Earlier this week, Commissioner Jay Monahan suspended PGA Tour players participating in the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series event outside of London for an unspecified time, a group that included Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Louis Oosthuizen, and Charl Schwarzel.
On Sunday, during the CBS broadcast of the final round of the RBC Canadian Open, Monahan did not back down from his decision.
In other words, expect more suspensions for players joining LIV Golf.
“It’s been an unlucky week that was created by some unlucky decisions, those decisions were players choosing to violate our tournament rules,” Monahan said. “It is my job to protect, defend and celebrate our loyal PGA Tour members, our partners and our fans. And that is exactly what I did. And I don’t think it was a surprise to anyone. Given how clear he had been about how we were going to handle this situation.”
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When asked by CBS’s Jim Nantz why players can’t play both, Monahan answered quickly and decisively.
“Why do they need us so much? Because those players have opted to sign lucrative multi-year contracts to play in a series of exhibition games against the same players over and over again,” Monahan said. “You see that compared to what we see here today, and that’s why they need us so much. You have true and 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 is the true and pure competition that builds the profile in the presence of the best players in the world.
“And that’s why they need us. That’s what we do. But we are not going to allow players to take advantage of our loyal members, the best players in the world.”
The rival league will have seven more events this year, each a 54-hole, quick-start, no-cut, 48-player tournament with a team format. The next tournament will be in July against 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 dole out $255 million in prize money. Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, won LIV Golf’s inaugural event, his first title since 2016. Schwartzel pocketed $4 million for the win and another $750,000 for being a member of the winning team.
The league is led by Greg Norman and backed by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds. Players have faced criticism for playing LIV Golf due to Saudi Arabia’s alleged human rights violations, including the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.