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“Sadly, the PGA Tour seems intent on denying professional golfers their right to play golf, unless it’s exclusively in a PGA Tour tournament," the former World No.1 stated. "This is particularly disappointing in light of the Tour’s non-profit status, where its mission is purportedly ‘to promote the common interests of professional tournament golfers.’
"Instead, the Tour is intent on perpetuating its illegal monopoly of what should be a free and open market. The Tour’s action is anti-golfer, anti-fan, and anti-competitive. But no matter what obstacles the PGA Tour puts in our way, we will not be stopped. We will continue to give players options that promote the great game of golf globally.”
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.
Jay Monahan, Commissioner of the PGA Tour, has repeatedly stated that it would decline and possibly suspend players participating in the Series but the recent announcement is the first time that hand has formally been shown.
The memo sent to players states that granting release would "significantly and unreasonably harm the PGA Tour and Tour sponsors" before affirming that "your participation in the event is not authorised under the Regulations."
Norman, who recently accused the PGA Tour of bullying, has repeatedly insisted that PGA Tour players are independent contractors and that the Tour does not have the legal right to deny their entry to tournaments.
The likes of Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen 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.