With the controversial LIV Golf Invitational Series less than two months from getting under way, speculation is mounting as to precisely which players will be enticed to take part.
Last week there were suggestions from frontman Greg Norman that some marquee names would soon be announced. Now, the rumours have gathered pace, with PGA Tour professional Robert Garrigus reported as requesting his release from the Tour to join the new series, which begins at London’s Centurion Club in June.
Now, The Telegraph is reporting that “a handful” of European players and a minimum of one American have submitted release applications to pave the way for them to join the inaugural eight-tournament series. The report claims that up to six DP World Tour players have contacted Wentworth HQ seeking permission to sign up for the series.
However, it appears that, rather than a sign that the as-yet-unnamed players have received firm offers to join the series, the moves have been made with a view to beating the DP World Tour's and the PGA Tour’s deadlines to apply for the event. With the first of the LIV Golf Invitational Series tournaments getting under way on 9 June, the PGA Tour's 45-day deadline for applications is fast approaching – next Monday, 25 April.
The situation is muddied somewhat by the DP World Tour’s 30-day stipulation. However, following it and the PGA Tour’s Strategic Alliance, it is thought the two will agree to identical release policies. While the moves won’t come as a shock to either Tour, and the players are likely to have their wishes granted, an insider told The Telegraph that things could be about to get messy, with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan facing an imminent conundrum:
“Jay has precedent to allow the guys to play in London, but the second tournament is in Portland, Oregon and under the PGA Tour rules it is forbidden for releases to be granted for conflicting events being staged in North America. Jay’s hands will be tied. He cannot permit members to play in that event or any of the four in the eight-event series taking place in the US. Portland is when it could get really messy and when the lawyers will get involved.”
The LIV Golf Invitational series will comprise eight tournaments – seven regular events and a season-closing Team Championship tournament at a yet-to-be-disclosed venue. Each of the regular events will feature three rounds with no cut, and with play commencing by shotgun start. There will be a team format with no more than 48 players making up of 12 teams of four, with the teams drafted each week.
The series hopes to entice players with a huge $25m purse at each of the first seven tournaments, and a $50m purse in the finale.
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Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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