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The PGA Tour has officially declined its members conflicting-event releases to play in the LIV Golf Invitational Series opener at Centurion Club in June.
A memo sent to players by Kirsten Burgess cites: "We have received and reviewed your request for a conflicting event release and media release ("Release") to participate in the LIV Golf Invitational London on June 9-11, which is scheduled to be played the same week as the RBC Canadian Open.
"The Commissioner has denied the Release pursuant to Article V, Section A.3 of the PGA Tour Handbook & Tournament Regulations ("Regulations") because granting such a Release would "significantly and unreasonably harm the PGA Tour and Tour sponsors." For the same reasons, the Commissioner does not approve a Release for your media rights under Article V, Section B.
"The Commissioner evaluated all release requests based on their individual circumstances. However, Article V of the Regulations clear states that Tour members are not eligible to request or receive waivers for conflicting events held in North America.
"While releases have been granted in limited circumstances for one-off events outside of North America or for events outside of North America on tours based exclusively outside of North America, the event for which you have requested release is the first in an eight-event "2022 LIV Golf Invitational Series" season, and more than half of them will be held in the United States.
"In addition to the above, we simply cannot permit free riding on the investments made by the Tour in establishing and promoting its members. Accordingly, your participation in the event is not authorised under the Regulations."
The PGA Tour previously granted around two dozen releases for players to play in the Saudi International, an event on the Asian Tour schedule, but the LIV Golf Invitational Series has been viewed in a different context given the likelihood of players seeking to participate in all eight events.
After the event at Centurion Club in June, the next four Series events will be held in the United States - Oregon, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Illinois – and the series finale will take place in Miami. As per the regulations, the PGA Tour does not permit releases for conflicting events in North America and any request is therefore expected to also be declined.
Greg Norman issued a scathing response and insisted that the PGA Tour is "s anti-golfer, anti-fan, and anti-competitive" and confirmed that "we will not be stopped."
The likes of Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer requested releases with Norman confirming that 36 of the top-150, 19 of the top-100 and six of the top-50 in the Official World Golf Ranking were set to take part in the Series opener.
James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.