Seminole GC Bans LIV Golfers From Prestigious Pro-Member Event

The famous Florida course will not allow LIV Golfers to play in next month's famous Pro-Member event after the Honda Classic

Seminole GC president Jimmy Dunne
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Seminole, one of the best golf courses in Florida, has taken sides in the LIV Golf and PGA Tour saga by banning LIV players from February’s popular Pro-Member tournament.

The tournament is held on the Monday after the Honda Classic, at nearby PGA National, has finished, and usually attracts a decent field of Tour pros leading to the Pro-Member field looking almost like a regular tournament.

Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas all played in the 2022 edition, with more than a dozen players who later signed with LIV Golf also taking part.

However, Golfweek broke the news that the club has said that all of those LIV golfers would not now be welcome to play in the 2023 Pro-Member event which takes place on the 27th February.

Long-time Seminole president Jimmy Dunne made the decision based on the event being linked to the PGA Tour – who have suspended players who have joined LIV, with some of these also resigning their membership.

“We are doing what we have always done,” Dunne told Golfweek on Thursday. “PGA Tour players get the first priority. This event has always been supported by the PGA Tour. We try to make this a special and unique day for Tour players.”

Dunne played with Dustin Johnson last year and has previously played alongside Phil Mickelson in the two-player team event, but Dunne has recently been appointed to the PGA Tour board so his loyalty must now lie with them.

Sergio Garcia, Bryson DeChambeau, Ian Poulter and Bubba Watson all played last year, along with Louis Oosthuizen who played with seven-time Super Bowl champion and NFL legend Tom Brady as one of the star non-pro golfers in the field.

Dunne says he still has good relationships with many of the players who will not be included in the field this year, but insists that making the decision to join LIV Golf was the blame.

“Candidly, I have a pretty good relationship with most people,” Dunne said. “These guys had a choice to make, but they’ve made it. That’s it. I’m not going to say something nasty about guys who participated in the past.”

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.