Less than an hour after LIV Golf officially teed off its first Invitational Series event on \Thursday, the PGA Tour responded by handing down suspensions to players who previously competed in its league. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan officially announced that players participating in this or any future LIV Golf events will no longer be allowed to play on the PGA Tour.
Monahan was unclear, perhaps purposefully so, about the length of the suspensions in a statement released by the PGA Tour:
We have followed the tournament regulations from start to finish in responding to those players who have decided to turn their backs on the PGA Tour by willfully violating a regulation.
Simultaneous to you receiving this memo, the players are being notified that they are suspended or otherwise no longer eligible to participate in PGA Tour tournament play, including the Presidents Cup. This applies to all tours sanctioned by the PGA Tour ... As you know, players listed below did not receive the necessary conflicting event and media rights releases -- or did not apply for releases at all -- and their participation in the Saudi Golf League/LIV Golf events is in violation of our tournament regulations. The same fate holds true for any other players who participate in future Saudi Golf League events in violation of our regulations.
Of the 17 golfers named in the letter, 10 had previously resigned their memberships. The other seven, including Phil Mickelson, were active members as of Thursday morning. Regardless of membership status, players choosing to play for LIV Golf will effectively be treated the same by the PGA Tour.
"Players who resigned will be removed from the FedEx Cup points list and are not permitted to play in PGA Tour events as non-members or via sponsor exemptions," according to the Tour.
At the conclusion of his letter, Monahan pivoted to what makes the PGA Tour special and encouraged players to press in on both the history and the meritocracy of the PGA Tour.
"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," he said.
LIV Golf responded quickly with a statement of its own.
"Today's announcement by the PGA Tour is vindictive and it deepens the divide between the Tour and its members," said LIV Golf in a statement provided as a response to the suspensions. "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."