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It has been reported that the PGA Tour has denied its members permission to play in next month’s inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series event at London’s Centurion Club.
Golfweek reports that players were sent the denials late on Tuesday afternoon. The move comes as a surprise as it had been expected players would be granted releases for the first event - not an unusual occurrence for tournaments taking place outside North America. Indeed, the bigger sticking point was thought to be the new series’ second tournament in Portland, Oregon. That's because PGA Tour policy doesn’t allow releases for events that clash with its schedule in North America.
Now, it looks as though any PGA Tour player who chooses to tee it up at the first event on 9 June will face disciplinary action from the organisation. Meanwhile, there is some confusion as to the legal implications of denying players the right choose where they play. LIV frontman Greg Norman has long insisted players are independent contractors. However, PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan had previously stated that anyone joining the series would be banned.
One player, who wished to remain anonymous, told Golfweek: "I’m for sure weighing up the pros and cons of making a jump like this. What Jay decides is a hugely important part of that. Asking permission to play an international ‘tour’ event is something I’ve done with the PGA Tour since I first took my card many years ago."
“I understand the initial construct of this LIV tour was destructive in nature if the PGA Tour didn’t want part of it. Here in the short term, the events are being scheduled to be as non-conflicting as possible which is difficult to do. As a player who plays multiple tours, conflicting events is something we always deal with and I don’t see how the LIV tour is any different until it’s 48 guys locked in for 14 events a season.”
There have been numerous reports in recent weeks about the identities of players seeking releases to play in the controversial series. Last week, the PGA Tour’s Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood joined Robert Garrigus in confirming they had requested releases to play in the tournament. Meanwhile, another report suggested 80 PGA Tour pros had requested releases to play in the series.
The news comes on the same day Norman revealed he had secured a further $2bn to grow the series from eight events to a 14-tournament super league. He also launched a passionate defence of the controversial series, and said he doesn't answer to the Saudis.
Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. 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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