The PGA has gone too far on this one and is completely out of line for suspending 17 golfers, including Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, and Sergio Garcia, for participating in the LIV Golf event that begins Thursday near London.
The players were originally warned by the PGA that if they participated in the Saudi Golf League/LIV Golf event that they would be immediately suspended and no longer eligible to participate in PGA tournaments.
The LIV Golf series is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which is a sovereign wealth fund chaired by Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and the man who a US intelligence report named as responsible for approving the operation that led to the 2018 murder of Khashoggi.
Following the start of the inaugural LIV Golf on Thursday, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced that all golfers playing in the breakaway series have been notified that they are suspended and otherwise no longer eligible to participate in PGA Tour tournaments a measure that many are suggesting are going too far.
The PGA claims the suspension has to do with “Media Rights” regardless of the fact that over-the-top punishment appears to be a sentence to the golfers for supporting or participating in a golf tournament funded by Saudis.
“As you know, players listed below did not receive the necessary conflicting event and media rights releases — or did not apply for releases at all — and their participation in the Saudi Golf League/LIV Golf event is in violation of our Tournament Regulations,” Monahan said in a memo.
“The same fate holds true for any other players who participate in future Saudi Golf League events in violation of our Regulations.”
Players who have resigned their memberships will be removed from the FedEx Cup points list when the RBC Canadian Open scores are posted on Sunday.
Phil Mickelson, who previously held lifetime eligibility to the PGA Tour, said on Wednesday he didn’t plan on quitting the Tour as he had earned the right to participate as he has “a lifetime membership which he has earned, and worked hard for.”
As far as what happens now for the PGA Tour, Monahan added in the statement: “You probably have more questions. What’s next? Can these players come back? Can they eventually play PGA TOUR Champions? Trust that we’re prepared to deal with those questions, and we’ll approach them in the same way we have this entire process: by being transparent and respecting the PGA TOUR regulations that you helped establish.
“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.”