PGA Suspends 17 Golfers Playing in Saudi-Backed LIV League

Phil Mickelson
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The PGA Tour has suspended all 17 pro golfers who signed on to play in the new Saudi Arabia-backed LIV golf league, according to the letter released on Thursday.

The PGA Tour maintains that all 17 players who announced participation in the new league being promoted by golf great Greg Norman will be ineligible to play in any PGA tournament or the President’s Cup.

“These players have made their choice for their own financial-based reasons,” the PGA Tour states in its notice of suspension dated June 9.

“But they can’t demand the same PGA TOUR membership benefits, considerations, opportunities and platform as you. That expectation disrespects you, our fans and our partners,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan continued in the letter. “You have made a different choice, which is to abide by the Tournament Regulations you agreed to when you accomplished the dream of earning a PGA TOUR card and — more importantly — to compete as part of the preeminent organization in the world of professional golf.”

The letter also notes that any future golfer who jumps to the LIV league will face a similar suspension from the PGA.

Monahan also accused the fleeing pros of fatiguing fans with “all this talk of money, money and more money.”

“You are the PGA TOUR, and this moment is about what we stand for: the PGA TOUR membership as a whole, Monahan added. “It’s about lifting up those who choose to not only benefit from the TOUR, but who also play an integral role in building it. I know you are with us, and vice versa. Our partners are with us, too. The fact that your former TOUR colleagues can’t say the same should be telling.”

In a statement, LIV Golf called the PGA Tour’s actions “vindictive” and said it “deepens the divide between the Tour and its members,” ESPN reported.”

“It’s troubling that the Tour, an organization dedicated to creating opportunities for golfers to play the game, is the entity blocking golfers from playing,” LIV Golf added. “This certainly is not the last word on this topic. The era of free agency is beginning as we are proud to have a full field of players joining us in London, and beyond.”

Notably, the PGA Tour recently canceled former President Trump’s annual tournament at Trump Doral, as well as the PGA Championship event that was to be held at Trump Bedminster. Also, while bemoaning their players’ involvement in a league backed by Saudi Arabia, a nation with a terrible human rights record, the PGA maintains a business partnership with communist China.

A country equally plagued by human rights violations.

LIV Golf is funded by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, which is controlled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

HANGZHOU, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 04: Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) shakes hands with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to the G20 Summit on September 4, 2016 in Hangzhou, China.

Mohammed bin Salman shakes hands with China’s Xi Jinping Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Phil Mickelson faced stern questions from members of the liberal sports media accusing him of not caring about human rights for involving himself with the Saudis, especially in light of the 2018 death and disappearance of left-wing activist and sometimes Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Reporters accused Mickelson of “sportswashing” Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, the New York Post reported.

But the hypocrisy is thick with these “journalists” since not one of them has ever questioned the PGA Tour for its multi-million-dollar tour in China, one of the worst human rights abusers in the world.

China has one of the worst human rights abuse records in the world. From its brutal suppression of the democracy movements in its territories of Tibet and Hong Kong to its oppression of Christians and members of the Falun Gong, to its enslavement and genocide perpetrated against its minority Muslim Uyghur population, China has faced more scrutiny than ever for its record of massive human rights abuses even as the PGA Tour and the sports media ignore it all.

Ultimately, the PGA Tour suspended seven players, including Talor Gooch, Matt Jones, Phil Mickelson, Andy Ogletree, Ian Poulter, Hudson Swafford, and Peter Uihlein.

Ten others were suspended after they had informed the PGA Tour that they had officially resigned their memberships, including, Sergio Garcia, Branden Grace, Dustin Johnson, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Kevin Na, Louis Oosthuizen, Turk Pettit, Charl Schwartzel, and Lee Westwood.

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