PGA Tour suspends all players taking part in controversial LIV Golf tournament

Frisco, Texas - PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announced on Thursday the suspension of the 17 members who are playing in the first edition of the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.

US golfers Dustin Johnson (l.) and Phil Mickelson (r.) shake hands on the first tee on the first day of the LIV Golf Invitational Series event.
US golfers Dustin Johnson (l.) and Phil Mickelson (r.) shake hands on the first tee on the first day of the LIV Golf Invitational Series event.  © ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP

The news was confirmed in a memo signed by Tour commissioner Jay Monahan on Thursday, and released just after the London-based tournament started.

Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and Sergio Garcia are some of the big names who have been suspended, though the latter two are among a group who has told the Tour that they are resigning their membership.

Monahan also confirmed the decision to stop those players from playing on all features of the PGA Tour, including the Korn Ferry Tour, PGA Tour Champions, PGA Tour Canada, and PGA Tour Latinoamérica.

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The breakaway golfers will also be removed from the FedEx Cup rankings following this week's RBC Canadian Open and will not be eligible for the FedEx Cup or Presidents Cup.

Saudi-backed tournament accused of sportswashing

"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 platforms as you," the PGA Tour memo says.

"That expectation disrespects you, our fans and our partners."

The US Golf Association has previously said players playing in the breakaway series would not be excluded from next week's US Open.

Now, Monahan warned that any players who do take part in future LIV events would face the same consequences.

The decision comes amid the widespread backlash against the Saudi Arabia-backed initiative, with many accusing the event of sportswashing, a way of laundering reputations through high-profile sporting events.

Cover photo: ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP

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