PGA Tour suspends 17 golfers playing in LIV tournament
Driving the news: LIV is highly controversial, partly due to conflicts with the PGA Tour and partly because it is funded by the Saudi Arabian government, Axios' Kendall Baker writes.
The big picture: LIV Golf has been able to poach several highly ranked players because they offered huge signing bonuses and large payouts for winners.
- Each LIV Golf event has a $25 million purse, whereas the highest purse a PGA Tour event has ever had was the 2022 Masters with a $15 million purse.
The 17 golfers the PGA Tour suspended include six-time major champion Phil Mickelson and two-time major champion Dustin Johnson.
- Ten of the 17 players, including Louis Oosthuizen, Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson, had already informed the PGA Tour that they had resigned their membership, the PGA Tour said in its statement.
- Bryson DeChambeau, the 2020 U.S. Open champion, and Patrick Reed, the 2018 Masters winner, have also agreed to join the new tour but aren't playing in the first event, according to multiple reports.
What they're saying: "These players have made their choice for their own financial-based reasons. But they can't demand the same PGA Tour membership benefits, considerations, opportunities and platform as you. That expectation disrespects you, our fans and our partners," PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a memo to players on Thursday.
The other side: LIV Golf called the decision "vindictive," saying that it "deepens the divide between the Tour and its members."
- "It's troubling that the Tour, an organization dedicated to creating opportunities for golfers to play the game, is the entity blocking players from playing," it added.
Go deeper: Golf descends into chaos
Editor's note: This article has been corrected to note that Bryson DeChambeau wasn't suspended by the PGA Tour on Thursday. He has reportedly agreed to join the LIV series but didn't play in its first event.