The PGA Tour is refusing to release golfers who have been asked to play in the first series of the Saudi-funded tournament next month in England, prompting commissioner Jay Monahan to quash Greg Norman’s latest bid to launch a lucrative rival league. A bold step in trying.
The first LIV Golf Invitational is scheduled for June 9-11 at Centurion Golf Club outside London, with a 48-man field competing for a $20 million purse on 54 holes. The richest prize winner in golf of all time gets $4 million – and last place gets $120,000.
The tour notified players seeking a release on Tuesday afternoon, and then informed all players of the decision in a brief memo, which was obtained by The Associated Press.
“We have informed those who have applied that their request has been denied in accordance with the PGA Tour Tournament Regulations. As such, Tour members are not authorized under our rules to participate in the Saudi Golf League’s London event,” the memo said.
“As a membership organization, we believe this decision is in the best interest of the PGA Tour and its players.”
While the names of the players who signed up have not been officially released, Phil Mickelson said through his agent that he has asked for a conflicting event release for the London event. Lee Westwood confirmed that last week he had asked the PGA Tour and European tour to release.
The Daily Telegraph reported that Sergio Garcia, Martin Kemmer and Ian Poulter were also among those demanding the release.
Norman is the CEO of LIV Golf Investments, which is primarily funded by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. He told Sky Sport on Tuesday that he will have six of the world’s top 50 players and 19 of the top 100 at the London event.
Now that Monahan has staked his position, it’s up to the players whether they still want to go and run the risk of losing their PGA Tour membership.
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