Brookline, Massachusetts (AP) — PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan Saudi funded league Registering Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau as a “series of exhibition matches”, spending billions of dollars on players without any return on investment.
Monahan also said that players who paid huge sums “need to live under the rocks” because they didn’t know they were being criticized for their funding sources. LIV Golf is backed by the Saudi Arabia Sovereign Wealth Fund.
“Ask players who have left or are thinking of leaving,’Have you ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour?'” Monaghan said at the RBC Canadian Open from Toronto. He spoke on the CBS TV broadcast. ..
They are Monahan’s first public comments since Thursday when Greg Norman’s LIV golf series began. Monaghan has suspended all PGA Tour members who have played at the Centurion Golf Club Outside London.
The LIV Golf Series has eight tournaments this year (five in the US), each with a prize of $ 25 million, an uncut 54-hole event and a field of 48 people. Charl Schwartzel won the first one on Saturday, winning $ 4.75 million.
Beyond the prize money, some players received huge signature fees. The Daily Telegraph reported that Johnson received $ 150 million, but Mickelson did not deny the report that he was paid $ 200 million for a startup venture. It wasn’t clear so far that they were committed for years.
Recently Norman announced DeChambeau Patrick Reed has signed up and will play the first US event in Oregon at the end of the month. None of the top 10 players in the world are interested in the new league.
Monaghan said he suspended the player for violating the tournament rules. They were denied a release to compete in an event in London and chose to play anyway. Players typically get 3 releases at overseas events and 20 releases at Saudi Arabian events.
Monaghan said it was a single event related to the recognized tour (Asian Tour), compared to a series of events that challenged the PGA Tour directly by playing in the United States.
“It’s my job to protect, protect and celebrate our loyal PGA Tour members, partners and fans. That’s exactly what I did,” Monahan said.
Norman and some players at the LIV Golf Event were free agents, talking about being able to play wherever they wanted, and positioning the new league as adding to World Golf rather than competing with the PGA Tour.
Johnson, Sergio Garcia and Graeme McDowell were one of those who resigned from the PGA Tour membership. Mickelson, who is already in the country club on Sunday to begin preparing for the US Open, said he plans to maintain his lifetime membership with 45 wins and 6 majors.
Asked why players couldn’t play both tours, Monaghan answered in his own question.
“Why do they need us so badly?” He said. today. “
At the Canadian Open, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Tony Finau competed for the title, and Justin Rose tried to shoot 59 or less until it settled at 60.
“Here at the RBC Canadian Open, with millions of fans watching, there is true pure competition and the best players in the world. And in this game, it’s the profile and presence of the best players in the world. It’s true pure competition, and that’s why they need us. That’s our job, “Monahan said.
“But we don’t intend to give players the freedom to get on and off from loyal members.”
It was still unclear how the situation would progress. USGA said that Never deny a player who has won a spot on the US Open fieldAnd R & A may respect the “open” nature of the British Open next month in St Andrews.
A proceeding may be filed if a PGA Tour player attempts to attend an event after being suspended for signing up and playing LIV Golf. Norman said LIV Golf will support the player.
Monaghan does not say if there is a way to return to a player who has joined the Norman League and how that will affect players who have never been a member of the PGA Tour.
Monaghan especially bite money from the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, which has been accused of “sportswashing” for using such tours to distract from the history of human rights abuses.
He was asked how big the source of funding was.
“It doesn’t matter to me because I’m not working for the Saudi Arabian government,” Monaghan said, a hidden bargain of the concept of being a free agent. “But that’s probably a problem for players who choose to go get that money. I think I have to ask myself a question: why.
“Why is this group spending so much money (billions of dollars) on recruiting players and chasing concepts with no potential returns?” He said. “At the same time, there were many questions and comments about the growth of the game, and I ask,” How good is this for the game? “
Other AP Golf: https: //apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports