PGA Tour Commissioner J Monahan described the Saudi-funded league that signed Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Bryson Dichambeu as a “series of exhibition matches” that spent billions of dollars on players without a return on their investment.
Monahan added that players pay a lot of money to “live under the rocks” for not knowing they will be criticized for the source of the money. LIV Golf is supported by the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Saudi Arabia.
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“I would ask any player who is gone, or any player who ever considers leaving, ‘Have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?'” Monahan said on the CBS telecast of the RBC Canadian Open from Toronto.
Uncomfortable question Stump LIV golf star
They were Monahan’s first public remarks since Thursday when Greg Norman’s LIV golf series began and Monahan suspended all PGA Tour members playing at Centurion Golf Club outside London.
The LIV Golf Series has eight tournaments this year – five in the United States – each with a অর্থ 35 million prize money, excluding the 54-hole event and the 48-man field. Charles Schwartzel won the first one on Saturday and earned $ 6.75 million.
More than the prize money, some players have received hefty signing fees. The Daily Telegraph reported that Johnson received 175 million, while Mickelson did not deny a report that he had been paid $ 270 million for a startup venture. It has not been clear for many years now that they are committed.
In recent days, Norman has announced that Dechambu and Patrick Reid have signed up and are expected to play their first U.S. event in Oregon later this month. None of the top 10 players in the world have shown interest in the new league.
Monahan says he has suspended players for violating tournament rules. Their release was rejected to compete in the London event and they chose to play anyway. Players usually get three releases for foreign events and two dozen for Saudi internationals.
Monahan said it was a singular event associated with a recognized tour (Asian Tour), comparing it to a few other events that directly challenged the PGA Tour by playing in the United States.
“It’s my job to protect, protect and celebrate our loyal PGA Tour members, our partners and our fans, and that’s exactly what I did,” Monahan said.
Mickelson has confirmed his departure from the LIV Golf Tour
Norman and some of the players at the LIV golf event talked about being free agents, playing wherever they pleased and giving the new league space to join the world golf instead of competing on the PGA Tour.
Johnson, Sergio Garcia and Graeme McDowell were among those who resigned their PGA Tour membership. Mickelson, already at the Country Club on Sunday to begin preparations for the US Open, said he plans to have a lifetime membership with 45 wins and six majors.
Asked why the players could not play on both tours, Monahan answered a question of his own.
“Why do we need them so badly?” He said. “Those players have chosen to sign a multi-year, lucrative contract to play in a series of repeated exhibition matches against the same players. You see it vs. what we see here today.”
At the Canadian Open, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Tony Finau are vying for the title and Justin Rose is vying for 59 or fewer shots until he settles at 60.
“Here you have the real, pure competition of the best players in the world at the RBC Canadian Open, watched by millions of fans. And in this game, it is true and pure competition that creates the profiles and presence of the best players in the world. And that’s why we need them. That’s what we do, “said Monahan.
“However, we will not allow players to travel free from our loyal members.”
It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. The USGA said it would not deny a player a place on the field at the US Open and that R&A would respect the “open” nature of the British Open in St. Andrews next month.
If PGA Tour players try to enter an event after signing up with LIV Golf and being suspended for play, there is a possibility of a lawsuit. Norman says LIV Golf will support its players.
Monahan did not say whether there was a way back for players who joined the Normans League, or how it would affect players who had never been a member of the PGA Tour.
Monahan specifically targeted money from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which has been accused of using such tours to divert attention from its history of human rights abuses.
He was asked how big the source of funding was.
“It’s not a problem for me, because I don’t work for the Saudi government,” Monahan said. “But it’s probably a problem for players who choose to go and take that money. I think you have to ask yourself one question: why?
“Why is this group spending so much money – billions of dollars – on hiring players and running after an idea that has no chance of returning?” He said. “At the same time, there are a lot of questions, a lot of comments about the growth of the game. And I ask, ‘How good is this for the game?’
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