LIV Golf players react to PGA Tour suspensions

Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson threw tee shots in the Saudi-funded golf league on Thursday, and it wasn’t long before the PGA Tour declared its players who participated were no longer welcome , even though they had already resigned.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has held a tough line on his promise that players can choose one tour or the other, but not both.

Those who had resigned from the PGA Tour – Graeme McDowell said he had done so 30 minutes before his departure – were no longer eligible on any PGA Tour circuit. Those who remained members, like Mickelson, were suspended.

“These players made their choice or their own financial reasons,” Monahan said in a note to his members. “But they can’t demand the same PGA Tour membership benefits, considerations, opportunities and platform that you do.”

Ian Poulter has said he will appeal the decision. McDowell said he wanted to “keep the moral high” by stepping down to try to keep litigation to a minimum. He thinks suspensions are a healthy way to do business.

Mickelson had nothing to say except that he wouldn’t talk about the PGA Tour in his first tournament in four months, only to confirm he’ll be playing all eight LIV events, five of which will be in the United States. United.

When told that people were interested in his situation, Mickelson replied, “I’m very flattered that so many people are interested.”

It remains to be determined whether these players will be welcome. For now, Monahan clarified that the suspensions include the Presidents Cup — the international team (countries outside of Europe) is determined by world rankings.

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.

PGA and LIV fight for the soul of our game

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.

PGA champion Justin Thomas and four-time major champion Rory McIlroy welcomed the decision to halt the tour this week at the Canadian Open.

“I think anyone who’s shocked obviously didn’t listen to the message that Jay and everyone else put out,” Thomas said. “They took that risk whether they thought it was a risk or not. I have great confidence and great faith in the PGA Tour and where we’re going and continuing to grow, and these guys don’t are just not going to be part of it.

Ten players have resigned from the PGA Tour, a list that includes Johnson and Sergio Garcia. Mickelson, a lifetime member with 45 PGA Tour titles, is among those who didn’t.

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 receive three such outings per year for overseas tournaments. Monahan declined outings for the LIV Golf Invitational because it is an eight-tournament series that plans to compete directly with the PGA Tour 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.

LIV Golf paid a huge signing fee, with the Daily Telegraph reporting $150m for Johnson and Mickelson refusing to dispute reports he was paid $200m. Both are more than Tiger Woods’ career earnings on the PGA Tour.

Norman said LIV will support the players even if it ends up in court. McDowell said some players have already spoken to attorneys.

“We have not received a discharge. We feel like we should have received press releases. We’ve done that for the past 20 years, operating all over the world,” McDowell said. “Listen, we all know the situation is about something bigger. It’s competition and it’s not liked. They have to play the game the way they feel they have to play it, which is to play hardball.

The DP World Tour did not say whether it would suspend its players. It has a business alliance with the PGA Tour, including the first co-sanctioned events this year on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

The first test for PGA Tour players 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. This circuit never took off.

This one did it, backed by riches like golf has never seen.

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.

Michael C. Ford