Star players such as Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia have helped build and maintain the relevancy of both the PGA and the sport of golf as a whole in recent years. Mickelson in particular has been with the PGA Tour since 1992. However, these iconic relationships have been shattered by the upstart LIV Golf.
LIV Golf was founded in 2021, created by The Sovereign Wealth Fund of Saudi Arabia. The name is based upon the Roman numeral “54”, which would be a golfer’s score if each hole on a par-72 course is birdied. LIV Golf will also be referred to as the “Super Golf League.”
Plenty of PGA players are making the switch to LIV Golf, including the aforementioned Mickelson and Garcia. Obviously, the PGA Tour is not happy about this.
As of June 9th, 2022, The PGA released a memo announcing it has suspended 17 golfers total right after teeing off for the first LIV tournament, with more suspensions likely to come.
Monahan states that golfers “purposely violated” tour regulations and they “turned their backs on the PGA Tour.” There has been no formal regulation in the past.
Back when there were first talks about a new Saudi Golf league in 2019, PGA tour commissioner Jay Monahan warned players that participating in a new league would result in suspensions for players. There has never been an official rule preventing players from golfing in other leagues to this point.
Surprisingly, two big names that were left off the suspension list were Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed. However, this may be due to them not playing in the June 9th tournament. Both are expected to compete at the second LIV tournament in Oregon towards the end of the month.
Also quite strange is that none of the governing bodies for the four majors made any sort of statement backing Monahan.
It is unclear how long it will be until the suspensions are lifted, or if they will be lifted at all. The PGA historically has been vague on its regulations and policies, something that has been heavily criticized in the past.
This bad blood between the two organizations could be a set up to a great golf-association rivalry. Or, one of the two leagues could fizzle out. Either way, the introduction of the LIV is a major boon to the sport of golf.