In a surprise decision by the PGA Tour this week, waiver requests from golfers who sought permission to play on their first LIV Golf Invitational Series were denied. It is unknown at this time if any of the PGA Tour players will risk punishment by going ahead with participating in the event at the Centurion Club in London from June 9-11.
PGA Tour Senior Vice President said: “We have informed those who have applied that their application has been denied in accordance with the PGA TOUR Championship regulations. As such, TOUR members are not authorized to participate in the London Saudi Golf League event in London under our regulations.” President Tyler Dennis in a note to players. “As a membership organization, we believe this decision is in the best interests of the PGA TOUR and the players.”
The common belief was that the PGA Tour, which must give its members permission to play in events outside of the PGA Tour itself, would agree to waivers for the first of the eight LIV Golf events this year before rejecting them at a later date when the league moved to the North American prairie. Instead, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan set the law in place early on, depriving his membership of the ability to participate in big-money events from the jump.
“Unfortunately, the PGA Tour appears intent on denying professional golfers the right to play golf, unless it is exclusively on the PGA Tour,” LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman said in a statement. This is particularly disappointing in light of the tour’s non-profit status, as its mission is to “promote the common interests of professional golfers in the tournament.” Instead, the tour aims to perpetuate its illegal monopoly on what should be a free and open market. The Tour is anti-golf, anti-fan, anti-competitive. But no matter what obstacles the PGA Tour puts in our path, we will not be stopped. We will continue to give players options that promote the great game of golf globally.”
This decision by the PGA Tour is somewhat unusual. Many golfers – including Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Bryson DeChambeau, and Dustin Johnson –To play in the Saudi International, he happened on the Asian tour. However, the PGA Tour sees LIV Golf differently, ostensibly because it is not a one-time event but the start of a competitive league. The PGA Tour allows players only three assignments per year.
Looks like the DP World Tour agrees because they followed the lead on the PGA Tour and took the same stance Depriving players of their waiver requests For the first LIV golf event. It was originally thought that the DP World Tour would grant these requests given financial conditions They differ greatly from those on the PGA Tour, but they made their decision known shortly after the PGA Tour was announced to the public.
If players choose to challenge the denied concessions and play the event anyway, Monahan has maintained down In secret, players can be suspended and permanently banned from the PGA Tour.
“Players wrote our PGA Tour rules and regulations for the sake of the players,” Monahan said at the Players Championship earlier this year, noting that suspensions and bans would remain in court. “It’s been around for over 50 years. I’m confident in our rules and regulations, in my ability to manage them, and that’s my position on this matter. … We’re confident in our standing, and we’ll continue to move forward as a PGA Tour and focus on the things we control.”
Among the PGA Tour players who have requested a waiver or are linked to the league are Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Jason Kokrac, Kevin Na and Robert Garrigues. Then there’s Mickelson, of course, who is by far the biggest name involved, seemingly the centerpiece of it all, and will undoubtedly end up being the poster boy in a court of law for how all this happened.
LIV Golf is a Saudi Arabia-funded association working to create an alternative golf tour while attracting some of the world’s best players to its events. It was reported that Phil Mickelson helped write the operating agreement for the league before disappearing from public view after some controversial comments about people running the league he allegedly helped start. LIV Golf’s 48-player, 12-team events – five of which will take place in the US later this year – will fetch $20 million, including a $5 million payout to the top team in each event.
Norman was adamant that law speaking golfers, who are considered independent contractors, could not be barred from the PGA Tour. Obviously, the tour sees it differently. While this waiver refusal is certainly surprising for the first event – the PGA Tour grants concessions all the time to events not held on North American soil – this was always going to climax sometime later when tournaments battled with opposing same dates in the US.
This whole story has been one that’s likely been going to court since the day it started. Now, it appears likely that it will happen sooner than originally thought.
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