PGA Tour of Golf suspends participants in Saudi-backed LIV series | Golf News

US PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan suspends 17 players indefinitely as LIV Golf calls the move “vindictive”, saying “the era of free agency is beginning”.

The PGA Tour has suspended players participating in the first Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.

That includes Phil Mickelson, who has six major championships among his 45 PGA Tour victories, former world number one Dustin Johnson and 15 others.

A two-page memo released Thursday by PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said suspended players are no longer eligible to participate in all PGA Tour events, the Presidents Cup and all sanctioned tours. by the PGA Tour – including the Korn Ferry Tour, PGA Tour Championship, PGA Tour Canada and PGA Tour Latinoamerica.

“These players made their choice for their own financial reasons. But they cannot demand the same benefits, considerations, opportunities and platform as PGA Tour members,” Monahan said in the letter to PGA Tour members. “This expectation disrespects you, our fans and our partners.”

LIV Golf, run by retired professional golfer Greg Norman and funded by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, reacted to the tour’s decision by 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. The 48-player LIV Golf event clashes with the PGA Tour’s RBC Canadian Open.

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.

The PGA Tour and DP World Tour both declined requests from members who requested outings to compete this week at the Centurion Club, where $25 million is up for grabs, including $4 million for the winner.

At a press conference to promote the new Saudi-funded tournament, a reporter raised the issue of the oil-rich kingdom’s human rights record.

2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell replied: “If Saudi Arabia wants to use the game of golf as a way for them to get to where they want to be, and they have the resources to accelerate that experience , I think we’re proud to help them on this journey.

Michael C. Ford