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PGA punishes Saudi tour rebels

The PGA Tour has moved to censure players who have joined the breakaway group

The PGA Tour has moved to punish its members who have signed up to the controversial Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational series set to debut this week.

The event, which has promised the biggest prize fund in the history of the sport, has led to several top pros signing up, most notably the likes of Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson – the latter of whom had previously expressed his hesitancy at the formation of the event due to the perceived human rights abuses of the Saudi Arabian regime.

And expressing their own opposition to the series, the PGA released a statement shortly after play got underway at the Centurion Club in the UK.

“In accordance with the PGA Tour’s tournament regulations, the players competing this week without releases are suspended or otherwise no longer eligible to participate in PGA Tour tournament play, including the Presidents Cup, they said in the harshly-worded statement.

“The same fate holds true for any other players who participate in future Saudi Golf League events in violation of our regulations.

“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.”

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© Charlie Crowhurst / LIV Golf / Getty Images
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The upstart series has been seen by some at another attempt at the so-called ‘sports-washing’ of the reputation of Saudi authorities, and follows similar big money moves into football, boxing and motorsport in recent times.

However, in their own statement designed to act as a counter-balance to the PGA’s protestations, LIV Golf took the high road and said that the PGA’s stance will only serve to punish players and restrict their ability to play wherever they see fit.

“It’s troubling that the Tour, an organisation dedicated to creating opportunities for golfers to play the game, is the entity blocking golfers from playing.

“This certainly is not the last word on this topic. The era of free agency is beginning as we are proud to have a full field of players joining us in London, and beyond.”

The PGA suspension will impact several players in addition to Johnson and Mickelson, including the likes of Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood.

Mickelson, meanwhile, did not deny that he had been handed a sum of $200 million to play the series, while Johnson is rumored in the press to be receiving around $150 million. 

https://ift.tt/bjRd79x 09, 2022 at 09:40PM
from RT – Daily news

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