The PGA Tour has refused to release players who have asked to take part in the first event of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series, which is being held at Centurion Club in Hertfordshire from June 9-11.
The PGA Tour issued at statement on Tuesday saying that players who take part in the event and any other of the other seven LIV Golf tournaments scheduled for 2022 would be in violation of their regulations, and liable to disciplinary action, which could include suspension or a revocation of membership.
In reacting to the PGA Tour’s decision to block the release of players, LIV Golf Investments chief executive Greg Norman said the PGA Tour was “anti-golfer, anti-fan and anti-competitive”.
Talking at a media day held at Centurion Club today to promote the tournament, Norman said: “Sadly, the PGA Tour seems intent on denying professional golfers their right to play golf, unless it’s exclusively in a PGA Tour tournament. The Tour is also intent on perpetuating its illegal monopoly of what should be a free and open market. But no matter what obstacles the PGA Tour puts in our way, we will not be stopped. We will continue to give players options that promote the great game of golf globally.”
The PGA Tour’s Canadian Open clashes with the LIV Golf Invitational series opener, while the DP World Tour is staging the Mixed Scandinavian in Sweden.
It is understood that the DP World Tour, formerly known as the European Tour, will follow suit in refusing to release its players, although no official statement has been issued to that effect as yet.
Writing in a memo sent out to all PGA Tour players, PGA Tour Senior Vice President Tyler Dennis, said: “We have notified those who have applied that their request has been declined in accordance with the PGA Tour tournament regulations. As such, tour members are not authorised to participate in the Saudi Golf League’s London event under our regulations. As a membership organisation, we believe this decision is in the best interest of the PGA Tour and its players.”
The LIV Golf events will offer prize money of around $25m (£20m), meaning every leg of its series is more lucrative than the richest event on the PGA Tour.
Although the field has yet to be finalised, it is understood that 37 of the world’s top 150 have asked for leave from their respective tours to take part in the LIV Series, with Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter among the more prominent players who have asked to be released from their tours in order play in this year’s LIV Series.
LIV Golf is to officially unveil some of the marquee names due to appear at Centurion next week, with the full 48-man field being revealed on May 27. Although they will be playing for an individual prize fund of $20, of which $4m is going to the winner, the field will also be divided in to 12 four-man teams, with a team prize fund of a further $5m.
The team selection process, where 12 playing team captains will choose their three players, will take place in London on Tuesday, June 7. A Pro-am is being held on June 8, while the tournament itself will be played over 54 holes at Centurion Club from June 9-11. There is no cut for the tournament and there will be a shotgun start for all three days, so that each day’s golfing action can all be watched in under 41/2 hours. The lowest scoring players will be placed in groups so that they finish on the 18th hole.
For tickets, which start from £68.90 for a day pass, visit tickets.livgolf.com/2022-london
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