Even before it started, the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series reshaped the careers of several high-profile players, costing golfers such as Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson their relationships with the PGA Tour and some of their sponsors.
A reprisal had been expected from the PGA Tour — and immediately after the inaugural LIV tournament teed off on Thursday, the PGA issued sanctions against 17 players who defected to the new series.
The players “are suspended or otherwise no longer eligible to participate in PGA TOUR tournament play, including the Presidents Cup,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a letter to tour members.
The PGA Tour says the defectors are motivated by money
By playing in the LIV event, the 17 golfers “decided to turn their backs on the PGA TOUR by willfully violating a regulation,” Monahan wrote in his letter. Any players who follow them to the Saudi-backed tour will meet the “same fate,” he added.
The golfers “made their choice for their own financial-based reasons,” and have officially been notified that they’re now barred from PGA Tour events, Monahan said.
The PGA Tour’s punishments don’t affect golf’s major tournaments, such as next week’s U.S. Open. That’s because the majors are operated by their own governing bodies. This week, the U.S. Golf Association said it won’t bar players from the U.S. Open if they participate in the LIV event.
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