The PGA Tour has suspended 17 golfers who are competing Thursday in the LIV Golf event near London.
Players who decide to participate in the new golf league which is funded mainly by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund “did not receive the necessary conflicting event and media rights release — or did not apply for releases at all,” according to a PGA memo sent Thursday.
“These players have made their choice for their own financial-based reasons,” the memo said. “They can’t demand the same PGA Tour membership benefits, considerations, opportunities and platform as you.”
The suspensions are indefinite and will be effective for everyone playing in next LIV Golf events.
Suspended players include Major championship winners Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson.
Former champion Greg Norman serves as the CEO of LIV Golf Investments. Norman, Mickelson and others have been criticized for aligning with the sports venture despite the Saudi government’s past human-rights abuses.
According to reports, Mickelson, who hasn’t participated in a PGA tournament since February has a deal with LIV worth about $200 million.
LIV Golf in a statement called the decision “vindictive” and said it “deepens the divide between the Tour and its members.”
The LIV event in England is the first of eight scheduled tournaments. Five of them are set for the U.S., including two on courses owned by former President Donald Trump.