The PGA Tour has suspended 17 players who are competing in the LIV Golf Invitational Series debut, and they've vowed to suspend any player who competes in LIV Golf events moving forward.
In a letter sent to PGA Tour members just minutes after the LIV Golf tournament began at Centurion Club in England, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said these players will be suspended from competing in PGA Tour events, including the Presidents Cup and on any tour under their ownership, including the Korn Ferry Tour, PGA Tour Champions, PGA Tour Canada and PGA Tour Latinoamerica.
The players will also be removed from the FedEx Cup rankings at the conclusion of this week's PGA Tour event, the RBC Canadian Open.
"These players have made their choice for their own financial-based reasons," Monahan wrote in the memo. "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. 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 17 named players are: Sergio Garcia, Talor Gooch, Branden Grace, Dustin Johnson, Matt Jones, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Phil Mickelson, Kevin Na, Andy Ogletree, Louis Oosthuizen, Turk Pettit, Ian Poulter, Charl Schwartzel, Hudson Swafford, Peter Uihlein and Lee Westwood.
Garcia, Grace, Johnson, Kaymer, McDowell, Na, Oosthuizen, Pettit, Schwartzel and Westwood have all resigned their PGA Tour membership.
It is unclear if the suspension is for a defined period of time, in perpetuity or done on a case-by-case basis. Monahan did tell players the Tour has answers regarding these players' future careers and any potential return to the PGA Tour umbrella but did not reveal those specific policies.
Monahan believes the Tour has a winning argument among players and fans.
He wrote, "I am certain our fans and partners -- who are surely tired of all this talk of money, money and more money -- will continue to be entertained and compelled by the world-class competition you display each and every week, where there are true consequences for every shot you take and your rightful place in history whenever you reach that elusive winner's circle.
"You are the PGA Tour, and this moment is about what we stand for: the PGA Tour membership as a whole. 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 response, LIV Golf released a statement reading, "Today’s announcement by the PGA Tour is vindictive and it deepens the divide between the Tour and its members. 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. 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.”