Tony Finau

The hammer comes down: PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan suspends 17 players for competing first LIV Golf event


Steve DiMeglio  |  golfweek.com

In a memo sent to members of the PGA Tour on Thursday, commissioner Jay Monahan was true to his word toward players who opt to play in the LIV Golf Invitational Series.  

You are no longer welcome on the PGA Tour.  

“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,” Monahan wrote in the memo obtained by Golfweek. “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.  

“This also applies to all tours sanctioned by the PGA Tour: the Korn Ferry Tour, PGA Tour Champions, PGA Tour Canada and PGA Tour Latinoamérica.”  

The memo was sent shortly after the first tee shots were hit in London in the first LIV Golf Invitational Series events.  

Among those suspended were Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Matt Jones, St. Simons Island, Ga., resident Hudson Swafford and current RSM champion Talor Gooch, who, under the current situation, will not be allowed to return to the Sea Island Club Nov. 17-20 to defend his first PGA Tour title. 

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Also suspended were players who have resigned their membership, including Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Kevin Na, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel. 

Still to be determined are the fates of Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler, who have said they will be playing LIV events in the future, but did not play this week in London. 

The first of eight events of the LIV Golf Invitational Series this year began Thursday at the Centurion Club outside of London. In addition to staggering signing bonus — Phil Mickelson reportedly received $200 million to sign – LIV Golf presents a team format consisting of 54-hole, no-cut, 48-man fields featuring more than $255 million in prize money.  

The winner this week in London will receive $4 million.  

The league is spearheaded by Greg Norman and backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds.  

“Today’s announcement by the PGA Tour is vindictive and it deepens the divide between the Tour and its members,” LIV Golf said in a statement. “It’s troubling that the Tour, an organization 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.” 

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