Mickelson, Dustin Johnson among 17 suspended by PGA over participation in Saudi-funded golf league

by WorldTribune Staff / 247 Real News June 10, 2022

The PGA on Thursday lowered the boom on 17 golfers who are participating in an upstart golf league funded by Saudi Arabia and fronted by Greg Norman.

Major champions Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson were among those suspended by the PGA for competing in the LIV Golf Series.

Phil Mickelson’s opening tee shot in the new LIV Golf league. / Video Image

Players have reportedly been offered huge sums to join LIV Golf, where each event offers $25 million in prize money.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a memo that the players involved in the LIV tournaments would be banned from all PGA Tour-sanctioned tournaments.

Along with Mickelson and Johnson, the suspended players are: Sergio Garcia, Talor Gooch, Branden Grace, Matt Jones, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Kevin Na, Andy Ogletree, Louis Oosthuizen, Turk Pettit, Ian Poulter, Charl Schwartzel, Hudson Swafford, Peter Uihlein, and Lee Westwood.

The names of two players conspicuous by their absence from the letter were Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed, both of whom have reportedly signed contracts with LIV. But neither is playing in this week’s LIV event and thus have not yet technically violated the PGA Tour’s regulations. Both are expected to play in the second LIV event, later this month in Oregon.

There were no statements backing Monahan’s decision from the governing bodies of the major championships, Augusta National (Masters), the R&A (British Open), and PGA of America (PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup). The USGA earlier this week said it was not going to prevent the players involved with LIV Golf from playing in next week’s U.S. Open if they had already qualified.

Monahan said the PGA players were “willfully violating” tour regulations, adding they had turned “their backs on the PGA Tour.”

“Simultaneous to you receiving this memo, the players [listed below] are being notified that they are suspended or otherwise no longer eligible to participate in PGA Tour tournament play, including the Presidents Cup,” Monahan wrote. “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. The same fate holds true for any other players who participate in future Saudi Golf League events in violation of our Regulations.”

In the memo, Monahan stated that players who had resigned their membership would be removed from the FedEx Cup Points List beginning next week. Those players also will not be permitted to play in PGA Tour tournaments as a non-member via a sponsor exemption or any other eligibility category.

In a statement, LIV Golf called the decision vindictive and touted the beginning of an “era of free agency” for professional golfers.

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