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Virginia Whitehead
Virginia Whitehead
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Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and Sergio Garcia are among 17 golfers suspended by the PGA on Thursday, for participating in the first tournament of LIV Golf, a controversial new competition circuit funded by Saudi Arabia.

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In a note to golfers on the PGA Tour, Commissioner Jay Monahan noted that these 17 athletes (see below) “made a choice based on financial considerations.”

“But they can’t claim the same benefits, the same consideration, the same opportunities, and the platform that you have,” Mr. Monahan added. These expectations are disrespectful to you, your fans, and our partners. »

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Of those 17 golfers, 10 have already terminated their PGA binding agreement, including Johnson. Mickelson was still considered a member of the ring when he started his first LIV golf tournament on Thursday in St Albans, near London.

They will now be barred from participating in US PGA events, including the President’s Cup, but also those of satellite circuits, including the Champions and Korn Ferry.

Golfers also lost all points earned in the FedEx Cup standings, the season-ending tournament on the PGA.

On Thursday, Mr. Monahan did not specify the length of the sentence. But it comes at the same time that the Canadian Open, one of the world’s three oldest, is in full swing in Toronto, with Scotty Scheffler, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy in attendance.

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“I don’t see anyone missing here. Except maybe a DJ [Dustin Johnson] Scheffler, No. 1 in the world rankings, mocked earlier this week.

“It’s a shame this league is about to break our sport,” McIlroy said more seriously. Professional golf is the showcase for our sport. If the audience is so confused that they don’t know who is playing where, and what tournament this week is going to be held, the confusion will only grow. »

huge sums

The participation of some golfers in the LIV golf course, led by former glory Greg Norman, has been a matter of debate for some time now.

In February, Mickelson, last year’s PGA Championship winner, said he was ready to join LIV Golf despite Saudi Arabia’s “lack of respect for human rights, especially for gays”.

Since it pretty much comes from there, the controversy surrounding this new circuit offering incredible purses: $31 million in each of its eight tournaments, or twice as much as its four major PGA events.

Mickelson and Johnson, the two main catches on the LIV tour, had touched about $200 million to join the ring.

Saudi money

These astronomical sums come from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, a sovereign investment fund owned by the country’s government.

Several international organizations denounced Saudi Arabia for its management of human rights and freedom of expression.

At the moment, LIV Golf does not have a sponsor or TV presenter. But this does not prevent its main resource, with large pockets, from expanding hundreds of millions to promote its circle.

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Mickelson, 51 and a winner of six major titles, said he saw the track as an opportunity to “change” his sport. “It will bring balance, and allow me to focus on a healthier approach to life both in and out of competition,” he added.

– With AFP

What is Leaf Golf?

Championships in England, USA, Thailand and Saudi Arabia

Championships in England, USA, Thailand and Saudi Arabia

  • 48 Golfers for every event
  • $31 million In your wallet in the tournament
  • 5 million dollars For the winner, $150,000 for another
  • 8 Tournaments per season (including the season-ending event in Miami)
  • 3 Rounds per course (hence 54 holes, as the Roman numeral LIV)
  • 8 The final tournament of the season is a team competition
  • 0 No cutting after rounds

Seventeen fugitives

The names Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed should be added to these at the end of the month. According to LIV Golf, the new course will host 17 of the world’s top 100 golfers.

And the following specialties?

  • The US Open, which takes place next week in Brooklyn, near Boston, announced last Tuesday that golfers who joined LIV Golf would still be able to participate in the tournament.
  • It is not yet certain whether they will be able to participate in the British Open, which will take place in mid-July.
  • The prestigious Masters, who crowned Scotty Scheffler, has not decided their participation next April. Nor the PGA Championship. But it would be surprising if the latter would accept defecting golfers, as it requires competitors to be part of a recognized circuit (which LIV Golf has yet to do).
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