Sep 2, 2022 - Sports

PGA Tour denies membership for LIV players

Team Captain Phil Mickelson at LIV Golf event in Boston.

Team Captain Phil Mickelson at LIV Golf's event in Boston. Photo: Charles Laberge/LIV Golf/via Getty Images

The PGA Tour said Friday some of its players will not be eligible for renewal because of their contracts with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit.

The big picture: The Justice Department is investigating the PGA Tour for possible antitrust violations by not letting golfers compete in a separate golf league.

Driving the news: A representative for the PGA Tour told Axios that the golfers' contracts with LIV prevent them from meeting the requirements for PGA membership.

  • The tour confirmed to Axios that 22 players who had not resigned after joining LIV Golf were told their membership was not renewed.
  • Some of the players were not planning to renew their membership, the PGA Tour said.
  • The tour sent letters to Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Pat Perez among others, Sports Illustrated reports.
  • LIV Golf did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment

What they said: “The terms of your contractual commitments to LIV Golf prohibit you from satisfying the material obligations set forth in the regulations and make clear that you have no intention to, and indeed cannot comply with these requirements of membership in the PGA Tour,’’ the tour's letter said, according to Sports Illustrated.

  • Axios did not independently verify the content of the letters sent to players. The tour confirmed letters were sent.

Flashback: The PGA Tour suspended 17 players who participated in LIV Golf's first-ever event in June 2022, Axios' Kendall Baker writes. Future participants would suffer the same punishment, the tour said at the time.

The bottom line: This is the latest inflection point between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf. The two rival leagues are preparing for a years-long legal battle over the future of professional golf.

Go deeper: The PGA Tour is ready for battle with LIV

Go deeper