The PGA Tour has decided to take very swift action to the 17 golfers who have decided to compete and play in the upcoming and inaugural LIV Golf Tournament.
The punishment follows weeks and weeks of golfers the likes of Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson deciding to play in the controversial event or not.
PGA Tour Makes Statement That Suspends 17 Golfers
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan wrote in a memo to players on June 9th 2022, that was obtained by ESPN, that players who joined or may decide to join in the future any LIV Golf events, that they would be indefinitely suspended saying, “These players have made their choice for their own financial-based reasons. But they can’t demand the same PGA TOUR membership benefits, considerations, opportunities and platform as you. That expectation disrespects you, our fans and our partners. You have made a different choice, which is to abide by the Tournament Regulations you agreed to when you accomplished the dream of earning a PGA TOUR card and — more importantly — to compete as part of the preeminent organization in the world of professional golf.”
The LIV Golf event started on June 9th in London. But those players competing whether they resigned their PGA membership or not are no longer eligible to compete in PGA tour events or the Presidents Cup. The suspensions were announced shortly after the LIV Golf event started on Thursday.
Monahan continued, “I am certain our fans and partners — who are surely tired of all this talk of money, money and more money — will continue to be entertained and compelled by the world-class competition you display each and every week, where there are true consequences for every shot you take and your rightful place in history whenever you reach that elusive winner’s circle. You are the PGA TOUR, and this moment is about what we stand for: the PGA TOUR membership as a whole. It’s about lifting up those who choose to not only benefit from the TOUR, but who also play an integral role in building it. I know you are with us, and vice versa. Our partners are with us, too. The fact that your former TOUR colleagues can’t say the same should be telling.”
The PGA Tour has taken this action against 17 golfers so far, but who are they and why such a controversy in the first place?
Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia Among Many Suspended
Many legends including six-time major champion Phil Mickelson, two-time major champion Dustin Johnson and other successful golfers like Sergio Garcia have joined Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Rickie Fowler, Jason Kokrak, Bryson DeChambeau, Kevin Na, Patrick Reed, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen are a plethora of players that now will no longer be able to play in the PGA.
Now there looks like a big legal battle is next up after this announcement as LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman and former PGA legend in his own right mentioned that the players are ready to fight telling ESPN, “I can only speak on information given to me by our legal team, and I have an extremely talented legal team in antitrust and anticompetitive laws, and we believe we’re in the right position,” Norman said. “We believe the players are independent contractors and have a right to go play wherever they want to go play.”
The fight both legally and in the court of public opinion will very likely have the golf world in a tizzy for a long time because the controversy stems from what many think is golfers chasing Saudi Arabian blood money.
Controversy Filled LIV Golf Events Supported By Blood Money?
LIV Golf first became controversial as it is supported by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, which is controlled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Salman has been in the news as a person who has been accused of the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 among a various amount of other human rights violations.
That instantly got the LIV Golf Events in the eye of controversy and anyone that has since joined the event or will have been thrust into the controversy themselves almost immediately.
Many golfers are on different pages on how to handle it all. One who is against it, Rory McIlroy, spoke at a news conference at the RBC Canadian Open in Toronto on Wednesday offering his thoughts on the future of golf saying, “I think it’s a shame that it’s going to fracture the game. I think if anything, the professional game is the window shop into golf. If the general public are confused about who is playing where and what tournament’s on this week and, OK, he doesn’t get into these events, it just becomes so confusing. I think everything needs to try to become more cohesive, and I think it was on a pretty good trajectory until this happened.”
One thing is for sure, no matter what side you take, lots of the record books will forever be altered now that some of the best players in the world are no longer able to play in the PGA. Hopefully something can be figured out, but we may be seeing some major changes in the world of golf moving forward. Will money corrupt the sport or will everyone adapt and work together? Lots of unanswered questions still need to be answered.