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GOLF

The PGA denies golfers the chance to play in the LIV Golf Invitational Series

As players pushed for inclusion in the Saudi-backed tournament, the Tour was clear about its stance on the matter.

Update:
The PGA denies golfers the chance to play in the LIV Golf Invitational Series
LEE SMITHREUTERS

Is there a monopoly in golf? That’s certainly the view of Greg Norman, the CEO of LIV, as his new organisation comes in swinging at the PGA Tour, which on Tuesday rejected requests from star players looking for authorisation to play in the first Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series event in London next month.

What is the LIV Golf Invitational Series and what is the issue?

As you may have expected, money is at the heart of this, with claims by many of the Saudi attempt to ‘sportwash’ golf in the same way that they have been accused of doing in soccer. The new LIV series promises participants huge prize money temptations, and is all set to begin on 9 June this year. The fact that this overlaps with the RBC Canadian Open has PGA Tour officials making their stance clear, as was seen in an email sent to their players.

“As such, Tour members are not authorised to participate in the Saudi Golf League’s London event under our Regulations,” Tyler Dennis, senior VP & chief of operations at the PGA Tour, wrote. ”As a membership organization, we believe this decision is in the best interest of the PGA Tour and its players.” That said, player release for non-PGA Tour events has happened before.

“No tour in this world owns golf... There’s been a monopoly in place for 53 years.”

Greg Norman

Among those global stars asking to join in the financial bonanza from the Saudis were the Phil Mickelson of the United States, Spain’s Sergio Garcia and England’s Lee Westwood. Now that the PGA Tour has made it clear where they stand, the players could be disciplined if they go ahead and play in the rival tournament anyway.

Ahead of the first tournament, Norman confirmed that the event had secured an additional $2 billion in funding, and the former champion was confident that some of the biggest names on the Tour would be there.

“No tour in this world owns golf,” Norman said. “There’s been a monopoly in place for 53 years.”