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PGA Tour rejects golfers’ waiver requests to play Saudi-backed LIV Golf league event in London

In a surprise decision from the PGA Tour this week, golfers seeking permission to play in the first LIV Golf Invitational Series tournament have had their waiver requests denied. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. June.

“We have notified those who have applied that their request has been denied in accordance with the PGA TOUR Tournament Rules. As such, TOUR members are not authorized to participate in the Saudi Golf League’s London event under our rules,” said PGA Tour senior vice president. President Tyler Dennis in a note to the players. “As a member organization, we believe this decision is in the interest of the PGA TOUR and its players.”

The belief was that the PGA Tour, which is to give its members permission to play in events outside the PGA Tour itself, would approve the exemptions for the first of eight LIV Golf events this year before denying them at a later date when the league moved to North American turf. Instead, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan enacted the law early and denied his membership the opportunity to participate in the big money events from the leap.

“Unfortunately, the PGA Tour appears to intend to deny professional golfers their right to play golf unless it is exclusively in a PGA Tour tournament,” said Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf, in a statement. “This is particularly disappointing in light of the Tour’s non-profit status, where its mission is allegedly to ‘promote the common interests of professional tournament golfers.’ “The action of the Tour 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 provide players with opportunities that promote the great game of golf globally.”

This decision from the PGA Tour is a bit unusual. Many golfers – including Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson – received a dispensation earlier this year to play in Saudi International, an event on the Asian Tour. However, the PGA Tour looks at LIV Golf differently, apparently because it is not a stand-alone event, but the beginning of a rival league. The PGA Tour only allows players three waiver requests a year.

If players choose to defy the denied waivers and still play the event, Monahan has consistently maintained privately that players can be suspended and permanently excluded from the PGA Tour.

“Our PGA Tour rules and regulations were written by the players, to the players,” Monahan said at the Players Championship earlier this year, suggesting that suspensions and exclusions would hold in a court of law. “They have been around for over 50 years. I am confident in our rules and regulations, my ability to administer them, and that is my position on the matter … We are confident in our position and we” we will continue to move forward like a PGA Tour and focus on the things we control. “

PGA Tour players who either applied for release or were affiliated with the league include Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Jason Kokrak, Kevin Na and Robert Garrigus. Then there is of course Mickelson, who is by far the biggest name involved, apparently the key to it all, and who will undoubtedly end up being the poster boy in a court of law for how it all shakes out.

LIV Golf is a Saudi Arabia-funded league working to create an alternative golf trip while luring some of the best players in the world to its events. It was reported that Phil Mickelson helped sign the league deal before disappearing from the public eye after some controversial comments about the people running the league that he allegedly helped start. The 48 golfers, 12-team LIV Golf events – five of which are scheduled to be played in the United States later this year – will have wallets of $ 20 million, including a $ 5 million payout to the top team at each event.

Norman has insisted that legally speaking golfers, who are considered independent contractors, could not be excluded from the PGA Tour. The Tour obviously looks at it differently. While this refusal to waive is certainly surprising for the first event – the PGA Tour constantly grants exemptions for events not held on North American soil – this would always come to a head later when the leagues clashed with conflicting events on the same dates in the United States.

This whole saga has been one that would probably come to court since the day it began. Now it looks like it’s likely to happen faster than originally thought.

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