A Suspension Is Issued To All Players Taking Part In the First LIV Golf Tournament

Thursday, the PGA Tour announced it had suspended 17 members competing in its inaugural LIV Golf International Series event.

Those who resigned their membership before the LIV Golf event that began Thursday outside of London are also no longer eligible to compete in tour events or the Presidents Cup. 

Phil Mickelson, a six-time major champion, Dustin Johnson, a two-time major champion, and longtime Ryder Cup competitors Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, and Sergio Garcia are among those now forbidden from playing in tour events.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan stated in a memo to the tour’s membership that these players have made their decision for financial reasons. 

In addition, they cannot expect the same PGA TOUR membership benefits, considerations, opportunities, and platform as you. 

It’s disrespectful to you, our fans, and our partners. 

By earning your PGA TOUR card, you agreed to adhere to the Tournament Regulations.

But most importantly, you have chosen to represent the world’s leading professional golf association.

Players who participate in future LIV Golf events will receive the same punishment, according to Monahan.

“I am certain our partners and fans – who are long over all this talk about money, money, and more money – will keep being entertained and compelled by the world-class competition you display each week, where each shot you take has real consequences and when you win, you will be inducted into history,” Monahan wrote.

“Today’s moment is about what we stand for: the PGA TOUR membership as a whole. It’s about recognizing those who not only benefit from the TOUR but are also integral to its success. I know you are with us, and vice versa. Our partners are with us, too. The fact that your former colleagues at the TOUR can’t say the same should be telling.”

Name of the Players Suspended From PGA Tour

There have been 17 members suspended from the PGA Tour who is participating in the inaugural LIV Golf event.

  1. Sergio Garcia.
  2. Branden Grace.
  3. Matt Jones.
  4. Graeme McDowell.
  5. Kevin Na.
  6. Louis Oosthuizen.
  7. Ian Poulter.
  8. Hudson Swafford.
  9. Talor Gooch.
  10. Dustin Johnson.
  11. Martin Kaymer.
  12. Phil Mickelson.
  13. Andy Ogletree.
  14. Turk Pettit.
  15. Charl Schwartzel.
  16. Peter Uihlein.
  17. Lee Westwood.

Suspended Player’s Reactions

“Any PGA Tour matters, I’m not willing to discuss publicly at this time,” Mickelson responded when asked how he felt about Monahan’s memo.

While Poulter said he would fight the suspension, he expressed frustration with the PGA Tour’s decision.

“I’m preparing to appeal, of course,” Poulter replied. 

“I’ve always been able to play golf all over the world. 

Is there anything wrong with that? 

I’ve done nothing wrong. 

How many ways would you like to cut that? 

Throughout the years, I have participated in many different events around the world.

I have toured Asia, Japan, China, and South Africa. 

There are people trying to prevent me from playing the game that I love? Golf has taken me everywhere. They’re trying to prevent me from playing it? 

I find that disappointing.”

Ineligible Players Are Excluded From Certain Tours

According to the memo, players competing in LIV events are ineligible to compete:

  • PGA Tour or any other tour it sanctions.
  • Including the Korn Ferry Tour. 
  • PGA Tour Champions.
  • PGA Tour Canada.
  • PGA Tour Latinoamerica.

LIV Golf Take on Suspension

The PGA Tour has punished LIV Golf for taking part in its competition. LIV Golf has called the punishment vindictive and said it has deepened the divide between the Tour and its members.

LIV Golf said it is troubling that the Tour, an organization that promotes golf, is blocking golfers from playing the game. 

It is important to note that this isn’t the last word on this topic. The era of free agency is here, and we are proud of the full roster of players joining us in London, and beyond.”

In less than 30 minutes after 17 of the PGA Tour’s members or former members who stepped down from the tour in the past week struck their opening tee shots at the LIV Golf event at Centurion Club outside London, the PGA Tour announced the discipline.

Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed, both past major winners, have also agreed with LIV Golf to participate in future events, sources told ESPN on Wednesday. LIV Golf officials have also held discussions with Rickie Fowler and Jason Kokrak.

Players including Johnson, Garcia, Oosthuizen, Schwartzel, and Kevin Na resigned from the tour, hoping to avoid punishment from the PGA Tour.

McDowell resigned as a member of the PGA Tour about 30 minutes before teeing off Thursday. He didn’t think resigning was appropriate, but he also expected punishment.

PGA Tour officials have to decide what they feel is necessary. “I don’t believe it’s healthy for the sport,” McDowell said. 

“Since we’re independent contractors, we have the right to compete and play wherever we want. … We have a compelling option, which is not to the liking of most tours. It’s disappointing, but we can’t do much about it.”

Monahan said this week’s RBC Canadian Open will remove the ten players from the FedEx Cup points standings. 

He wrote that these players will not be able to participate in PGA Tour events as non-members under a sponsorship exemption or any other category.

Monahan wrote that the RBC Canadian Open is a shining example of what you’ve created with the PGA Tour: A stellar field, a dedicated sponsor, sold-out hospitality, record crowds, and global distribution. 

This collective legacy can’t be bought or sold. It was created by Jack and Arnie, built by Tiger and countless others whose legacies are inextricably linked to each other and to the PGA Tour.”

A former world No. 1 and two-time Open winner, LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman has told ESPN in the past that LIV Golf would fight the PGA Tour’s position in court. 

It appears that Norman has players who are willing to participate in the legal battle.

According to Norman, “I can only speak to information my legal team has provided to me, and I have an extremely talented legal team with extensive experience in antitrust and anti-competitive laws,” he said. 

It is our belief that players are independent contractors and have the right to play wherever they want.

According to the PGA Tour, players who requested conflicting-event releases were denied on May 10.

Players have been warned several times by Monahan that they will be punished if they compete in LIV events without being released.

A LIV Golf tournament will be played at Pumpkin Ridge in Portland, Oregon, from June 30-July 2.

LIV Golf consists of 54-hole tournaments, shotgun starts, no cuts, and a team format.

There are seven major events in the regular season, including stops in Boston, Chicago, and Bedminster, New Jersey — offering a total purse of $25 million, the richest in golf history. 

Winners receive $4 million, while losers receive $120,000. 

There is a $50 million purse for the season-ending team championship, Oct. 27-30 at Trump National Doral in Miami.

In addition, LIV Golf also paid out bonuses worth more than $100 million to top players.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman controls the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, which supports LIV Golf. 

In 2018, Salman was accused of a number of human rights violations, including the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

At a news conference at the RBC Canadian Open on Wednesday, Rory McIlroy expressed concern about golf’s future.

McIlroy commented, “It’s really a shame that it’s so likely to fracture the game.”

There is a misconception in golf that the pro game is the “window shop” for the sport.

When the general public is confused about who is playing where and when tournaments are happening, and he doesn’t get in, it’s so confusing. 

I think everything needs to come together, and I think it was on a good path until this happened.”

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AUTHOR
Karan Mallya

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