Sport

Greg Norman hits out after PGA Tour blocks player releases for first LIV Golf event


It had been rumoured that Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour Commissioner, was set to allow players to tee up in the event at the Centurion Club due to it being on British soil but would be taking a different stance when it came to Norman’s planned tournaments in the US.

However, PGA Tour members were informed on Tuesday that they will not be granted releases for the LIV Golf launch, meaning they will be subject to sanctions by teeing up at the St Albans venue.

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Former world No 1 Lee Westwood and major winners Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer had all confirmed recently that they’d requested releases.

According to a memo obtained by SI.com/Morning Read, the PGA Tour’s decision was relayed to players by senior vice president Tyler Dennis.

It read: “We have notified those who have applied that their request has been declined in according with the PGA Tour Tournament regulations.

“As such, Tour members are not authorized to participate in the Saudi Golf League’s London event under our Regulations.

“As a membership organization, we believe this decision is in the best interest of the PGA Tour and its players.’’

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has blocked player releases for the fist LIV Golf International Series event at the Centurion Club in St Albans. Picture: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.

LIV Golf Investments said it had received 170 entries, with 36 ranked among the top 150 in the Official World Golf Ranking, for its 48-man field.

In a statement, LIV Golf CEO and Commissioner Norman said: “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.’

“Instead, the Tour is intent on perpetuating its illegal monopoly of what should be a free and open market.

“The Tour’s action is anti-golfer, anti-fan, and anti-competitive. But no matter what obstacles the PGA Tour puts in our way, we will not be stopped. We will continue to give players options that promote the great game of golf globally.”

Based on the fact the circuits have a Strategic Alliance, it is likely that the DP World Tour will also block release requests from members for the upcoming event at the Centurion Club, where Norman is hosting a media event on Wednesday.

It had earlier been announced that LIV Golf is pledging a new $2 billion investment in golf through an expanded 2023-2025 schedule.

“We have a long-term vision and we’re here to stay,” said Norman. “We’re going to grow the game, give more opportunities to players, and create a more entertaining product for fans.

“We believe in adding new experiences and energy to golf, and that includes building out our future schedule in more global markets.

“We’re creating an entertaining product that will increase golf participation and attract new fans across a broader global footprint. We realize it won’t happen overnight, and we’re excited for the opportunities LIV Golf will add to the game as we continue to grow.”

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