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PGA Tour golfers will not get releases to play in Saudi-backed rival league: reports

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The PGA Tour denied releases to golfers wishing to compete in the rival Saudi-backed league, according to several reports.

The tour told players seeking release Tuesday afternoon and notified all players of the decision in a note, the Associated Press reported. The first LIV Golf Invitational is set for 9-11. June at Centurion Golf Club outside London.

“We have notified those who have applied that their request has been denied in accordance with the PGA Tour Tournament Regulations. As such, Tour members are not authorized to attend the Saudi Golf League’s London event under our rules,” sounded the note.

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PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan speaks to the media during a press conference ahead of THE PLAYERS Championship at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 8, 2022 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan speaks to the media during a press conference ahead of THE PLAYERS Championship at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 8, 2022 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
(Cliff Hawkins / Getty Images)

“As a member organization, we believe this decision is in the interest of the PGA Tour and its players.”

Greg Norman is the CEO of LIV Golf Investments, primarily funded by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund. The league’s first tournament will have a 48-man field competing for a $ 20 million purse over 52 holes. The winner will receive $ 4 million and the final place will receive $ 120,000.

Phil Mickelson said through his agent that he was asking for a conflicting event release for the London event. Lee Westwood confirmed last week that he was asking the PGA Tour and the European Tour for a lease. Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer and Ian Poulter were also among those seeking publications, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Five of LIV Golf’s tournaments are scheduled for the United States, a direct challenge for the PGA Tour because its rules do not allow any releases for tournaments held in North America. The first is scheduled for July 1-3 near Portland, Oregon. Others are for the suburbs of Chicago and the suburbs of Boston, as well as courses in New Jersey and Miami owned by former President Trump.

GREG NORMAN DEFENDS HIS SAUDI-BACKET GOLF SERIES: ‘I DO NOT ANSWER TO SAUDI ARABIA’

Sergio Garcia of Spain puts up a putt on the fifth hole during the first round of The Players Championship golf tournament on Thursday, March 11, 2021 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Sergio Garcia of Spain puts up a putt on the fifth hole during the first round of The Players Championship golf tournament on Thursday, March 11, 2021 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
(AP Photo / John Raoux)

PGA Tour guidelines typically allow players to have three releases play in tournaments around the world. About two dozen PGA Tour golfers were allowed to play Saudi International on June 3-6. February, the same week as Pebble Beach. The caveat was that players going to the event should play Pebble Beach as many as twice over the next three years.

Norman defended the Saudi-backed league in an interview with Sky Sports.

“They are not my bosses. We are independent. I do not respond to Saudi Arabia. I do not respond to MBS [Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud]he said. “I respond to my board, and MBS does not agree. Simple as that. So that story is untrue. “

Norman said he understood people’s concerns about the source of the money that funded the trip, given the history of human rights violations in Saudi Arabia. But he claimed that the country was trying to make a “cultural change from within.”

Professional golfer Greg Norman walks through the pit area during the third training session of the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix race at the Miami International Autodrome on Saturday, May 7, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Fla.

Professional golfer Greg Norman walks through the pit area during the third training session of the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix race at the Miami International Autodrome on Saturday, May 7, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Fla.
(AP Photo / Darron Cummings)

“It simply came to our notice then [Jamal] Khashoggi. Be up to it yourself, talk about it, “he said.” But you go back to Saudi Arabia, they are making a cultural change from within to change it. They do not want that stigma sitting over there. “

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“The generation of kids today that I see on the driving range, they don’t want that stigma to go into the next generation and their kids. They want to change that culture, and they change that culture,” he added. “And you know how they do it? Golf.”

Fox News’ David Aaro and Associated Press contributed to this report.

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