The PGA Tour has suspended all of its members who are playing in this week’s LIV Golf Invitational in England.
The PGA Tour released a statement just 30 minutes after play had begun at Centurion Club in Hertfordshire, where 48 players are competing in the first of eight planned LIV Golf Invitational events for 2022.
In the statement, which was issued to all members of the tour, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said: “In accordance with the PGA Tour’s tournament regulations, the players competing this week without releases are suspended or otherwise no longer eligible to participate in PGA Tour tournament play, including the Presidents Cup.
“The same fate holds true for any other players who participate in future Saudi Golf League events in violation of our regulations. 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.”
The PGA Tour had refused requests for waivers from its members wanting to play in the new series and had threatened to ban those that rebelled.
The statement issued by the PGA Tour gave no indication as to how long the suspensions will be for.
This decision affects 17 players, including lifetime member Phil Mickelson and two-time Major champion Dustin Johnson, who announced on Tuesday that he had resigned from the Tour. Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood, have, like Johnson, already resigned and will all be affected by that ruling.
The PGA Tour has also closed a loophole that would potentially have allowed players who have resigned from the tour to play events via sponsors exemptions. The 17 players will be removed from the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup points list following the end of the Canadian Open on Sunday.
LIV Golf issued an immediate reply calling the PGA Tour ‘vindictive’ and saying that the statement and its contents ‘deepens the divide between the Tour and its members’.
The statement added: “It’s troubling that the PGA Tour, an organisation dedicated to creating opportunities for golfers to play the game, is the entity blocking golfers from playing. This certainly is not the last word on this topic. The era of free agency is beginning as we are proud to have a full field of players joining us in London, and beyond.”
The DP World Tour has so far failed to comment, or to issue any suspensions or fines to members of its tour who are playing at Centurion, leaving them none the wiser as to whether they will be able to return the tour in between competing in the LIV Golf events.