All PGA Tour members participating in the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational have been suspended by the PGA Tour.
Centurion Club in London is hosting the tournament. It has a prize pool of $25m (PS20m).
Phil Mickelson, six-time major winner, is one of the most prominent names to be affected.
LIV Golf immediately responded, calling the PGA Tour “vindictive” as well as saying that this “deepens division between the Tour’s members”.
The statement continued: “It is troubling that the Tour – an organization dedicated to creating opportunities to golfers to play the sport – is the entity blocking golfers playing.”
McIlroy, Thomas are pleased with the ruling
Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Justin Thomas both played at the PGA Tour’s Canadian Open this Week, were happy with the decision.
Thomas, a two-time major winner, stated that “anybody who’s shocked clearly isn’t listening,”
“They took the risk of entering it, regardless of whether it was considered a risk.
“I believe in the PGA Tour, where we are going and growing to, and those guys won’t be a part.
Suspension affects 17 players
Greg Norman, former world number one, is now the chief executive officer of LIV Golf. The company has PS1.6bn in funding from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
Each of the first seven events has a $25m prize pool. The winner will receive $4m and the team element will see the top 3 teams share $5m. The eighth event, a $50m team championship, will be held in October at Trump Doral in Miami.
The PGA Tour refused to grant waivers to its members who wanted to participate in the new series, and threatened to ban any rebellious players.
This decision will affect 17 players, including Mickelson, a lifetime member, and Dustin Johnson, an American who announced Tuesday that he was resigning from the Tour. Mickelson acknowledged that he was given $200m to participate in the series. Johnson, however, is being paid $150m.
Importantly, the PGA Tour has shut down a loophole which would have allowed players who had resigned from tour to participate in events via sponsors exemptions.
Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell, have all resigned, and they will all be affected.
Jay Monahan, PGA Tour commissioner, stated in a statement to all tour members: “According to the PGA Tour’s tournament regulations, players competing this week with no releases are suspended, or otherwise not eligible to participate in PGA Tour Tournament play, including Presidents Cup.
“The same fate applies to any other players who take part in future Saudi Golf League events that are not in compliance with our regulations.”
“These players made their financial decisions for their own financial reasons.
They can’t expect the same PGA Tour benefits, considerations and opportunities as you. This expectation is disrespectful to you, our fans, and our partners.”