“The Tour’s action is anti-golfer”; Greg Norman, CEO and commissioner of LIV Golf, has branded the PGA Tour “anti-competitive” after it rejected player requests to take part in the first Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series event in London next month
Last Updated: 11/05/22 7:58am
Greg Norman has branded the PGA Tour “anti-competitive” after it did not approve the participation of players in the first Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series event in London next month.
The PGA Tour on Tuesday rejected requests from players for authorization to play the first Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series event, explaining that the decision is in the “best interests of the Tour and the players”.
The new series, which offers the promise of super-sized prize money, is set to begin June 9 and would conflict with the RBC Canadian Open.
Norman, CEO and commissioner of LIV Golf, has branded the move as “anti-golf”, after he had announced on Tuesday the event had secured an additional $2 billion in funding ahead of its first tournament and added that several top players had said they would play without a release.
“Sadly, the PGA Tour seems intent on denying professional golfers their right to play golf, unless it’s exclusively in a PGA Tour tournament,” said Norman.
“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.’
“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.”
The PGA Tour has denied the conflicting event releases for those members who sought to play in the opening event of the LIV Golf Invitational series, with Tour members being informed of the decision via a memo from Tyler Dennis, executive vice president and chief of operations of the PGA Tour.
“We have notified those who have applied that their request has been declined in accordance with the PGA Tour Tournament Regulations,” the memo said.
“As such, Tour members are not authorized to participate in the Saudi Golf League’s London event under our Regulations.
“As a membership organization, we believe this decision is in the best interest of the Tour and its players.”
Rory McIlroy will be at the Canadian Open to defend his 2019 victory, with Scottie Scheffler, the world No 1 and FedExCup leader, committing to play in Canada, as well.
Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood were among the players who had requested a release before the PGA Tour moved to stop its top talent from participating in the rival league.
If the players choose to play in it anyway, they could face disciplinary action from the PGA Tour.
Six-time major champion Mickelson announced in February he was taking time away from golf after a firestorm erupted over comments he made about the Saudi Arabian government, which funded the new golf league.
Mickelson later apologised to LIV for his “reckless” remarks, which were critical of the Saudi government’s human rights record, saying that in LIV he saw the opportunity to “reshape how the PGA Tour operates.”
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