The PGA Tour has denied releasing players looking to play in the first event of the Saudi Arabia-funded LIV Golf Invitational Series, according to a memo obtained by ESPN.
The first tournament, scheduled for June 9-11 in London, coincides with the RBC Canadian Open on the PGA Tour that week. As a result, PGA Tour players will have to obtain a Tour pass to compete in the LIV Tournament.
The expectation was that the PGA Tour would give releases to players, similar to those it has offered for other international events, but that won’t be the case, as the Tour notified its players through a memo on Tuesday.
The memo reads: “We have informed those who have applied that their application has been denied in accordance with the PGA Tour regulations. As such, Tour members are not authorized to participate in the London SGA event under our regulations.” “As a membership organization, we believe this decision is in the best interests of the PGA Tour and its players.”
In response, LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman He issued a statement to various media outlets, calling the tour’s decision “anti-golfer, anti-fan, anti-competitive.”
“Unfortunately, the PGA Tour appears intent on denying professional golfers the right to play golf, unless it is exclusively on the PGA Tour,” he said as part of the statement.
“But no matter what obstacles the PGA Tour puts in our path, we will not be stopped. We will continue to give players options that promote the great game of golf globally.”
Norman told ESPN last week that he had registered players who were ready to challenge the PGA Tour center on court.
“I can only speak based on the information our legal team has given me, and I have a very talented legal team on antitrust and anticompetitive laws, and we believe we are in the right place,” Norman said. “We believe the players are independent contractors and have the right to play wherever they want.”
The eight-event LIV series will include four tournaments played in the United States. It will include seven regular season events and the Tag Team Championship Final at Trump Doral in Miami from October 28-30.
The second Saudi event is scheduled to take place July 1-3 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Portland, Oregon. May 17th is the deadline to request a tour release for this event.
It was expected that the releases would be awarded to foreign events, but not to tournaments in the United States
“Portland would probably be an interesting starting point for the release of players and those who want to get involved in play,” Norman said last week. “But no matter what, it will happen. Portland will take place. Same with Trump Bedminster, International, Rich Harvest Farms and Trump Doral. It’s all going to happen.”
Phil Mickelson He is among the players seeking release to play at the London event, his long-time agent, Steve Lowe of Sportfive, said last month. Longtime PGA Tour members Lee Westwood And Sergio Garcia They also confirmed that they had requested the tour’s release.
Norman told ESPN last week that more than 200 players have registered in the first event, including about 15 of the top 100 players in the official golf rankings.
Norman said he tried to work with the PGA Tour, but Monahan wasn’t willing to do so.
“To say on the PGA Tour that we are a renegade league is completely wrong,” Norman said. “We are not on a separate tour, we are an addition to the golf ecosystem. To cast this animosity against me [is wrong]. It goes to other institutions, too. Just because I am very fortunate and fortunate enough to be the CEO of this golf growing opportunity, don’t target me for certain reasons and reasons. This is madness.”
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