The PGA Tour has categorically refused to allow its membership to play in the inaugural event of a golf tour sponsored by rival Saudi Arabia, which will debut next month outside London. The move, which was announced to tour members in a memorandum on Tuesday evening, was not a surprise – the PGA Tour is defending its business – but in the most gentlemanly sport it has shown uncharacteristic hatred.
It also forces the world’s best male golfers, who are high-paying entrepreneurs, to choose the side where they will save millions of dollars in compensation. And not in vain, the focus of the dispute often becomes the source of an alternative golf scheme, LIV Golf, whose main shareholder is the Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund, a public investment fund.
It is very likely that only a handful of players with small positions based on the American PGA Tour – plus a few golfers who have passed perfectly – will move on to a new series of golf that may not be worth the money but is currently lacking. Prestige, or even a TV contract.
But if the start-up tour lasts for years – also not certain – and fulfills its promise to release bags that overshadow PGA tour participants, it could sow discord in the next generation of young professionals, especially those brought up. Outside the United States, whose focus is not so much on the PGA tour.
By this time, numerous players on the tour, including all the men in the world rankings, have pledged their allegiance to the PGA tour.
On several occasions, Rory McIlroy, the four-time top winner who is the seventh in the world, has declared a separatist tour “dead in the water.” He also did not like his basics and said, “I did not like where the money was coming from.” Along with 33-year-old McIlroy, some of the dominant players in the game were new faces such as John Ramie, Colin Morikawa, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spit.
The controversy involves one of the sport’s most famous players, Phil Mickelson, who has been sidelined from competitive golf for months after making comments in support of the separatist league.
Mickelson has been among several players linked to the PGA Tour, including Spain’s Sergio Garcia and England’s Lee Westwood, who have announced their release from the tour to play in the first event of the LIV Golf International Series at the Centurion Club near London from June. 9 to 11 p.m.
The tour refuses to grant these releases, which means that players who choose to play at the LIV Golf event will be considered in violation of the tour rules. Disciplinary liability may include suspension or revocation of tour membership.
Jay Monahan, PGA Tour commissioner, told players this year that the tour would stop players from moving to a competing league. The same can be said for a player who wants to play at least one tournament in the LIV Golf schedule, which includes eight events from June to October, including one in Thailand and five in the United States. At the end of July, the host site will be the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ
Hours after the PGA Tour rejected players’ request to play at the Centurion Club event, Greg Norman, the former golf champion and CEO of LIV Golf Investments, condemned the tour decision.
“Unfortunately, the PGA Tour seems to be going to deny professional golfers the right to play golf unless it is exclusively in the PGA Tour,” Norman said. He added: “In return, the tour aims to continue its illegal monopoly, which should be a free and open market. “The action of the tour is anti-golf, anti-fan and anti-competitive.”
On Tuesday, LIV Golf announced more event plans from 2023 to 2025.
The next step in the clash may be in court. Monahan argued that the tour’s lawyers believed his decision would withstand legal scrutiny.
While the court case will be less fascinating, the more compelling drama in the golf drama will be Michelson’s situation. He only has a few days to play next week in the PGA Championship, which he won last year when he became the oldest home champion at the age of 50. Mickelson has been associated with the LIV Golf Circle for months. In February, he was severely reprimanded for irritating comments sent to him in support of a Saudi-backed tour.
In an interview for the biography to be published next week, Mickelson told journalist Alan Shipnuk that he knew the kingdom had a “terrible record of human rights” but that he was willing to help the new league because it was “once. -a-lifetime opportunity ”to dramatically increase the income of PGA Tour players.
Shortly afterwards, Mickelson, the six-time top winner who made nearly $ 95 million on the PGA tour, left several of his corporate sponsors. He apologized and called his remarks “reckless.”
Next week, perhaps before Mickelson prepares to return to competitive golf at the PGA Championships, Shipnook’s book, Phil: A Rip-on (and Unauthorized!) Biography of the Most Colorful Golf Superstar, will be released. It is expected that this will shed light on Mickelson’s gambling habits, among other things.
Garcia, another player who has long been considered a candidate to join the LIV Golf venture, recently expressed his support for an alternative tour. Playing at the PGA Tour event near Washington last week, a Garcia golf official informed the pitch of the decision that went against him. It was later found that this decision was wrong (but has not changed). Garcia, whose career PGA Tour grossed more than $ 54 million, told an official in response to a nearby television broadcast microphone: “I can not wait to leave this tour.” He continued: “A few more weeks, I no longer need to deal with you.”
Garcia, 42, is a professional golfer who might like the promises of the LIV Golf venture. With the Masters champion winning the 11 PGA Tour, he struggled to retain the stronger, more enduring young players who occupied golf. His world rating dropped to 46th. He is also not American, like other golfers who have reportedly signed a separatist tour. These players are most likely attracted to the more global and limited schedule of LIV Golf. Some players view the American tour as excessive, restrictive, and staged in the United States.
Meanwhile, the gentle world of golf is a fuss. Its short-term impact is unlikely to shake the boat greatly. The question will be how long the competing tour will be able to sustain itself and whether it will be enough to turn the normally calm and lucrative waters of the sport into serious ones.