PGA Tour commissioner plans to suspend more golfers at LIV events

Earlier this week Commissioner Jay Monahan suspended PGA Tour players who played in the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series event outside London indefinitely, a group including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Louis Oosthuizen and Charles Schwartzel.

On Sunday’s CBS telecast of the final round of the RBC Canadian Open, Monahan didn’t back down from his decision.

In other words, expect more suspensions for players who join LIV Golf.

“It was an unfortunate week that was created by unfortunate decisions, those decisions being players who chose to violate our tournament rules,” Monahan said. “It’s my job to protect, defend and celebrate our loyal PGA Tour members, partners and fans. And that’s exactly what I did. And I don’t think it came as a surprise to anyone. Given how clear I had been on how we were going to handle this situation.

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When asked by CBS’ Jim Nantz why players couldn’t play both, Monahan responded quickly and decisively.

“Why do they need us so much? Because these players chose to sign lucrative multi-year contracts to play in a series of exhibition matches against the same players over and over,” Monahan said. “You look at that versus what we see here today, and that’s why they need us so much. You have real pure competition. The best players in the world are here at the RBC Canadian Open, with millions of fans watching, and in this game it’s the real, pure competition that creates the profile in the presence of the greatest players in the world.

“And that’s why they need us. This is what we do. But we are not going to allow players to get away from our loyal members, the best players in the world.

The rival league will host seven more events this year, each a 54-hole, shotgun-start, no-cut, 48-player tournament with a team format. The next tournament will take place in July opposite the John Deere Classic. Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Pat Perez will join LIV Golf and play in Portland.

In addition to staggering signing bonuses — Mickelson reportedly received $200 million to sign, Johnson $125 million — LIV Golf will hand out $255 million in prize money. Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, won the inaugural LIV Golf event, his first title since 2016. Schwartzel pocketed $4 million for the victory and an additional $750,000 for being a member of the winning team.

The league is led by Greg Norman and backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world. The players have been criticized for playing LIV Golf due to alleged human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, including the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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