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

In a surprising decision by the PGA Tour this week, golfers who sought permission to play in the first LIV Golf Invitational Series tournament have been denied their waiver requests. It is unknown at this time whether any PGA Tour players will risk punishment by going ahead with participation in the event at the Centurion Club in London from June 9-11.

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

The belief was that the PGA Tour, which must grant permission to its members to play in events outside the PGA Tour itself, would approve the waivers 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 has laid down the law early, denying his membership the ability to participate in the big-money events from the jump.

This is slightly unusual. Many Golfers, including Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson were granted waivers earlier this year to play in the Saudi International, which is an event on the Asian Tour. However, the PGA Tour inside this LIV Golf Invitational series differently, ostensibly because it is not a one-off event but the beginning of a Rival league. The PGA Tour only allows players three waiver requests a year.

If players choose to defy those denied waivers and play the event anyway, Monahan has consistently maintained in private that players could be suspended and permanently banned from the PGA Tour.

“Our PGA Tour rules and regulations were written by the players, for the players,” said Monahan at the Players Championship earlier this year, implying that suspensions and bans would hold up in a court of law. “They’ve been in existence for over 50 years. I’m confident in our rules and regulations, my ability to administer them, and that’s my position on the matter. … We’re confident in our position, and we ‘ re going to keep moving forward as a PGA Tour and focus on the things that we control. “

PGA Tour players who either requested waiver releases or were linked to the league include Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Jason Kokrak, Kevin Na and Robert Garrigus. Then there’s Mickelson, of course, who is by far the biggest name involved, seemingly the linchpin for the whole thing and will undoubtedly end up being the poster boy in a court of law for how this all shakes out.

LIV Golf is a Saudi Arabia-funded league that is laboring to create an alternative golf tour while luring some of the top players in the world to its events. It was reported that Phil Mickelson helped write the operating agreement for the league before he disappeared from public view following some controversial comments about the folks running the league he allegedly helped start. The 48-golfer, 12-team LIV Golf events – five of which are slated to be played in the United States later this year – will have Purses of $ 20 million, including a $ 5 million payout to the top team at each event.

Greg Norman, who is currently serving as the CEO of LIV Golf, has been Adamant that legally-speaking golfers – who are considered independent contractors – could not be banned from the PGA Tour. The Tour is obviously inside that differently. While this waiver denial is certainly surprising for the first event – the PGA Tour Grants waivers all the time to events not held on North American soil – this was always going to come to a head at some point later on when the Leagues clashed with conflicting events on the same dates in the United States.

This entire saga has been one that would likely head to court since the day it began. Now, it seems that is likely to happen sooner than originally thought.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button