Seventeen PGA Tour golfers opted to participate in the inaugural LIV* Invitational. Less than an hour after that event began, the PGA Tour announced all 17 golfers were suspended from the Tour.
PGA commissioner Jay Monahan made the official announcement in a statement released by the PGA Tour which stated:
“We have followed the tournament regulations from start to finish in responding to those players who have decided to turn their backs on the PGA Tour by willfully violating a regulation. Simultaneous to you receiving this memo, the players are being notified that they are suspended or otherwise no longer eligible to participate in PGA Tour tournament play, including the Presidents Cup.”
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Monahan’s memo went on to say that the suspended golfers violated their agreements and did not receive releases to participate in conflicting events/media events. He also emphasized that this suspension would apply to any golfers who choose to participate in Saudi Golf League events in the future.
The memo failed to specify the length of time for the suspensions, though many feel that is intentional in order to leave the PGA as much flexibility as possible going forward.
Of the 17 suspended golfers, 10 of them had previously resigned their memberships with the final seven golfers following suit on Thursday morning. In response, the PGA Tour clarified that players choosing to participate in LIV events will be treated the same, regardless of membership status. “Players who resigned will be removed from the FedEx Cup points list and are not permitted to play in PGA Tour events as non-members or via sponsor exemptions,” according to the memo.
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Players suspended by the PGA Tour include:
- Sergio Garcia
- Talor Gooch
- Branden Grace
- Dustin Johnson
- Matt Jones
- Martin Kaymer
- Graeme McDowell
- Phil Mickelson
- Kevin Na
- Andy Ogletree
- Louis Oosthuizen
- Turk Pettit
- Charl Schwartzel
- Hudson Swafford
- Peter Uihlein
- Lee Westwood
In the most emphatic portion of the memo, Monahan wrote, “You are the PGA TOUR, and this moment is about what we stand for: the PGA TOUR membership as a whole. It’s about lifting up those who choose to not only benefit from the TOUR, but who also play an integral role in building it. I know you are with us, and vice versa. Our partners are with us, too. The fact that your former TOUR colleagues can’t say the same should be telling.”
In a statement of response, LIV Golf called the punishment “vindictive” and said it “deepens the divide between the Tour and its members.” LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman has previously stated that the organization is prepared to fight the PGA Tour in court on antitrust and anti-competitive laws. He told ESPN that the circuit’s position is that “the players are independent contractors and have a right to go play wherever they want to go play.”
The next PGA Tour major is the U.S. Open which begins next week on June 16 to June 19. With 17 golfers off the card, bettors may see atypical odds applied because of the lessened competitive balance. Currently, the U.S. Open Winner odds at DraftKings Sportsbook are:
- Scottie Scheffler (+1100)
- Jon Rahm (+1200)
- Justin Thomas (+1200)
- Rory McIlroy (+1400)
- Collin Morikawa (+1400)
The first LIV tournament in the U.S. is at Pumpkin Ridge in Portland, Oregon, from June 30 to July 2.
*LIV is not an acronym; instead, it is the Roman Numeral representation of “54” which represents the number of holes played in their tournament and the score a golfer would have if they birdied every hole on a par-72 course.
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Kelly Kirby is an editor and featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Kelly, check out her archive and follow her @thewonkypenguin.