The news is a further setback to the Greg Norman-fronted Series, which was dealt the blow that PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan had followed through on recent threats and formally denied its members from competing. In a memo sent to players, the Tour stated that "granting such a release would significantly and unreasonably harm the PGA Tour and Tour sponsors."
Norman issued a scathing response and accused the PGA Tour of "perpetuating its illegal monopoly" and described their conduct as "anti-golfer, anti-fan, and anti-competitive." Despite the decision, the former World No.1 insisted that "we will not be stopped" in their pursuit of the Series.
The Australian has repeatedly insisted that Tour players and independent contractors and that the PGA, or DP World, Tour does not have the legal right to deny their entry to tournaments. With both leading tours, who announced a Strategic Alliance in August last year, having denied its members releases to play, it is expected to be fraught with legal challenge.
Norman had previously stated that players will take part in the Series irrespective of whether they are granted releases and, if true, it is something which is almost certain to lead to disciplinary action from both tours. Commissioner Monahan had previously stated that he will not hesitate to issue a suspension or lifetime ban to anyone that pledges their allegiance to the Saudi-backed Series.
Norman revealed 36 of the top-150, 19 of the top-100 and six of the top-50 in the Official World Golf Ranking had requested to take part in the Series opener; which includes the likes of Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Richard Bland, Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen and Martin Kaymer.
The DP World Tour previously granted releases for players to take part in the Saudi International, an event on the Asian Tour schedule after it removed its association, but the LIV Golf Invitational Series appears to have been viewed in a different context given the likelihood of players seeking to participate in all eight events.
The LIV Golf Invitational Series schedule comprises of eight events across the UK, United States, Saudi Arabia and Thailand. The 48-man field will compete for a $25 million purse over 54-holes with the winner receiving $4m - the largest prize in the history of the sport. The absence of a cut means last place receives a cheque for $120,000.
The lucrative series will also crown an 'Individual Champion' with a purse of $30m for the top-three performers of the season. The season-ending eighth event will be a Team Championship with a $50m total prize fund.
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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.
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