US PGA Tour bans LIV Golf rebels from its tournaments

·2-min read

US PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan banished 17 players who have joined the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series on Thursday as the controversial new venture teed off in Britain.

Monahan, in a memo to US PGA Tour players, made it clear that no player would be allowed to compete on the upstart series and the PGA Tour as well in announcing the indefinite suspensions.

"These players have made their choice for their own financial-based reasons," Monahan wrote.

"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."

LIV Golf, with the largest purse in golf history at $25 million for this week's three-day event, responded by saying the PGA's action deepen the fracture in global golf.

"Today's announcement by the PGA Tour is vindictive and it deepens the divide between the tour and its members," LIV Golf said in a statement.

"It's troubling that the tour, an organization dedicated to creating opportunities for golfers to play the game, is the entity blocking golfers from playing.

"This certainly is not the last word on this topic. The era of free agency is beginning as we are proud to have a full field of players joining us in London, and beyond."

The next step in the matter could be into a courtroom if any of the 17 players named by Monahan, nine of whom had resigned their PGA Tour membership, press a legal challenge to the sanctions.

Players asked for releases to compete in the England event and were rejected by the PGA Tour, in part because the event conflicts with this week's US PGA Tour Canadian Open.

Monahan warned that any players who take part in future LIV Golf events will face the same fate. Seven more LIV Golf events are scheduled this year, five of them at US venues.

"Their participation in the Saudi Golf League/LIV Golf event is in violation of our tournament Regulations,” Monahan wrote. "The same fate holds true for any other players who participate in future Saudi Golf League events in violation of our regulations."

Players involved will be stricken from statistics and exemption status so as not to hurt the chances of remaining PGA members from qualifying into fields for tour events.

The LIV Golf rebels will also be banished from the Presidents Cup and the US PGA playoffs in August.

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