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Golfers participating in LIV golf tournaments will no longer be eligible to participate in PGA Tour events and the Presidents Cup, commissioner Jay Monahan told members in a memo obtained by Fox News Digital on Thursday.
The note to PGA Tour members was sent as LIV Golf’s first tournament kicked off in London. The Saudi-backed league will feature stars like Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Kevin Na, Lee Westwood and others. Monahan thanked those who signed up for this weekend’s RBC Canadian Open and addressed his letter to “those players who have decided to turn their backs on the PGA TOUR by willfully violating a rule.”
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The memo specifically singled out Johnson, Mickelson, Na, Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Talor Gooch, Branden Grace, Matt Jones, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Andy Ogletree, Louis Oosthuizen, Turk Pettit, Ian Poulter, Charl Schwartzel, Hudson Swafford and Peter Uihlein. Monahan said those players did not receive releases to play in LIV Golf or did not apply for the releases at all.
Players who resigned from their memberships, including Garcia, Grace, Johnson, Kaymer, McDowell, Na, Oosthuizen, Pettit, Schwartzel and Westwood, would be removed from the FedEx Cup points list following the conclusion of the RBC Canadian Open, according to the memo. Players who have resigned will not be permitted to play in PGA Tour tournaments as a non-member through a Sponsor Exemption or any other eligibility category.
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“These players made their choice for their own financial reasons. But they cannot demand the same PGA Tour membership benefits, considerations, opportunities and platform that you do. This expectation disrespects you, our fans and to our partners.You have made a different choice, which is to abide by the tournament rules you agreed to when you achieved the dream of earning a PGA Tour card and – more importantly – competing within the preeminent organization in the world of professional golf,” the memo reads.
“I’m sure our fans and partners – who are surely tired of all this talk of money, money and more money – will continue to be entertained and driven by the world-class competition you showcase each week. where there are real consequences for every shot you take and your rightful place in history every time you reach the elusive winner’s circle.”
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Monahan praised those who stayed with the PGA Tour and said being with the organization is about “elevating” everyone involved.
“I know you’re 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,” Monahan added.
LIV Golf, backed by Saudi Arabia’s financial arm, shook up the golfing world when it began offering PGA Tour members insane sums of money to compete in the rival league.
Some players decided to move to the new league and in turn faced the wrath of the PGA Tour. The discipline will also apply to players who may decide to participate in the PGA Tour in the future.
LIV Golf has responded to the PGA Tour suspension, calling it “vindictive”.
“Today’s announcement by the PGA Tour is vindictive and deepens the rift between the Tour and its members. It is troubling that the Tour, an organization dedicated to creating opportunities for golfers to play the game, be the entity that prevents golfers from playing,” LIV Golf said.
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“It is certainly not the last word on this subject. The era of free agency begins as we are proud to have a full field of games in London and beyond.”