What we know and don’t know about LIV Golf, the track that challenges the PGA Tour

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The day of reckoning for the PGA Tour and more than a dozen players came on Tuesday as 13 Tour members took part in the first LIV Golf Invitational Series next week in London.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has warned players that they will face severe penalties for participating in rival tours. The tour made another statement Wednesday.

While the London course lacked the punch LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman had initially hoped for, the series was a blow to the current state of tour and professional golf. Two-time Grand Slam champion Dustin Johnson is a surprising addition to the London Championship. The field also includes several longtime PGA Tour players, including a handful of European Ryder Cup entrants who may be willing to sacrifice future opportunities to be named captains.

Stars like Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantley said they would love to see what happens in the next few weeks.

“I’m as curious as you are to see how the game will play out, what the show will look like, whether it will be similar to the golf tournaments we’re used to seeing on TV, or if it will be completely different, only time will tell,” Kan said. Turley said. “I’d love to see how this product will compare to what we’re all used to now.”

Where will the PGA Tour and LIV Golf go? Here are some questions that still must be answered:

The six-time major champion is one of PGA Tour players who have called for the conflict to be released from the tour for the London event. But Mickelson did not appear on the 42-player roster announced by LIV Golf on Tuesday.

Mickelson, who has not played on the PGA Tour since his elimination at Torrey Pines in late January and has missed the Masters and PGA Championship, may still be one of his rivals in London. There are six vacancies in the 48-man lineup, and Norman will use at least one of them for committee selection.

Sources told ESPN that one of the remaining six players will be a very high-profile player, and LIV could self-declare Mickelson to make a splash.

Despite Mickelson’s controversial comments calling the Saudis “horrible mothers—-“, Norman told ESPN that Mickelson will always be welcome at the LIV event.

“He knew he made a mistake, right?” Norman said. “He knew he made a mistake, his choice of talking to reporters and his choice of wording, he regretted it. We all made mistakes. I’ve always said, as far as I’m concerned, Phil’s legacy is always going to be Phil Legacy. Just because he made one mistake shouldn’t ruin a person’s entire legacy. I’ve always said Phil should leave the door open for any golf tournament he wants to play anywhere in the world because of what he’s done for the game of golf everything of.”

When will PGA Tour players face disciplinary action?

Players may not face discipline until they actually tee off at the LIV golf event in London, a PGA Tour official told ESPN. Penalties may come in the form of sliding scales. For example, players who are actively involved in creating leagues or recruiting Tour players to LIV Golf will face harsher penalties than players who simply play.

In the past, Monahan has threatened players with fines, suspensions and even lifetime bans if they play in the LIV Championship without being released from the PGA Tour. The issue could end up in court if players want to legally challenge the tour’s stance.

The PGA Tour issued a statement Wednesday reminding players that they will be punished if they play in London and are not released. On May 10, the Tour declined to release to players who requested it.

“Based on communications with our entire membership on May 10, PGA Tour members are not authorized to participate in the Saudi Golf League’s London events under PGA Tour rules,” the PGA Tour statement said. “Members who violate the rules of the game will be subject to disciplinary action.”

Matt Jones, one of the PGA Tour members, who was in London, said he expected the tour to be punished, but hoped that a ban would not be included.

“Yeah, you have to look forward to it,” said Jones, who was on the PGA Tour Memorial Field this week. “That’s what they said, they’ve said it publicly. [Monahan has] Been very firm on this. “If you go, you’re going to be banned from the PGA Tour,” he said at the players’ meeting. We’ll see how it goes. I’m not sure how this affects independent contractors. I believe the lawyers on the PGA Tour are very confident, and I believe the lawyers on the LIV Tour are very confident. Look, I’m a golfer. I’ll stay in my driveway because I don’t know which side. “

Are players competing on the LIV Golf Tour eligible for the majors?

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Dustin Johnson headlines the LIV Golf Invitational while Phil Mickelson is notably absent.

To date, the governing bodies that host the four majors—Augusta National Golf Club (Masters), USGA (U.S. Open), PGA of America (PGA Championship) and R&A (Open)—all support The PGA Tour and the DP Tour (formerly the European Tour).

Coincidentally, Augusta National President Frederidley and PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh were at the Memorial’s pro/am on Wednesday at Muirfield Village Golf Club. There, USGA CEO Mike Wann met with the PGA Tour Players Advisory Council.

The U.S. Open is next at the Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, from June 16-19, five days before the London event. Six PGA Tour members in the LIV field — Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Tallo Gucci, Brandon Grace, Kevin Nurse and Luis Ushutzen — have been exempted from the U.S. Open. Mickelson was also exempt from qualifying.

USGA chief tournament officer John Bodenhammer told ESPN Wednesday at the U.S. Women’s Open that while the governing body is “proud of the openness of the game,” they also make their own decisions on player eligibility on a case-by-case basis. Base.

“This openness for us goes back to the beginning,” Bodenhammer told ESPN. “Other than that, we will always keep it in a place where we can decide for ourselves what we might do based on the facts.”

At the Masters in April, Ridley said the club supports the current golf ecosystem.

“I’ll start by saying that our mission has always been to act in the best interest of the game in whatever form it may take,” Ridley said. “I think golf is in a good place right now. There’s a lot more participation. The Pro Tour prize money is the highest they’ve ever been.

“We’ve always believed that the World Tour has done a great job promoting the sport over the years. Beyond that, we don’t know what’s going to happen or what might happen, I just don’t know. I don’t think I can say more. . “

Why are players on the PGA Tour leaving LIV Golf?

A lot of it has to do with money, but some players, especially older players like Garcia, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter and Charl Schwartzel, may be making as much money as they can in fewer events on the LIV Tour ( or more) money.

Jones, from Australia, is a two-time PGA Tour champion. He finished runner-up and third in the individual this season. He tied for 26th at the Masters last year. During his tour, he earned more than $17.3 million.

Jones said playing in just seven regular-season games and one team championship final will allow him to spend more time with his three young daughters. He still hopes to at least qualify for the majors, if not the PGA Tour. He admitted to receiving a signing bonus from LIV Golf.

“I want to be around like a dad,” Jones said. “I mean, I’ve been here for 15 years. I miss a lot of what’s going on in my kids’ lives. I grew up with my mom and dad who were always there for me. They were there every day for sporting events , every school event, it’s something I want to try and do for my kids.”

Hudson Swafford is another PGA Tour member who plans to play in London. He earned his third career Tour victory at American Express in January, earning more than $9.65 million. Swafford has two children.

“I have two kids now,” Swafford said. “It’s attractive not to travel. There’s a lot going on in that decision. I still want to play on the PGA Tour. Of course I do. I love the tour.”

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