It won’t be long before the LIV Golf Invitational Series kicks off. The first event of the tournament series, created by Greg Norman, is coming up. The first of eight planned tournaments will begin on June 9, 2022. For many months now, there have been heated discussions and wild speculations about the participation or non-participation of PGA Tour players in the Saudi League. Now the PGA Tour made a clear statement.
PGA Tour threatens immense penalties
From the beginning, the relationship between the established golf tours and the new Saudi League was an adversarial one. Some players from the PGA Tour and DP World Tour nevertheless now asked for the tours’ permission to participate in the first event of the Norman Series in London. The feedback from PGA Tour chief executive Jay Monahan was unequivocal: “We have notified those who have applied that their request has been declined in accordance with the PGA Tour tournament regulations. As such, tour members are not authorised to participate in the Saudi Golf League’s London event,” Monahan announced. “As a membership organisation, we believe this decision is in the best interest of the PGA Tour and its players.”
Initially, it looked like the PGA Tour would agree to tournament participation in the Saudi League that would not take place on U.S. soil. Now, however, the PGA Tour qualified that assumption on the grounds that “the event for which they have requested clearance is the first of an eight-event ‘2022 LIV Golf Invitational Series’ season, more than half of which will be held in the United States”.
PGA Tour players found to be in violation could face severe disciplinary action. In addition to suspensions, the punishment could even include revocation of PGA Tour membership.
Greg Norman: “We will not be stopped”
The PGA Tour’s announcement was promptly followed by a response from 67-year-old Greg Norman: “Sadly, the PGA Tour seems intent on denying professional golfers their right to play golf, unless it’s exclusively in a PGA Tour tournament. 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.” Norman calls the PGA Tour an “illegal monopoly” whose actions are both anti-golfer, anti-fan and anti-competitive. Undeterred by this latest setback, he says he and his team will not let the PGA Tour stop them.