The PGA Tour has denied players permission to play in next month’s first $25 million LIV Golf Invitational Series tournament at the Centurion Club.
The denials were sent to players who had sought permission late Tuesday afternoon, including Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood, who had all previously confirmed they had applied for clearance to play in the Greg Norman backed series.
The letter sent from the Tour to players who applied for releases. pic.twitter.com/ZVYUTDnNdp
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The news came as a surprise for players as it had been expected that the PGA Tour would grant waivers for the event because of a precedent allowing players limited releases for overseas events. (All members are required to seek a conflicting event release to compete in non-Tour events.
However, it is thought the PGA Tour wanted to signal the strength of the “strategic alliance” it signed in 2020 with the DP World Tour and set a precedent of not allowing players to compete in a rival series.
There is no indication of what the punishment would be for anyone who ignores the denial, but PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has previously made it clear in the past that PGA Tour players competing would end their status as Tour members.
LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman was quick to respond to the Tour’s decision not to grant release to its members to play the inaugural LIV Golf event in London.
“Sadly, the PGA Tour seems intent on denying professional golfers their right to play golf, unless it’s exclusively in a PGA Tour tournament. This is particularly disappointing in light of the Tour’s non-profit status, where its mission is purportedly ‘to promote the common interests of professional tournament golfers,’” said LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman via a statement. “Instead, the Tour is intent on perpetuating its illegal monopoly of what should be a free and open market. The Tour’s action is anti-golfer, anti-fan, and anti-competitive. But no matter what obstacles the PGA Tour puts in our way, we will not be stopped. We will continue to give players options that promote the great game of golf globally.”
Norman is due to host a press conference at the Centurion today with the golfing world eagerly awaiting his next move.