend players on Thursday, saying: “Today’s announcement by the PGA Tour is vindictive and it deepens the divide between the Tour and its members. It’s troubling that the Tour, an organization dedicated to creating opportunities for golfers to play the game, is the entity blocking golfers from playing. “LIV Golf is proud to have a full field of players joining us in London, and beyond.”